Apple eyes living room market with device codenamed ‘iTV’

“Steven P. Jobs, Apple Computer’s chief executive, concluded a company event on Tuesday morning with his usual tease, noting that he had ‘one last thing’ to introduce,” John Markoff writes for The New York Times.

Markoff writes, “Then, in an unusual departure from the company’s practice of announcing new products only when they are ready to ship, he talked about a product due out early next year that will be the company’s first step into the living room. The device, which Apple is calling iTV for now, will wirelessly stream video and music from a Macintosh computer or from the Internet to a television. The $299 box is about the size of a slim paperback novel.”

MacDailyNews Take: Correction: “iTV” will wirelessly stream media from any Mac or PC running iTunes to any TV, monitor or device connected to it. People haven’t fully grasped the implications of “iTV,” yet. We’ll give them some time to catch up.

“The iTV device places Apple squarely in the consumer electronics market and gives it a way to compete directly with Microsoft and PC industry giants like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, which are also eagerly eyeing ways to deliver entertainment beyond the PC screen. Apple is a late entrant to the living room market, which is already crowded with video players like the Xbox and PlayStation and Microsoft-based Media Center personal computers, along with extenders of every shape and function,” Markoff writes. “That appeared not to faze Mr. Jobs, who showed off a simple interface for playing video and music on a TV, patterned on the company’s Front Row software.”

“The new streaming device partially sheltered Mr. Jobs from criticism that he had failed to line up Hollywood movie studios in the same way that he won the backing of the music industry when he originally launched the iTunes store. Mr. Jobs suggested that other studios would join the movie service in the future,” Markoff writes.

Full article here.
Apple launched TV shows via their iTunes Store with just one network, Disney’s ABC. Take a look at how many other networks, cable outlets, and TV shows there are now, less than a year later: 220 shows and 40 networks. Hollywood studios can hear money talking better than most anyone else; they’ll come a-runnin’ soon enough.

Steve Jobs gives sneak peek of Apple’s “iTV” wireless set-top box:

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The Motley Fool’s Lomax: Apple news ‘mostly underwhelming, with some potential future bright spots’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple gives sneak peek of ‘iTV’ set-top box to debut Q1 2007 (with images) – September 12, 2006
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39 Comments

  1. I am surprised that I haven’t seen more people marveling at what was really going on with iTV. It is not that it is just streaming content from a remote Mac/PC. It providing a two-way control of that remotely stored media and internet connection. While you are sitting on your livingroom sofa, you can now peruse the music and video stored on your Mac in the home office or den. Click… I’m watching movie previews that have actually been called up by a connection to ITMS thru my Mac in the other room. This is very cool.

  2. Well, for a while I had hooked up my EyeTV to my desktop Mac, and using CyTV shareware had streaming video from my my desktop to my laptop, wirelessly, and I could even change channels. I can’t see why some similar solution won’t eventually be found for this iTV device.

  3. “A media center pc can be had for less than a mac mini. Most home pc computers ship with mce instead of xp home now anyways.”

    Links please. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    But let me offer up some prediction of what this “cheap” media PC will look like.

    * It’ll be the size of 5 VCRs stacked on top of each other.
    * It will have fans that make it sound like a wind tunnel
    * The video card will be strictly low-end
    * It will have only VGA outputs or S-Video (definitely no HDMI ports)

    By the way, since it’s cheaper than a Mac mini, price should not exceed $599.

    The point? Just because some el-cheapo box assembler loads it up with Windows XP MCE does not make it a real media center computer. I suspect these low end MCEs are used as standlone machines and not connected to the TV in the living room.

  4. “Does anyone know when 802.11n will be final?”

    from Wiki:

    “According to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group Project Timelines,[2] the 802.11n standard is not due for final approval until July 2007.

    It has been reported that 802.11n interferes with existing 802.11b and g wireless networks. It has also been reported that the range of the 802.11n has reached up to 1/4 of a mile. Interference on this scale is a major setback for 802.11n.”

  5. So Apple started their copy machines and copied the Microsoft Media Center Extender concept.

    ———–

    Ummm. Wrong…. Streaming media content from your computer to your tv is an altogether different concept than Microsofts media center…

    Microsoft has already proven that media center pc’s are not going to go mainstream..

    Apple’s offering will.

  6. These devices have been out from 3rd party vendors for a while now and are based upon the UPnP standard. The difference with this unit- like the AirPort Express with music- is that it works with FairPlay content.

    MICROSOFT DOESN’T INVENT ANYTHING. They are real good at making a lame imitation of what others have been working on/have done and then exploiting their monopoly position in the market. Stop trolling with MS Fanboy talking points and educate yourself.

  7. So Apple started their copy machines and copied the Microsoft Media Center Extender concept.

    ———–

    Ummm. Wrong…. Streaming media content from your computer to your tv is an altogether different concept than Microsofts media center…

    ———–

    Ummmm. No, you’re wrong.

