I found the recent rumors of an Apple Internet-enabled TV quite interesting.
Our own Larry Dignan and Sam Diaz have been covering a Piper Jaffray report about a potential revamp of Apple's dormant Apple TV product and even an Apple-branded television set. Some possible scenarios include:
- Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster argues that Apple will launch a new Apple TV product with support for subscription iTunes services and digital video recording (DVR).
- This digital living room takeover revolves around iTunes, which will connect your TV with the iPod and iPhone.
- In the long run, Apple will manufacture a TV set that’s connected.
Hollywood is definitely paying attention and has a vested interest in bringing the Internet coming to its platform, the television, as opposed to sending its content (film, television) the other direction -- to the Internet.
An article in Variety documents the growth of Internet-enabled TVs:
Panasonic and LG models are available now. Vizio will introduce some in the fourth quarter. Toshiba, Sony and Philips are hot on their trail, with still more expected early next year. Current models require a direct Ethernet connection, though Vizio says it will offer TVs with WiFi by the end of the year.
Web-enabled TVs on the market:
- LG 47LH50 LCD HDTV (47-inch)
- LG 50PS80 plasma TV (50-inch)
- Panasonic TC-P54Z1 (54-inch)
- Panasonic TC-P54V10 (54-inch)
- Panasonic TC-P50V10 (50-inch)
- Panasonic TC-P54G10 (54-inch)
- Panasonic TC-P50G10 (50")
- Panasonic TC-P46G10 (46")
- Panasonic TC-P42G10 (42")
- Vizio SV422XVT (47" - Oct.)
- Vizio SV422XVT (42" - Nov.)
- Vizio VF552XVT (55" - Dec.)
So while it's plausible that Apple could be mulling a full-scale TV product it isn't likely. Apple's paid almost no attention to its withering monitor line which indicates that the company isn't that interested in the flat-panel display market -- unless it has a Mac inside, like the iMac does.