Here’a blast from the past (posted Feb. 4, 2013) from a website I owned in the past, Apple Daily Report: With Intel purportedly planning to take on the cable/satellite industry, Apple may be feeling pressure to unveil its long-rumored Apple TV (assuming, of course, that the company actually plans an HDTV (the “iTV”?)— though I think it does).
On the other hand, Intel and Apple are facing the same problem: getting content providers on-board with their game changing plan. Gene “The Tech Night Owl” Steinberg recently proposed an interesting strategy: an Apple TV as a “digital hub.”
“One real need in TV land is the integration among your various accessories,” he writes. “Maybe you can rely on what you get on an Apple TV and, perhaps, the antenna, but what about the Blu-ray player and the gaming console? Perhaps the most confusing part of using your TV is integrating these devices with your set, and switching back and forth.”
In my setup, I have just the Panasonic flat panel and a Samsung Blu-ray. I use a Logitech Harmony universal remote to simplify the process of turning things on and off, and switching inputs, but it still requires pressing a button or tapping a display to go from one source to the next. Sometimes it misses, and I have to use Help or repeat the process. On occasion, the sound from the Blu-ray, piped via HDMI to the TV set, disappears, and I can only fix the problem by switching back to the DirecTV set top box and return to the Blu-ray. All just to watch that movie.
Gene proposes a new generation Apple TV that can be used as a dock, your digital hub, to connect all your equipment, from a cable/satellite box to gaming console. Per his idea, the rear will contain the usual assortment of HDMI ports and audio ports.
“But Apple’s marvelous software, no doubt using the iOS, can be used to make setups and switching among devices easy as pie,” Gene writes. “You can announce to Siri you want to play a game, or watch a DVD, or connect to channel 242 on your DirecTV box (it’s USA Network, in case you’re wondering).
Apple might even offer to provide front-ends to the cable and satellite people, “so all you have to do is run one of their apps, login to your account, and access all of your programming, schedule pay-per-view and time-shifting without need of another appliance.” Gene says this sort of integration might be the most sensible way for Apple to make a difference in TV land, without somehow providing all of the services and dealing with all the licensing headaches.
Makes sense to me? Of course, Apple could do this as a preliminary step before introducing an “iTV.” Of course, they could also make it easier to use, say, the iMac as a TV as well, something I’ve long wanted.