SAN JOSE, Calif. – The consumer electronics industry has seen plenty of Web-connected TVs and will see plenty more at CES 2012 and beyond. The burning question these days is whether Apple can crystallize the concept into a must-have product as it has done with MP3 players, smartphones and tablets.
This morning, Taiwan's Digitimes became the latest to weigh in on rumors Apple Inc. will deliver a connected TV. It reported the so-called iTV could ship by August using 32- and 37-inch screens from Sharp and chips made by Samsung.
The rumors kicked into high gear following the release this year of the official biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. It quoted Jobs as saying he "had finally cracked the code" on an integrated TV product.
Since then others have turned down the volume on the hype, suggesting Apple is still in an early phase of developing such a product. Others have noted TVs do not play to Apple strengths because systems are rarely upgraded and carry new and heavy supply chain challenges for the computer and device maker.
On the other hand, Apple's software designers have a knack for making complex things simple. The company also has the Hollywood connections to plow through some of the resistance from studios and broadcasters.
We shared our concept of a hot iTV back in 2008. Since then Yahoo! entered the market, enabling 3.5 million connected TVs in 2009. Google followed with its own PR splash and products that flopped and is now working on a next-generation platform. The gyrations have been enough to jerk Intel in and out of this emerging market.
Even two years ago, nearly every TV maker had at least one Web TV model in its line up at CES. Earlier this year, one consumer veteran helped launch an open Web TV standards effort. Analysts have put out big projections for sales of as many as 650 million of such systems by 2014.
We'd love to hear from TV makers and anyone who has tried a connected TV. What are the sore spots of these products to date? How could Apple create a better product?
How about this?? Siri... but in your home. Starts with something more than a convenient interface to your home entertainment system... it gets smart about what you like to watch and recommends things for you... as more things get connected, thermostat, fridge, this becomes more like a personal valet. Builds a grocery list.. keeps the house comfortable... Makes you dinner reservations...
As Bert says the technology is already here (wwiTV for example) but a quick look shows you that there is little interesting content there so I would not watch it...my kids though (in their late 20ies) don't want to pay for cable so they watch only what is available on the net, most of their peers do the same...so it is only the question of time for webTV to take over...whether the Apple makes enough content deals to make this happen would be interesting to see and give a good prediction of post-Jobs era for them....Kris
Honestly, what I can't figure out is, why don't the individual TV manufacturers differentiate themselves by independently coming up with clever TV-related software for their connected TVs? Or for that matter, why don't independent software houses do this for PCs and Macs? Why should the major brands all glom onto the same Google (or what have you) solution?
This makes no sense to me. The TV manufacturers can use their choice of browser, they can use their choice of search engine, and they can use their software gurus to tweak the package to provide better features than the competition.
Apple isn't the only game in town by any stretch of the imagination.
Its amazing to note that TV in its traditional form has survived till this new web-age. Most of other form of entertainment has either perished or lost significance. The TV content is still majorly selected by studios and channels. Only TRPs decide the fate of a show.
I think that Apple can bring the needed momentum to the live TV if Apple move into this domain. Its true that many others have failed to gather any momentum but Apple can create a niche for itself just like it did with Tablet.
Thing is, live TV is already available online. It's not Apple's decision to make it available or not to. It's the content owners' decisions.
Check out this site:
Live TV from a huge list of countries, just like being there. I don't need Apple to provide this. If anything, it's the US TV networks that would decide to make it happen.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.