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Poll: Should Apple announce a television or just improve the Apple TV set-top box?

Posted 15 Jan 13

We'd love to know your thoughts about whether or not Apple should tackle the television market.

Do you think Apple should launch an Apple television set, or perhaps just improve the Apple TV set top box to provide better features?

Or do you think that Apple should ignore television and focus its efforts elsewhere?

Let us know here.
VeryJaded replied…

Posted 16 Jan 13

Ashleigh Allsopp,

The latter.

The former is just a box of pain. Too many competitors in an existing mature market.
AlanAudio replied…

Posted 17 Jan 13

Ashleigh Allsopp,

Apple need to do both. If they only do one, then it needs to be the set top box.

People buy TV sets infrequently and like to keep them for in excess of five years, but technology is changing rather faster than that, so it's important to be able to support older TV sets.

Having said that, the bane of most TV sets is that dreadful remote control and I wold like to think that if Apple built a dedicated TV, then the remote would be the first part to be rethought.

Somebody a while ago started a rumour that Apple was working on modular screens which could be joined together to make as big a TV as you want. Now I'm very skeptical about whether such an idea would be practical, not least because of the challenge of joining screens together without visible seams, but if Apple found a way to do that, it could revolutionise TV sets. You wouldn't buy a new TV if you wanted a bigger screen, you would just buy some more display modules. You start with one, add three more and then top it up to nine, sixteen or twenty five etc.

Like I said, I don't think it's possible to achieve this with present day technology, but I'd love to be wrong.
Mark Hattersley replied…

Posted 18 Jan 13

AlanAudio,

The thing is. If Apple makes a set-top box then it has to be incredibly good to battle with all the other set top boxes attached to my telly. And if Apple makes a TV it still has to allow me to plug in various other devices (Xbox 720) and so on.

> Somebody a while ago started a rumour that Apple was working on modular screens

I didn't really start the rumour but I think I was pretty instrumental in spreading it. I'm skeptical too - it'll probably look like the new iMacs. But I like the idea of modular screens that can be attached to a wall.

A modular Mac Pro however... that I think could be on the cards. It might just be that modular computing is this year's buzzword though and next year we'll realise how dumb an idea it is (like Netbooks).
AlanAudio replied…

Posted 18 Jan 13

Mark Hattersley,

I think that Apple also needs to offer a new device like Airport express, but with an HDMI socket for video input. This would allow external devices ( satellite, BluRay, cable ) to be connected wirelessly to a Mac network, but would also open the door to making a comprehensive wireless A/V routing system so that people within the house can select the sources that they wish to view or listen to. It should also have an IR output to permit remote control of that external device from iPhones and iPads on the network.

Apple's great strength is offering a neat and cleverly integrated system. This would be a great way to finally get rid of that rat's nest of cables behind the telly and HiFi, allow devices to be situated flexibly and in many cases even allow them to be placed out of sight, yet accessed remotely.

Not only would this system be a really good set top box in it's own right it would make it unnecessary to have other set top boxes next to the TV. They could be put somewhere else and shared too.
afd replied…

Posted 19 Jan 13

Ashleigh Allsopp,
Can't understand why Apple don't do apps, who wouldn't buy a £99 box that could have games, all the TV station catch up apps, browser, email etc. Everyone would want at least one.
Either upgrade the iOS remote app or release a BT controller.
Not so sure about a proper TV by apple, most people probably spend £300 - £600 on a telly, I'd be surprised if an Apple telly would be much less than £1000. Most don't or can't spend that.
tomasD replied…

Posted 21 Jan 13

Ashleigh Allsopp,

i think most people are not willing to pay 1000+ for a tv and are fine with their 500 bucks tvs. use them for a couple of years and get a new one...
therefore i think a new apple tv is the best way to go.
an interesting fact: more and more people watching their shows via internet, so they just need something to stream it to the big screen
http://www.statista.com/statistics/233300/frequency-of-tablet-owners-watching-videotv-on-their-device/
zanc replied…

Posted 22 Jan 13

I can't see why a TV is necessary for Apple, other than having an integrated FaceTime camera. Most modern TVs are basically monitors. My TV has freeview and freestat tuners, but I never use them as I use a Humax PVR for all TV viewing. I also have an Apple TV and BluRay player. To have full control of all video sources it would have to be some form of AV amp with internet/terrestial/satellite receivers. It would also have to loudspeakers directly, otherwise you would need a separate AV amp (now with underused inputs) to drive your speakers. Wireless active speakers would be ideal. I'm sure most people want PVR functionality as well, and not only rely on iPlayer catchup.

So my ideal device would be

Settop box with:
* Internet connectivity to support internet apps (e.g. Netflix, iTunes, iPlayer)
* Freeview and Freesat receivers
* Other HDMI connections to BluRay, Sky box etc. Controlled with their own special apps
* Wireless connection to active speakers
* connection to Time Capsule like device for PVR functionality
* Possible iPod Touch like remote, but must have excellent battery life
Mark Hattersley replied…

Posted 24 Jan 13

AlanAudio,

The inegrated system is a neat idea. I guess the widespread number of IR remote controls could hinder it though.

Also I think Apple wants to get rid of the rat's nest too, but probably wants to get rid of all the rival boxes and be the company in charge of the delivery platform for content.
AlanAudio replied…

Posted 24 Jan 13

Mark Hattersley,

the way I would imagine it is that the interface ( maybe Airport express size ) would have a port for an IR sender. Users would use their iPhone / iPod touch / iPad as a remote control, having downloaded a file similar to a driver for the device that they have connected and it could also offer a learning function for unsupported devices. The user would send control information via BlueTooth of WiFi and the interface would convert it to the appropriate IR data for the connected device.

While I can understand how Apple might prefer to offer peripherals of their own and will most certainly want to offer content via the internet, users around the world also want to continue using proprietary cable and satellite boxes, not to mention a lot of legacy equipment. It's important to remember that live TV is also an important consideration and being able to connect something like a Freeview decoder to the system might be more practical than viewing via the Internet in many areas.

If they came up with a solution to integrate all this stuff wirelessly, I think they'd be onto a winner.
zanc replied…

Posted 24 Jan 13

AlanAudio,
Rather than use an IR extender, which is totally impracticable, I would suggest using a protocol on the HDMI connector. This would require suppliers of other equipment (tuners/BluRay/etc) to support the protocol. In fact there is already a standard. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI):

"Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) is an HDMI feature designed to allow the user to command and control up-to ten CEC-enabled devices, that are connected through HDMI"

So just need an App.

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