If Apple actually does come out with something that can cut through the clutter of the modern home theater, they’ll gain even more of the entertainment market.

Apple Computer overhauled its digital music and video offerings on Tuesday, introducing new iPods in three categories and announcing plans to make movies available for purchase through the iTunes store.

Apple also plans to introduce a product in the first quarter of 2007 that lets consumers stream their movies or music to televisions, Jobs said. The new device, code-named iTV, has 802.11 wireless built in. It will sell for $299 and works with PCs and Macs. “We think it completes the picture here,” Jobs said.

Well, there’s nothing fantastic about the current crop of home-theater computers, so if Jobs can deliver something that’s really useful he could change that industry, too.



  1. gquaglia says:

    Apple also plans to introduce a product in the first quarter of 2007 that lets consumers stream their movies or music to televisions

    Yeah, its sounds cool, but DMR will kill any usefullness any such product would have.

  2. Jägermeister says:

    The neigbors are broadcasting their live act at 11…

  3. mxpwr03 says:

    It is an interesting step for the company; Wall Street disagreed by knocking the stock down a few points. The test will be how efficient the company will be at distributing the media, 1.6 gig files are nothing to balk at. If the company can integrate a bit-torrent-esk service in Leopard, which gives positive incentives for an individual to share their bandwidth in return for something, i.e. “music store points” I think they could pull this off. If not, Apple’s profit margins may not be as big as some investors are hoping for. Could be a good market watch column…

  4. Eideard says:

    Watching the presentation — and reading post event analysis as someone who’s a bit of an HMC geek — it’s interesting that Jobs didn’t elucidate on which 80211 flavor will be offered in the iTV. Likely, it will be an “N” but which?

    I’m looking forward to watching Cranky Geeks and dl.tv streamed from my computer to the living room TV.

  5. Chris Anderson says:

    They also didn’t say if it could play non-Music store files (like how Frontrow can play any Quicktime supported files now). If it can, then DRM concerns are really non existent, and all that matters is what file formats it would support.

  6. João PT says:

    IPod Movies? And the tube was small…
    This is clearly an in-between step. The result is to get foothold in the media distribution market. To get a working system.
    There’s clearly a window of oportunity, since the industry is not decided into which HD format will prevail. Apple hopes to squeeze it’s way into the space left void.

  7. Dan says:

    “I’m looking forward to watching Cranky Geeks and dl.tv streamed from my computer to the living room TV.”

    I do this all the time.. with an old piece of crap PC that I got for free, and a $30 dollar video card with TV out. I can stream all my music and video to it over my wireless network. It works flawlessly.. What’s the big deal with this iTV? a fancy apple GUI?

  8. moss says:

    Dan — you’re right. For now. The only Video Podcast out there [that I’m interested in] in HD is Leo’s. But, dl.tv promises hi-def sooner rather than later — and most video podcasts focus on being in mpg4 rather than how they’re communicated after reception.  Which is where Hi-def TV is going.   And you ain’t gonna do that on B or G.

    Actually, I just bumped into a really interesting discussion that decided that there really isn’t any reason for Apple to adhere to any “official” protocol. Any system they offer is a broadcast/receive package that moves anything up to HD movie/program from a computer to a capable TV via their set-top box. There’s no reason for anybody’s protocol to be in place for that.

    Content is stored as mpg4 on the computer’s hard drive and moved via the iTV and HDMI or composite to the TV. Who says it has to work with anything else? iTunes works on both Windows and OS X. I import video into iTunes as mpg4.

  9. Smartalix says:

    “…there really isn’t any reason for Apple to adhere to any “official” protocol.”

    Now that storage space is becooming moot, it would be cool if Apple paid more attention to the quality of a new media format than how compact they could make the files.

  10. V says:

    I can buy a DVD itself for $10, use questionably legal software to exercise my fair use rights and download it to my computer, and have the full DVD quality.

    If you could burn these movies to a DVD it would be another story, but for the moment, no chance in hell.

  11. James Hill says:

    Making the assumption that iTV isn’t locked down in some odd way, this is the best thing to happen for the media center/computer marriage ever. I’ve been against HTPCs for some time now, and would love to see this kind of device take its place.

    The best part is the price point: At $300 I can justify buying two, one for the living room and one for the family room, and maybe a third for the master bedroom. It’s a better price point than media center computers, and represents a logical next step for media distribution from audio only (which Apple also mastered with the Airport Express).

    It’s also easier than hooking my MacBook Pro up to the home theather, which is what I do now on the weekends.

  12. GregA says:

    I don’t know… Im overjoyed with comcast ondemand. Works great for tv viewing… Hard for me to see how something like this would benefit me (or anyone else for that matter).

