Should Apple enter the flat TV market?
Cupertino's way of doing business may put a stop to any plans ...
Comment In February 2009, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said what we were all thinking: that if Apple is a part of the consumer electronics market, why doesn’t it produce a TV with Apple TV (and a DVR) incorporated?
The first time Faultline predicted this was a full two years earlier, but we’re not followed quite as assiduously as Wall Street analysts, so we’ll let that pass. It IS logical that a consumer electronics company makes TV sets, but it is now just as likely that Apple could provide the chip and the software for everyone to put an Apple TV class experience into TVs and turn them into connected TVs, and sell this to rival TV makers.
Not according to Munster though, on his hobby horse again, saying that Apple is still thinking of rolling out a connected Apple TV. This time he quotes some Far East Taiwanese sources who say that Apple is in the market buying big TV class LCD screens. The fact that the larger Apple Mac screens already have the quality and size – and that the LCD panels are just the same – seems to have escaped him.
Media researcher Screen Digest, now operating under its parent name IHS, speculates that advance payments made to LG, Toshiba Mobile Display and LG Display, including a screen between 27 inches and 50 inches, led Munster to interpret these purchases as meaning a TV is imminent.
"While Apple's commitment to the living room remains a 'hobby', we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate," Munster said.
We can’t gainsay him here: an Apple-designed TV set would fly, but not if it limited connectivity purely to Apple or Apple-designated sites. The other rumour that has been around for a long time is that Apple would come out with its own streaming TV channels, but this would have been such a strong spur to sell more iPad tablets, and it’s been a year since the iPad was announced and such a service is long overdue, which we think means the content companies decided against Apple’s terms.
Munster says that during 2012, 50 per cent of the 220 million flat-screen TVs sold would be connected TVs and that Apple could easily capture a piece of that market, suggesting around 1.4 million units initially adding $2.5bn to its revenue line rising to $6bn by 2014.
We have now revised our opinion, and think that Apple’s current spate of pigheadedness and lack of openness would result in any Apple TV design being so closed that it wouldn’t be taken up by the masses.
Can you imagine Apple trying to convince Comcast that it was okay to connect cable service to a TV set that tried to compete with the core cable offering? It’s not going to sit well with any pay TV operators.
Copyright © 2011, Faultline
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>My 27" iMac has a resolution of 2560 x 1440, which is much higher than the 1920 x 1080 resolution of my 32" LG TV.
Its LG who make the 27" iMac displays........ hardly any consumer appliances put out even 1080p, so it wouldn't be worth parting with the cash for most TV buyers.
HDMI CEC anyone?
Look at the HDMI spec and pin 13 labelled CEC or Consumer Electronics Control .. looks like a lot of potential ... the major limitation with HDMI seems to be the +5v 50mA on pin 18, not enough to power much, just enough to wake the device up.
Personally I like the Apple TV2 approach .. its is amazingly tiny and if you use the Wireless N interface then you only need the power lead and HDMI connection plugged in to get full functionality (okay only 720p 8-) .. for a "hobby" device it is extremely professional and I can't wait to see it added to the App Store in the near future.
I don't see the point in Apple bothering with TVs themselves, they don't need to and they would not sell enough to justify the investment.
Why would Apple build a $1000 Apple TV when they can add what they want to the TV experience with a $100 box?
TVs are expensive commodity items with stiff competition and thin margins. I doubt the margins are especially large on the Apple TV 2, but the risk is lower, and it takes care of the important job: Add more value to the iTunes store and iDevices.
An Apple HDTV?
Gene Munster is never right about anything, he's so completely out of the loop at Apple, I believe that most knowledgeable Apple investors wonder how he keeps a job.
An Apple 27" monitor sans HDMI or HDCP costs a tad over 900 quid. You can get any number of brand name 26" TVs for 250-ish. OK, they're nowhere near the res but there's no point to anything over 1080p in a TV set anyway. For the price Apple charge for a 27" monitor you can get a top of the range 50" TV.
So no, Apple aren't going to be getting into the TV market just because they make a big monitor. Maybe the analyst in question should spend more time analysing and less time just making stuff up?