November 11, 2011

A rendition of an Apple-branded television set.

The WSJ reports that amid losing money on every television set they make, Sony somehow has a strategy for redemption. Stringer declined to provide details about what Sony is developing but said “there’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set”.

He he has “no doubt” Apple’s Steve Jobs also was working on changing the traditional TV set. “That’s what we’re all looking for”, he noted, warning “it will take a long time to transition to a new form of television”. Slim margins, low prices and little innovation make the business of researching, developing and marketing high-definition television sets a cutthroat one, he remarked:

We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.

His company, Stringer said, spent the last five years creating an ecosystem to take on Apple, even though the company had seen little success with the Google TV platform and other connected television efforts: expand full story

November 7, 2011

For all the talk about a hyped networked television set allegedly in the works at Apple, we’re way more comfortable pondering on a dozen convincing reasons why such a device wouldn’t make much sense from the business standpoint (even though true fans would no doubt embrace it). In his 2008 talk at the D8 conference with the Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, Steve gave some memorable quotes as to why nobody had cracked the TV yet.

He first likened the state of the TV industry to being kinda “Tower of Bableish”, actually “balkanized”, before remarking how folks go to TV to turn their brain off. Interactive TV sets just don’t lend themselves to this passive medium, he observed. Jobs also recalled how he used to think TV networks conspired to dumb as down, but later figured out they’re just giving us what we want – light entertainment not requiring heavy thinking.

Funny how Jobs’s thoughts nowadays hold ground pretty much on their own. What’s truly remarkable, Steve came to those realizations at least 15 years ago. From the Internet archives (thus explaining poor quality), have a look at the above 1998 clip with Jobs in full swing mode educating devotees on the future of television. And while you’re at it, go past the fold for his take on the state of the TV industry dated 2008.

He’s literally saying same things, just wording them slightly differently. We’re eager to hear your opinion. What the two clips mean for the prospect of an Apple-branded HDTV set? Hit us in comments. And here’s everything Steve Jobs has ever said about television.

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October 24, 2011

October 10, 2011

Is Siri coming to your television?

Siri, an intelligent voice-controlled personal assistant which debuted with the iPhone 4S, could come to your big screen television via Apple’s set-top box. The evidence is inconclusive at this point, but clues exist pointing in this direction. For starters, Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross speculated about Siri on the Apple TV in her note to […]

September 28, 2011

And here’s Amazon’s television commercial for the $79 Kindle

While the new Kindle Fire tablet failed to impress folks who were hoping for an iPad killer, the $79 regular Kindle has gotten us excited because this thing is now within grasp of an average consumer and if history is an indication, sales should grow at an exponential rate. Conveniently, Amazon has a new television […]

September 12, 2011

Cable television channel TNT, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner, has released an iPad app which gives you complete access to full-length television shows and movies aired by the network. As you’ve come to expect from similar apps, TNT for iPad lets you access behind-the-scenes videos, check out program guides and schedule reminders. It also integrates with GetGlue, Facebook and Twitter so you can pollute your friends’ social stream with the seemingly unimportant “I’m watching…” status updates.

Important caveat: Watching full episodes of television shows such as The Closer, Falling Skies and Rizzoli & Isles requires authenticating through your television provider. The TNT for iPad app is a free download from the App Store. Go past the fold for three additional screenshots of the TNT for iPad app.

NBC has also updated its iPad app with the same content found on the web site. Yes, you can finally stream The Office to your iPad! Also, their TBS for iPad program does the same for Turner’s other shows, including episodes of Conan, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, available free on your tablet.

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August 31, 2011

Remember when the iPad was but a rumor? And how the rumor-mill was citing unnamed Hollywood executives who used to boast  how an Apple tablet would be awesome for watching movies? Apple, the sources would have us believe, was supposed to let customers subscribe to bulk TV channel in iTunes and enjoy quality TV programming on their tablet. Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be. Blame it on the forces that be, which couldn’t come to terms at the negotiating table.

Enter Eye TV Mobile, an iPad 2  dongle from Elgato, the established maker of cool accessories for Apple products. Just pop in this thing into your iPad 2’s 30-pin dock connector and you’re ready to enjoy live television broadcast via an integrated DTT/Freeviewer receiver. Even better, you can record programs using a free companion app, browse an electronic program guide and more.

On the downside, this dongle won’t capture analogue television broadcasts nor will it work in the U.S., it’s basically a digital TV tuner for the European market. The dongle will set you back a hundred Euros/quid. Elgato has yet to announce availability so head over at the Elgato site to check out more details. Engadget’s hands-on video is right below the fold.

Vodpod videos no longer available. expand full story

August 26, 2011

The Wall Street Journal makes a brief mention of a mysterious new video delivery technology Apple is allegedly working on:

Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service, according to people familiar with the matter.