    From Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/extender/mcefaq.mspx)

    “I’ve heard the phrase Media Center Extender. What is a Media Center Extender?

    A Media Center Extender is a hardware device that, when connected to a TV, includes the ability to let you enjoy the Windows Media Center experience and media on that TV even though your Media Center PC is in another room. Previous Media Center Extenders had no other function but the Media Center connection; with Xbox 360, they are now devices that have other great features and functions on their own.”

    Sounds like streaming media content to me.

    It might not be the best solution, and Apple will probably do it better, but don’t pretend that Apple thought of it first.

  8. OK

    Lets think this out a little before we all drink the poisoned kool-aid shall we?

    In order to get content on my TV:

    1: Buy a Mac or PC with large enough hard drives and performance = $2000-$3000

    2: Buy a cable modem and service say $50 a month

    3: Buy a iTV device at $300, to work over slow, insecure wireless connections, subject to interference.

    4: Buy the content, which takes any part of a hour to download, tying up my broadband.

    5: Possibly get my download speeds throttled down by my ISP as they really never promised a consistent high speed.

    6: Have Cable ISP’s charge Apple, then us users in higher fee’s, for using their “lines” to circumvent their business of providing content.

    7: Have to buy more hard drives as my content grows larger and larger, like it has already from just a few seasons of TV shows.

    8: Have to endure more stringent and ever changing DRM schemes to restrict my usage of MY CONTENT.

    9: Have Apple/RIAA/MIAA spy into my Intel based Mac through EFI firmware level.

    10: Have to accept REMOTE ASSERTION of my computer under Trusted Computing schemes, verifying if my content, software and possibly other information is registered.

    11: Accepting that I can’t say BOO online unless my full and personal information is readily seen by whomever.

    12: Accept software upgrades that holds my future purchases online hostage until I can afford to buy new hardware.

    ALL FOR WHAT?

    With a regular cable service I get all the same content and MORE and a heck of a lot cheaper.

    1: Cable box = free

    2: Cable service = $50 a month

    3: Netflix = $20 a month

    4: Both easy as pie and more cost effective.

    WHAT KIND OF PIPE DREAM IS STEVE JOBS SELLING US????

    Downloadable videos is not going to work, the content is too great for most Mac’s.

    You’ll have to buy a Mac Pro with 4 500GB drives to handle all the content eventually, and then the problem of backing up comes up.

    With a DVD, or HD or BD DVD, all the content is on the disk. No extra purchase necessary.

    Movies are watched once or maybe twice, and that’s it. Music is heard over and over.

    Steve Jobs has this “media meglomanai” additude and it doesn’t meet practicality and cost effectiveness.

    Plus he’s strongarming, you must upgrade to buy more content, even stuff you could before..

    I find it very SUSPICIOUS that Apple didn’t fix the QT security issues until this iTunes upgrade.

    Well now we see what Apple is all about.

  9. And just one more thing…

    USB 2 absolutely SUCKS compared to Firewire for transfering all this content to iPods.

    Apple is crapping on it’s own standard. I don’t think Apple is even a computer company anymore.

    We might as well start forgetting about professional computing with Mac’s, because Apple is morphing into something else and can’t be taken seriously as a computer company anymore.

    Steve Jobs is coming out with more and more gimmick hardware that we don’t need.

    “People use computers to turn their mind on, people watch TV to turn their mind off”

    Oh, but Apple is quick to sell movies and DRM up their computers to hell and back right?

    Screw Apple.

  10. Re: Thinking Carefully

    I agree with some of your points, but I don’t think it really takes that powerful of a computer. Most people already have one that is capable.

    I like the idea that I will be in control of what I watch and when I watch it. This is the model of the future. Think of that $50 cable you pay for – sure you get hundreds of channels, but there is never anything a person wants to watch.

    However, I don’t see myself ordering any movies until they are more reasonably priced or some other models are available (maybe a rental system?).

    And you are right about file sizes and bandwidth. But, very soon that won’t be an issue…

  11. My ultimate Mac is one step closer (Core 2 duo 42 inch LCD and Content)

    It seems Steve gives us a hit to what is coming and this time it’s Eye TV. Yip, I don’t think that is’t a conicidence that they are calling their “streamer” ITV

  12. I have all this now. Most of it actually works. I use a HDMI from a Mac Mini to a “Big Flat Panel.” I use 802.11n from G5 server with 6 TB of storage (FW 800) to the Mac Mini. 5.1 Digital Audio out to surround sound system. DVDs ripped using Handbrake.

    Conclusions: Video off the G5 (2.3 Dual) to the Mac Mini sort of works. Full screen viewing of streamed internet (I have 5-6 Mbps DSL) is out of the question. Today’s Keynote was viewed at about 640 x 480. Hung three times during presentation, but i stopped and started it amny times more than that.

    Images are fine, music is fine.

    Handbrake ripped DVDs are great on the iPod 5G, but can’t be streamed without frustration to TV.

    It’s not quite there yet.

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