Cringely: Apple’s iTV strategy is iChat on steroids

“For the last two weeks we’ve been discussing Apple’s video download strategy and associated products, especially what Apple is calling for now its iTV video extender, which I have been calling the Video Express since I first wrote about it 18 months ago. It’s evident from its High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connector (and lack of an S-Video connector) that the iTV is intended to connect primarily to high definition televisions. Yet these were never mentioned in the product announcement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In fact, the term HDTV was never used despite Jobs declaration that 2005 had been the ‘Year of HD,'” Robert X. Cringely writes for PBS.

Cringely writes, “So there is a lot about this product and the underlying services it will provide that Apple isn’t saying. Of course Apple will eventually sell and rent HD movies over this device. Then why aren’t they saying so?

Cringely writes, “The answer is more complex than you’d guess, and might be answered best by another question: Where are the Blu-ray high definition DVD drives in Apple’s latest computers? Sony is selling computers with Blu-ray drives, why not Apple? Apple long ago pledged allegiance to Blu-ray over the rival HD-DVD. Certainly Apple’s top-of-the-line Mac Pro, a double dual-core machine aimed straight at rich media creators, would have Blu-ray, wouldn’t it?”

“One would think so, but I’m quite certain we won’t see any Blu-ray drives in Apple computers until the iTunes Store has a deal to sell Sony films. There is a simple quid pro quo here, not just in the lack of Blu-ray drives, but also in the on-again, off-again nature of Sony camcorder sales in the Apple stores. Negotiations are continuing, sometimes in the marketplace itself,” Cringely writes,

Cringely writes, “Now what about that USB port on the back of each iTV box? Giving his tour of the gizmo last week, Jobs rushed right past the USB port. What could that port be for? It’s not for a USB hard drive, that’s for sure, because the key brain in this system is back in your Mac or PC and its very large hard drive. Nor will Apple (immediately) enable the iTV to act as a digital video recorder, because that might step on TV network toes before Apple is ready to do so. The USB port is clearly intended for an Apple iSight camera, a webcam to go with your HDTV. It’s iChat for Grandma.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Pogo” for the heads up.]

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