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Apple to Make HDTVs?

cnet UK claims “Apple to release networked HDTVs“. Ummm right. I initially thought this was a silly idea but it’s actually possible.

First the silly part. Why would Apple make a TV set? They don’t manufacture LCD screens or Plasmas they do repackage LCDs from manufactures like Philips in some nice designs and none of those are of HD resolution, in fact 2 of them are higher resolution screens than HD (1920×1080). For an HDTV I would rather buy something from Panasonic or Samsung than Apple. It just seems like someone whose made TVs for decades would do a better job and could sell the same thing cheeper than Apple.

But lets put some facts together. Apple has never been one to be satisfied with the status quo or the the standard device or to be just another player in a market. Apple has always made something just a little better than what everyone else is making. Take the iPod for example, it isn’t just an MP3 player, a Mac isn’t just a PC. Apple adds value, fine I’m an admitted kool-aid drinker but PC World did list the MacBook Pro as the fastest Vista laptop they had tested.

Blue-ray is going nowhere fast and the HD transition is not going well.

Cable companies are having a hard time fitting HD content into their lines without a lot of comression and quality loss and right now, satellite and simple antennas give consumers the best every day quality for HD. In tests AppleTV devices presented HD content in better quality than cable provider.

Apple may well make a home viewing screen for video content. Note I didn’t say TV. It may have an HD tuner in it but Apple will probably rely on broadband for content delivery. It will be the ultimate a la cart choice for consumers. But Apple will need to up their selection of current TV shows via iTunes to really sell it to consumers. They must guarantee that consumers can watch their favorite programs as soon as they’re broadcast. Many of the current cable/satellite networks that aren’t now on iTunes will also need to be added. That’s the only way to really make it work. The consumer will need to have at least the same selections on this device they have now with cable or satellite.

The Value added that Apple will bring is higher resolution than HD. Other manufactures are already making 4K (4 times HD) devices such as Sony’s SXRD 4K projector and the 150″ Panasonic plasma. Content is already being captured in 4k also using the RED 4k camera and others. Macs can already can edit this raw content with their pro video apps. 

So if Apple makes a “TV” it will have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The current 30″ Cinema Display comes in at 2560 x 1600 which is about 2 times HD and about half 4k. (see HDTV resolutions at Wikiedia) Apple has made it clear they want to have resolution independence in their OS and the devices that run it and they very nearly have it now. When will the AppleCinema (my term) come out, if ever? Macworld 2009. Macworld 2009 will happen in January about one month before the analog turn off and HD rollout. I do think the AppleTV is due for a major revamp and this may be it with the introduction of separate 2k and 4k displays up to 50″. Only time will tell.

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