set-top box Stories November 7, 2015

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Today we’re comparing the forth generation Apple TV to the NVIDIA Shield. These are quite possibly the two best set top boxes out right now. I won’t be going into every little detail here, but instead the things that are most important for myself. But before we get in-depth with either option, let’s take a look at specifications between the two…

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set-top box Stories August 17, 2015

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Apple plans to hold one of its annual fall media events on Wednesday, September 9th to introduce the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus with Force Touch, and after many fits and starts, it appears that the long-awaited next-generation Apple TV will also be unveiled. We’ve been reporting on this upcoming model since 2014, as Apple has been planning to update its set-top-box with support for an App Store for quite some time.

Earlier this year, Apple had locked in a June WWDC debut for both the new Apple TV hardware and software upgrades, but the company ultimately decided to delay the introduction until the fall. While some had speculated that the announcement was pushed back due to a lack of content deals, we are told that the delay was internally attributed to a concern over compromising iOS 9 engineering resources, as the latest OS release is focused at least as much on polish as on new features.

Why would the new Apple TV potentially take away resources from iOS 9? According to sources, this new Apple TV model, codenamed J34, will be the first model to run a full-blown iOS core. Specifically, the new Apple TV operating system will be a TV-optimized version of iOS 9. In addition to the new hardware inside, running iOS 9 will give the new Apple TV a series of benefits over the current model. Below, we explore what users can expect from Apple’s next-generation living room product.

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set-top box Stories March 17, 2015

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Despite reports that NBC Universal is not involved in negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription TV replacement service, NBC still hopes to arrive on the Apple TV as soon as the second half of 2015, according to a source with knowledge of NBC’s digital roadmap. A recent presentation slide provided by the source shows that NBC wants to launch Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox apps during the second half of this year, following its existing apps for iOS and Android devices. NBC also would like to add new affiliate stations, Nielsen Rating integration, and support for Google’s Chromecast

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set-top box Stories July 9, 2014

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A new report compiled by Parker Associates and discovered by Gigaom revealed that the Apple TV has lost some U.S. market share to competitors like the Roku and Chromecast last year, causing it to become only the third most popular device in the category.

According to the report, Google’s Chromecast and the Roku streaming device each sold around 3.8 million units in 2013—though the figure is more impressive in the case of the Chromecast, which was only introduced in the second half of the year. Apple, on the other hand, reportedly moved 2 million devices, putting it just below the others.

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set-top box Stories April 8, 2014

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There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

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set-top box Stories October 3, 2013

Amazon’s Apple TV-competitor on for the holidays, will allow for gaming & other apps

This morning  we reported that Amazon had trademarked FireTube, and the trademark could serve as a name for the company’s long-rumored TV product. Now, the WSJ follows up by claiming said device is on Amazon’s roadmap for the holiday season. Here are some of the details on the device:

  • Will compete with the Roku and Apple TV
  • Will stream Amazon Prime content
  • Will run third-party media apps and gaming content
  • Amazon is working on a dedicated remote for the device, but it could also be controlled via smartphone/tablet apps

Of course, the device could be shelved at the last minute, but given the uptake in reports about an Amazon TV device, today’s trademark discovery, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s want to expand his company’s hardware portfolio, it seems likely that the device truly is in the imminent Amazon product pipeline.

set-top box Stories September 4, 2013

Apple imports more Apple TVs – but is it a refresh?

A blog post by supplier-sourcing company Panjiva (via GigaOM) is being cited as evidence that Apple plans to launch a refreshed Apple TV alongside the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at its media event on September 10th.

  • On August 25th, Apple received a shipment described as “Set Top Box with Communication Function” from BYD Precision Manufacture in Shenzhen, China.
  • On August 18th, Apple received another shipment, again from BYD, described as “Set Top Boxes.”
  • And on August 11th, Apple received its first shipment from BYD of “Set Top Box with Communication Function.

While it’s possible that the timing aligns with plans to have a new model in stock this month, and a refresh is somewhat overdue, it’s rather thin evidence on which to base this assumption: it’s equally possible that this is merely a routine shipment of existing stock. Either way, we won’t have long to wait to find out.

set-top box Stories May 9, 2013

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcing new Kindle

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is working to expand its hardware offerings, this year, beyond the Kindle e-readers and tablets (like the Kindle Fire). According to the new report, Amazon is working on two smartphones, including a high-end model with a 3D display. Like other smartphones currently on the market, this display could be interacted with via a user’s eyes:

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set-top box Stories April 24, 2013

Amazon reportedly plans to get into the set-top-box game this fall

Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google attempts at the set-top-box market, Amazon is planning to release a set-top-box, according to Bloomberg

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings. Those include its a la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. The Amazon set-top box will compete with similar products like the Roku, Apple TV and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more versatile devices like the Playstation 3 and the Xbox. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

The device is reportedly being developed in Amazon’s Cupertino based labs and could launch this fall. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by a former Apple and Cisco employee:

The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco (CSCO) who worked on the networking company’s various consumer video initiatives. Moynihan also spent nine years at Apple (AAPL) during the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps this future product is the reason that Apple and Amazon have no deal for Amazon content streaming on the Apple TV.

set-top box Stories January 22, 2013

Apple analyst Gene Munster says Apple HDTV with new remote coming in 2013, again

Speaking with Bloomberg today about Apple’s upcoming earnings call, Piper Jaffray’s Apple analyst Gene Munster said his most recent checks with suppliers in Asia and industry sources indicate Apple is moving to release a full-fledged television this year with a new remote. This is of course not the first time the analyst has predicted Apple will release an HDTV—rather than an updated set-top box—in 2013…

Munster is expecting the Apple TV set to be one of three catalysts to help investors get behind Apple stock again in 2013. The other two are a Retina iPad mini in March and a low-cost iPhone later in the year. With the Apple TV information supposedly coming from supply chain sources in Asia, we’d expect Munster to have some more concrete specs instead of the same non-specific hearsay we’ve heard before. Note: Munster has predicted an Apple HDTV since 2011. Here’s what he had to say on Bloomberg (around the 9:40 mark):

The core of the debate is an improved set-top box… a hockey puck that attaches to your TV, or an actual television. Based on our work, in part, with talking to suppliers in asia, to talking with people in the industry, we think its an actual television. Specifically, the basic thing it fixes is the remote control problem… We think fixing that is going to be an important part of it. And the second piece down the road is content, content on demand. That’s essentially what apple television is. 

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