Authors Yukari Iwatani Kane and Jessica Vascellaro did not elaborate further, beyond alluding it could be related to a subscription-based television programming that might be bulked through iTunes, akin to cable deals. Another report earlier this month asserted Apple is in fact developing iTunes Replay, “a full-fledged re-downloading and possibly streaming service”. Apple earlier this year enabled iTunes users to redownload purchased apps, e-books, music and other content free of charge, on an unlimited basis. Most recently the company added television shows to the mix, effectively creating a cloud-based locker for Hollywood entertainment.

While the prospect of the so-called Apple television remains sketchy, Apple recently made moves that could be viewed as preparing such a branded, networked television set with the Apple TV functionality built-in.

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August 15, 2011

The above chart from research firm IHS iSuppli tells us that premium TV brands have been consistently lowering  prices of high-end LCD TV units because white label makers have been on a roll, putting out inexpensive products with features previously offered by branded vendors only. According to IHS iSuppli, the average price of a typical high-end LCD TV in the United States dropped from $1,317.89 in July 2010 to $1,002.58 in July of this year. That’s a healthy 23.9 percent drop in just a year. IHS displays researcher Lisa Hatamiya:

Long the chief attraction for high-end brands like Sony and Samsung, features such as 1080p high-definition resolution, 120Hz refresh rates and LED backlighting technology now are cropping up in value brands entering the market, especially in the 40- to 42-inch space. But unlike their pricey counterparts, the new upstarts boast dramatically lower pricing. For example, value brands like Apex and Element offer 40-inch 1080p/120Hz LED sets for $550 at Target and Wal-Mart stores across the United States. In comparison, premium brands with the same features are priced at about $1,100—double the price offered by the discount brands.

It has been speculated that a possible networked television set from Apple won’t gain traction due to vendors going after each other’s throat with low-priced commodity products that yield very slim margins. This would force Apple out of the entry- to mid-level range and the company would price itself even out of the premium segment, conventional wisdom has it. Then again, wasn’t the mobile landscape riddled with same barriers to entry prior to the iPhone? With the average selling price of a premium LCD TV falling below the magic $1,000 barrier, however, the timing for an Apple television couldn’t be better. A stylish 50-inch television set priced at $999 with the shiny Apple logo could easily hit the ground running and here’s why.

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August 1, 2011

UPDATE: This feature is apparently only a US-thing for the time being…

Coincidentally or not, Apple has just made some back-end changes to the iTunes Store cloud as the new iOS 4.3.3 firmware updated for Apple TV went live a couple of minutes ago. As you can see from the above screenshot, it’s now possible to re-download purchased television shows in iTunes through the Purchased tab in the iTunes Store section of the iTunes desktop app. The Purchased tab is also available via the iTunes app on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing you to re-download previously purchased shows directly to those devices. Put simply, the company has blurred the line between purchases and rentals, although users are still offered the choice between renting or owning television shows on offer in iTune Store.

This latest addition comes on top of the ability to re-download purchased apps, e-books and music in desktop iTunes, which has been in place for some time. The feature also ties in nicely to the latest Apple TV software update which lets you purchase television shows through the device (see the screenshot below), not just rent them as before. Presumably, content begins streaming on the Apple TV (due to its small storage), with your other iOS devices and computers automatically downloading the purchase if you have enabled Automatic Downloads in Settings > Store.

In other words, “Apple has rolled out a cloud-based storage locker for TV shows… And you know movies are next!”, as cleverly put by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. expand full story

July 26, 2011

Look, we here at 9to5Mac do not rule out the possibility of an Apple-branded television in the not-so-distant future, but at this point the realities of large-size OLED display manufacturing would make such a product prohibitively expensive. We’ve said it repeatedly – and now touch panel makers in Asia are pointing out as well – that OLED technology isn’t ready for prime time yet in large television displays, per this DigiTimes report.

Taiwan-based panel makers pointed out that Apple is unlikely to offer TVs using 55-inch AMOLED panels for the time being because development of large-sized AMOLED panels is not mature yet and therefore yield rates are low and production costs are high.

The report is in response to the last week’s rumor by the notoriously unreliable Smarthouse that Apple was procuring 55-inch AMOLED displays for an integrated television set apparently slated for late 2012. On the other hand, we know Apple’s been researching glass-less 3D displays featuring transparent OLED panels and a job listing in February had signaled intentions to implement OLED displays in future products. On the other hand, OLED TVs are not a matter of if, they are a matter of when.

LG Display’s CEO Kwon Young-soo told The Korean Times that his company “may release a 55-inch OLED TV set sometime in the latter half of next year”. LG Display wants to stop Samsung Electronics’ manufacturing grip on AMOLED technology and especially Samsung-improved version called Super AMOLED, which is featured on their high-end smartphones such as the Galaxy S family. Other players like Sony already make OLED TVs in very limited quantities. The Japanese consumer electronics giant will be using an OLED display for their upcoming Vita handheld console.