    But then, Im the guy who likes satelite radio. Get in my car and punch in a station and go. I still wonder why there is so much resistance to satelite radio, when people are willing to buy satelite video for their minivan tv’s.

    Seems to me that apple is late to market for ntsc tv, and early for hdtv, which as far as I can tell, isn’t even out of the early adopter state yet…

  13. dalhectar says:

    So at 10-15 a movie, and $2 per show espidoe, I guess the main question is how much money are you really willign to spend on content. Since I have a cable line coming to the house. my answer is $0. I already pay for the content, if I really like it, I’ll buy it again on DVD. Why should I buy it a third time, with DRM more restrictive than DVD and the lack of usage rights granted to me with cable? Sorry, no go.

  14. Jack B says:

    Hey any mention in the key note of the fact that when you install the new iTunes 7.0 it automatically installs QuickTime (which isn’t news), but not only that, it also tries to uninstall QuickTime Alternative and simply will not even operate if you uninstall QuickTime. I mean, I love iTunes and my iPod but what the hell?

  15. Dan D says:

    Jack, since iTunes is run by the quicktime engine, Quicktime is sorta required for you to play any of the files. Also all of the DRM goes through Quicktime.

  16. Charbax says:

    This is probably nothing compared with a 100$ Sigma Designs networked media player. See one solution from Daewoo here: http://ifa2006.net/daewoo/ and one other solution by Cisco Linksys: http://ifa2006.net/linksys-and-ziova-iptv-vod-hd-players/

    Those 100$ networked players support h264, mpeg2 and mpeg4 in HD, come with ethernet, and have wifi, usb2-host ports for connecting external harddrives.

    I really think probably Apple is just doing some expensive c r a p, like they use to. But their iTV probably will be the only hardware to connect with the Disney iTunes movies store, so probably the only way to watch Pirates of the Carribean legally. The 100$ solutions also support DRM, but only the microsoft kind.

    I say the IPTV and VOD revolution will come once there is a 100$ BitTorrent box for the living room. With HD support and all HDMI and Component outputs needed, as well as external usb harddrive support (so BitTorrent downloads are stored on that).

  17. Charbax says:

    The revolutionary 100$ BitTorrent box with external usb harddrive, should simply come with http://getdemocracy.com in a user-friendly version, so the user controls the video podcast downloads, adds RSS feeds, browses video-blog guides to add new feeds, and together with a rating and recommendations system. The BitTorrent box will also be able to subscribe to the http://tvrss.net feeds so you can also automatically and ilegally download new pirated tv shows as soon as release groups release them in DivX on torrent search sites as mininova.org and torrentspy.com

  18. Smartalix says:

    Once thing to remember is that hardware is moot. THere is plenty of gear available to do video management. However, Apple is more than a hardware company, which many of its competitors seem to forget.

  19. Named says:

    Here you go…
    http://www.dlink.com/products/category.asp?cid=75&sec=1

    now you don’t have to wait.

  20. Awake says:

    DVD player with divx capability: $60

    Movie rental at local store: $5

    Hassle with DRM, wireless standards, storage, media server setup, etc: zero.

    Cost to copy a downloaded divx program to a rewriteable DVD. Zero.

    % of people that propose using Bittorrent for movie downloads that have actually downloaded a movie in less than 18 hours: zero.

    Reason to produce DL.TV, Cranky Geeks or any other cheaply produced technology program in HD: none whatsoever.

  21. James Hill says:

    With all due respect, most of you are reading the market all wrong.

    – VOD isn’t a major factor in the market. Why care about VOD when a properly configured DVR does the exact same thing? Note that the cable companies have quit trumpeting VOD in their marketing material over the past six months as proof of this.

    – Satellite radio isn’t a major factor in the market, either. Why pay for something (music, talk) that’s free on terrestrial radio? Some people may be willing to pay to listen to Stern, or Stewart, but the big players in the radio game (Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck) have rejected satellite radio because they know their audience can’t afford to pay for it.

    – If the average consumer cared about paying for the media they already have (or can get in a less expensive way) or about DRM, then iTunes wouldn’t be a money maker for Apple. People care about ease of use, and Apple has cornered the market on this with their end-to-end service.

    Do I think selling movies will make Apple as much money as selling songs? No. Do I think their plan to be an end-to-end service provider for home entertainment will work? Maybe. Do I think their plan is, by far, the best plan from any company to date? Without question.

  22. Floyd says:

    There’s a human factors problem with tiny video players in general.

    I have a 4G iPod. I use it to store music and computer files. I don’t see the need for an iPod that displays TV, especially on a very small screen, not even CrankyGeeks (sorry, John).

