Feeds

Smart telly trends make Apple 'iTV' a certainty

Cupertino would be mad not to

Boost IT visibility and business value

It's no longer a question of whether Apple will produce a TV - the so-called 'iTV' - but when. That's the clear conclusion to be drawn from an analysis of TV technology trends provided by DisplaySearch, a market watcher, at Panasonic's 2012 Convention today.

Starting inside the box and working out, we're at the stage where phones, tablets and TVs have the same core content presentation capabilities: they can all work with HD content, even if some of them lack the pixels to present it at full resolution. This derives from the use of the common building blocks: low-power CPUs and GPUs merged into system-on-a-chip parts.

TVs didn't use to have such sophisticated technology on board, but the need to offer a broader array of content, almost all of it coming from the internet, than broadcast television alone, and to present it with an engaging UI, is making TVs internally more like computers. Not every set will be a so-called Smart TV, but more and more of them will be, especially in established markets.

At a basic level, then, TVs, tablets and smartphones - thinking of them as content presentation devices - are now all but identical. Only the size of display they incorporate separates one from the other.

Even tellies need to be dual-core, Panasonic said this week.

It's not hard to envisage, then, punters simply using all of these devices according to the needs of a given moment. TV for home viewing in company; tablets for viewing outside the home or within it in rooms where there is no TV; and phones for ad hoc viewing on the move.

Apple has two of these devices in its product portfolio, so why not complete the set? Especially since these devices will increasingly complement each other in other ways too. Apple was one of the first companies to offer a smartphone app for controlling its set-top boxes, but there's an opportunity to extend this so the app doesn't merely replace the traditional remote but takes on a role the old button boxes can't.

How about allowing a remote app to change a device's settings without interrupting what's being shown on screen, so you can tinker with the sound or colour balance without annoying your other half? Or to continue watching your favourite show on the smaller screen while you fix yourself a drink or nip to the loo?

Need to key in an internet address or a search string to find a programme on BBC iPlayer? That's easier on a smartphone or tablet than a regular remote. Who wants a separate Qwerty deck for these occasional text entry instances? Voice control and gesture recognition technology are advancing, but they can't yet simplify the complexity of a fully internet-friendly remote control without significant compromise.

The explosion of content sources which has driven this need for better control tech has also revealed the need for new approaches to content discovery. In a world of thousands of channels, EPGs quickly become unmanageable. Technology can hide that complexity, to provide not only a more simple but more personal EPG, and one that ties into diverse information sources, from reviews to Twitter hashtags.

This isn't a problem only Apple is able fix, though its UI development heritage puts it in a strong position to do so. But it does have an edge in delivering content in an easy to access way. The iTunes App, Book, Music and Movie Stores show that, and the company is said to have undertaken an attempt to streamline these even further.

Having, recast these services as cloud-based providers - getting an item of content onto a device is no longer a once-only process, though it really needs to enable streaming as an alternative to downloading - it can feed content to a TV as easily as to phones or tablets.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Telly vision

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.