Apple has a chance to revolutionize the market for hard-drive personal video recorder devices like those products from ElGato and Tivo, if it applies its existing technologies and industrial design to the market.

A report on ExtremeTech analyses the current state of that market, and asks: "Why is Apple missing in action from the living room?".

Critical of many of Windows-driven PC-based solutions that claim to cater for this market segment, the report describes today's playing field as "an opportunity for Apple and Microsoft".

The report observes that a Mac that's built to meet the needs of the segment could be "an umbrella" for iLife. "The other possibility would be a Mac-based thin client that would access this data stored on a Mac somewhere on your home network."

Integrating its products into tomorrow's digital home remains a focus for Apple. The company's iPod worldwide product marketing manager Danika Cleary told Macworld UK last month: "One potential area of product development for iPod peripherals is connectivity in the home – to stereos, speakers. I think there's a lot of opportunity for getting iPod music around the home."

Hard drive-based video recorders for Mac are currently supplied by ElGato and Tivo – but there's little else available, the report points out. "This is either a problem or an opportunity," said ExtremeTech.

"Apple is certainly not an obscure company, but with its legendary look and feel – and considerable industrial design chops – Apple could create an HD PVR device that home theatre buffs would covet. It could have a real winner on its hands"