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July 24, 2011

Smarthouse has a particularly bad reputation when it comes to Apple rumors, especially when they involve OLEDs.  But we’ll bite on their latest because it is so tantalizing.

There is also speculation that Apple has held discussions with LG Display the Company that makes display screens for MAC products, about the possibility of getting access to a new 55 LG OLED panel that will be used in a new Apple TV that will be capable of delivering music, Video & TV shows over an IP network.

On Friday LG said that they will launch a limited production OLED TV late in 2012.

There are no shortage of people advocating for an integrated Apple television, but certainly the leader is Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster who expects one next year.

As far as the big display makers are concerned, Apple’s relationship with LG is probably the strongest.  LG makes iPod Touch and iPhone Retina Displays and Apple secured a $500 million dollar investment in LG displays in 2009.  The net of that was a temporary exclusive on the panels for the 27-inch display that Apple’s iMacs and now Thunderbolt Displays now use.  Sony makes OLEDs as well but doesn’t have a strong relationship with Apple, at least as far as displays are concerned.  The other big OLED maker is Samsung, who is now tangled with Apple in patent disputes.

If Apple does do a TV, it will likely have some sort of game-changer tech innovation that Apple could exclusively own for a period of time.  A 55-inch OLED would probably qualify even though yields will be low and prices will be astronomical during the ramp up.

We’re still not convinced, however. expand full story

April 15, 2011

Apple patents all sorts of crazy things, mostly just concepts that never see the light of the day. We would have classed this one under the ” highly improbable” drawer had it not been for the company’s past patents which toy with various aspects of laser-based projection systems. This one surfaced in the United States Patent & Trademark Office database under the code 20110075055 and entitled “Display system having coherent and incoherent light sources”. What’s it all about?

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April 7, 2011

YouTube has cable and broadcast television in its sight, planning “a major overhaul” designed around premium content. About twenty specialized “channels” of professionally produced web programming are being considered around a variety of topics, including arts and sports.

Google is allegedly in talks with Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management over a possible co-operation. YouTube channels will simply collect existing premium content scattered elsewhere on the site. Google expects to spend a hundred million dollars to commission this content, author Jessica Vascellaro writes for The Wall Street Journal.

Google’s YouTube video website is working on a major site overhaul to organize its content around “channels” as it positions itself for the rise of Internet-connected televisions.

Of course, clues have been all over the place for quite some time that Google is planning on turning YouTube into a full-fledged entertainment content store akin to iTunes. Read on…

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March 25, 2011

I know what you’re thinking – analysts, right? While it’s true many “analysts” can’t tell their arse from their elbow, some predictions are worth observing. Katy Huberty with Morgan Stanley is again risking her credibility by re-iterating that Apple will take on television market with a new product category expected in the 2012-2013 time frame.

She code-named it a Smart TV, a full-fledged networked television with the shiny Apple logo on it. Checks with Asian component suppliers suggest Apple is developing a Smart TV prototype, says her Friday note to clients. expand full story

March 15, 2011

DWCable TV (left) and Dish Remote Access (right)

Time Warner Cable just posted their free live TV streaming app for iPad. Dubbed TWCable TV, it lets their subscribers stream live cable television programming via a high-speed WiFi connection to an iPad, the stuff like Bravo, Food Network, CNBC news and other selected live cable TV channels. The announcement has agitated spirits, prompting rival Dish Network to argue its Dish Remote Access app was first with live television streaming, even issuing a press release to back the claim.

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February 18, 2011

Not the Apple TV, but an Apple television. Apple has posted a new job position looking for people to work on next-generation power supply technology. Apple needs people to to “work on the forefront of new power management designs and technologies with the exemplary company consistently bringing innovations in the industry.” Although some mind find that fascinating, we find what Apple needs this new power management technology to power even more interesting… TVs!

Apple separates “TV” from “standalone displays” making it clear these are actual televisions, not Apple’s regular LED displays. Apple does have a television accessory called Apple TV and the job posting does not note this being that product. We are certainty speculating a little bit here, but we do feel this is very interesting either way. Over the years a number of reports emerged Apple was working on an actual TV, including reports from analyst Gene Munster in 2009 and a few weeks ago.

Also, this could tie in nicely with our report about Apple exploring OLED displays.

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August 25, 2010

July 2, 2010

May 18, 2010

Google opens its developer conference in San Francisco this week, setting the stage for another intensification of its battle with Apple for the future of technology.

Apple must respond to Google’s front room ploy, or run the risk of tacitly ceding control of the front room to another. This seems unlikely. Read more.

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