    While I can listen to music while I’m walking somewhere, or can listen to music on my iPod while I’m driving (I have an iTrip), I can’t safely watch a video on a tiny screen in either of those cases. Furthermore, the screen has to get pretty big to be able to watch a movie or show without squinting (hey–I’m in my 50s).

    DVDs are great for movies, either displayed on a TV, on a PC/Mac with a DVD player, or one one of those dedicated portable DVD players (we have one, its screen is big enough). Any of these displays are a lot bigger than the screen of the new iPod or any of its competitors.

  23. Sam says:

    Love my slingplayer combined with tivo, who needs steve’s crap?

    Oh sorry you feel that your white ipod is borring? get the new pink one the music will surely sound better !

  24. Smartalix says:

    21,

    You have a point, but the issue is made moot by the new flexibility of delivery. VOD is going away as a label, but what is an online DVR but an on-demand system? They aren’t going to keep an independent copy for each user.

    Considering what is going on in the workplace and the spread of labor via telecom systems, IMNSHO the future will bring a system where schedules are maintained primarily to keep a constant feed available for surfers to find. The real meat will be people time-shifting their favorite programs, commercials and all (independent of whether the content is stored on or off line).

    That system will be called a great many things depending on the marketing department of the provider, but in essence it’s all VOD. Whoever can streamline the process and integrate the systems involved to turn a Home Entertainment System back into a TV set will gain the keys to the kingdom.

  25. JoaoPT says:

    Just two great products anounced: The clip shuffle and the iPod 80, the rest is crap. The mini-mini (or new nano as they call it) is UGLY…The old nano was cute, the new one isn’t. And the iTV is overpriced…

  26. James Hill says:

    24…

    You summed it up perfectly: Whoever can streamline all of this will be the winner. Apple is in the best position to do this, as they’ve already done it with the iPod and iTunes.

    I also agree with your sumation that, in the end, the system is VOD. But the scenario you lay out, which in general I agree with, is also a DVR. Neither cable or satellite has a leg up at this point in the game in your scenario.

    And whatever it is or what its called, there’s nothing in cable or satellites’ business model that gives them an edge over Apple as long as Apple can get its box connected to TVs. They’re already in your pocket, the TV is the next logical step for the consumer.

    25,

    It’s Apple. What do you expect?

    In all seriousness, the $300 price points makes it more than the non-media enabled Wii, less than the media enabled 360 and PS3, and about double than the very weak selection of media appliances that are out currently. $300 makes a lot of sense in the current market.

  27. random_chevy says:

    What many of you seem to be unaware of is that once you wander past the movie VOD section, there are niche VOD programs, most of which are unavailable for DVR. Many selections could be described as advertisements like on demand automobile, truck and boat reviews. There are shows from cable channels that are not in the program guide like Speed TV, NASCAR octane, NFL network, and exercise TV.

    I am purely speculating that if Ziff Davis could find a sponsor, maybe Cranky Geeks and DL.TV could migrate to VOD. With the newness of VOD, I suspect it couldn’t bring enough new viewers to make it a growth proposition, but the cost of data broadcast has been griped about on DL.TV.

    On another note . . . I’ve got a couple of full DVD racks that I would love to rip into the iTunes movie library. I can rip music CD’s into the iTunes music library. Too bad there is little likely hood that Apple supports ripping DVD movies for their iTV device.

  28. Mike Voice says:

    1 Yeah, its sounds cool, but DMR will kill any usefullness any such product would have.

    Only if they are dumb enough to limit it to DRM’d material.

    iTunes on my Mac doesn’t scoff at MP3 files.
    My iPod doesn’t choke on MP3s.
    Why would they cripple the “iTV”?

    Apple has iMovie HD, Final Cut Express HD & Final Cut Pro 5.
    HD-camcorders are starting to invade the upper-end of the miniDV market.

    How are people currently watching the HD-camcorder footage they make? Connecting the camcorder directly to their HDTV?

    Blu-ray and HD-DVD being so slow out of the gate leaves a huge hole for the storage & transfer of home-grown HD to HDTV.

    People currently using the Mac Mini for home theater setups must be dancing in the isles – now that a similar form-factor box can make the HDMI conection to their HDTV sets.

    With my existing iMac, an iTV, and an ElGato eyeTV Hybrid – I would be set for PVR, HD-PVR, and streaming all my current video/music to my HDTV & stereo.

    http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvhybridna

  29. JoaoPT says:

    # 26

    Ah! but those are Games boxes. You can play with them too… if the iTV had games, (even without HD [hard drive, that is], they could use the wireless to read it from the Mac/PC in your “den”) It would be the right price.
    And also the Xbox is HD (high def) ready. something the iTV it’s not.


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