Apple Working On Networked HDTVs?

October 11, 2008

Tech news telephone: CNET UK floats a rumor from Jason Calacanis that Apple is working on a networked television. At first glance, this rumor has surfaced before, and is the sort of thing any Apple pundit could come up with on their own, after considering ways to improve the languishing Apple TV and then thinking, well, one way to get people to buy one is to physically combine it with the TV itself. Add Apple’s expertise with LCD computer monitors and there you go.

But on second thought, consider the market for LCD HDTVs, namely how prices have been dropping recently as the low-end market is saturated with pretty darned good televisions, essentially all quite similar, competing on price.

I could see Apple making a go in this sort of environment. They wait until LCD TV prices bottom out and the competition is practically giving them away, and introduce their HDTV + Apple TV that provides the networked Apple TV features (media extender, movie rentals, ease of use) the competition just can’t compete with. Provide a few models that are only different in terms of price and size (the Apple way of less confusion) to cut through the glut of confusing HDTV models and prices. I could see replacing our TV just to free up an HDMI port.

So in conclusion, I still don’t know if Apple wants to abandon the set-top-box strategy for the cut-throat world of televisions, but this rumor has more legs because of market conditions. And looking / waiting for a confused market is exactly what Apple did with the iPod and the iPhone.