Could Apple have its own branded HDTV by 2011?

21 Aug 2009

Apple is expected to be capable of offering a full-fledged TV set by 2011 that will come with advanced media functions and will be capable of synchronising with iPods, Mac computers and iPhones.

According to a report on CNN, a memo by a respected technology analyst from Piper Jaffray, Gene Muster, Apple has been waiting for prices of high definition flat screen TV devices to come down to below the US$300 mark. The worldwide recession has seen prices of luxury devices like 42-inch and 50-inch TVs plummet to below US$500 in some cases so conditions are proving right.

“The argument that Apple will not enter the television market because prices have declined by approximately 70pc in the past three years is a similar argument used to conclude Apple would not enter the cell phone market, given phones had seen similar price declines,” Munster wrote in a memo to investors obtained by CNN.

“The bottom line, 10 million HDTV’s sold in the US a year is a real market, and if history repeats itself, Apple will find a way to compete in a commoditised market with a premium priced product,”  Munster wrote.

He said that so far Apple has sold more than 43m iPhones and iPod Touch media players that with the download of an app could be transformed into remote control devices.

Munster said that Apple could leverage its deep library of content with many network and cable channel content owners to provide unlimited access to a sub-library of its TV shows for a standard monthly fee (US$30 to US$40 per month). “Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (US$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels.”

He pointed to an Apple television set within the next two years that could wirelessly sync with iPods, iPhones and Macs. “Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs; we believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers (complicated TV and component systems).”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years