back to article Apple's TV killer 'on shelves by summer 2012'

One of Steve Jobs' final ambitions was to revolutionise television. And if supply-chain moles are telling the truth, we'll get to see what exactly the great man had in mind in a few months, when Apple's new iTVs start rolling off the production line. The new Apple TVs - reportedly full sets rather than just set-top boxes - …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "but Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that *he* had "cracked" TVs"

    He? Surely that's a typo for we - ah no, I forgot, St Steve did it all.

    bit like someone else we know, ahem new

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16342315

    1. James O'Brien
      Devil

      "but Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that *he* had "cracked"

      There fixed the real typo in the article

    2. J. R. Hartley

      Oh Jesus.

      This TV is just gonna have a single RF IN socket, isn't it. Not to worry, cos iTV2 will have colour composite input as well. Expect HDMI on the iTV4s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "This TV is just gonna have a single RF IN socket, isn't it. Not to worry, cos iTV2 will have colour composite input as well. Expect HDMI on the iTV4s."

        Blimey, what world do you live in? This will have a single Apple(TM) Media Socket(TM), adapters are available for SCART, HDMI, VGA and S-Video. Prices are £50 each and are not included in the iTV product.

        On a side note, I wonder if Apple will have any trademark issues with the ITV channel in the UK.

        1. big_D Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          The Apple TV

          was originally called the iTV, but ITV threatened to sue them and they changed the name at the last minute to Apple TV.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      cracked tv

      Because they were so hard to use even my grandma struggled to use them. Nice one Steve. You've created the single button tv too?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they put a metal coin box on the TV?

    A more modern slant on the TV rentals of the 60's where you had to feed a metal box with coins?

    Has Apple patented the wheel yet?

    1. Nick Gisburne

      Nobody believes me now when I tell them about coin-operated black and white TVs, so thanks for confirming it! I was born in 1966 so they presumably lasted into the early 70s too.

      1. DJV Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @Nick Gisburne

        Well, I believe you! I installed a few of the things when I worked for Rediffusion back in the 1970s.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          My gran had one.

          I can remember being given coins to put in it when the TV went off, that was a Rediffusion if my memory serves me correctly.

        2. Kwac
          Happy

          Whilst

          I had to "return a few to the workshop for reapir" when the picture became faulty - sometime shortly after the money collector noticed the box had been fiddled with.

          Never found out what was wrong with the sets - all perfectly alright in the workshop.

          Maybe had something to do with the pin that was sometimes spotted disecting the antenna cable - but who would do such a thing?

      2. Shawn Grinter
        Happy

        Coin operated TV

        A friend of mine has a coin operated TV as I type - it's just another way to pay for the set, like HP but on a pay as you go basis.

  3. Nick Gisburne
    FAIL

    iTV? Er, maybe you haven't heard...

    I'm not sure that name will pass unnoticed in the UK, given that ITV has been producing TV programming for over half a century. It's not like the name is used in an entirely different industry is it?

    Perhaps Apple imagine that using a lower case 'i' gives them special powers... in which case if that's all it takes, who's up for releasing IPOds, IPAds and IPhOnEs?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doubt they'll call it iTV anyway

      @Nick Gisburne; "I'm not sure [the "iTV" name] will pass unnoticed in the UK"

      I doubt Apple themselves were planning on using that name anyway.

      "iTV" was the original planned name for "Apple TV" a few years back, and it was changed before launch for that very reason.

      Suspect that Digitimes was using it in the same way that some people continued to refer to the original PlayStation as "PSX" after its pre-launch name.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Errmm

      The product is called Apple TV. I can't imagine ITV getting upset about that at all. Who called the product iTV? Not apple - rumour mongers

      1. Alastair Dodd 1
        Stop

        The product isn't official yet

        so Apple TV is just as much a rumor as iTV and considering the proliferation of apple i-products it would be a logical name if not for the Uk broadcasting group.

        I have very serious doubts of any Apple TV making any sort of splash at all.

      2. Michael Jennings

        Steve Jobs himself

        Er, no. Apple did. It was a very rare example of an Apple product announced a significant time before it was actually released. Steve Jobs got up on stage (at the annual iPod announcement, I think) talked about it, and said that it was called iTV for now, but that might change. When the product was released six or so months later, it had been changed to Apple TV, probably because ITV was such a well established trademark in the UK.

    3. Ru
      Trollface

      Easy: iDiot Box

      See title.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        or ...

        The iLantern.

  4. jai

    still dubious

    TV sets are low margin these days aren't they? I don't see how that's a market that Apple can conquer.

    (Then again, would have said the same thing about mobile phones back in the day, so....)

    However, the rumours are still very vague. Will they be set top boxes? Is it just AppleTV3 and you use your own tv. Or will it be built in to iMacs? For a product that's only half a year away, seems like there's still a lot of guesswork going on.

    1. Nuke
      Meh

      @ Jai

      Low margin? Apple are not bothered by other makers working to low margins - they have discovered that many people are prepared to pay a hefty premium for a gizmo if it is hyped enough and is shouldered by Fanbois.

      I won't buy an Apple TV, nor might you, but plenty will.

      1. Bob H
        Headmaster

        Apple may not concern itself with other people selling at low margins, but you only have to look at Panasonic's recent profit warning to know that selling volume at high margins is very difficult in TV these days.All of the primary Japanese manufacturers have recently spun off their small screen divisions into a likely unprofitable company to avoid booking the losses. Philips have just sold their TV division to the Chinese for pennies and Panasonic lost hundreds of millions chasing the business. No one is making profit on TV panels these days, believe me I speak with some authority on this subject.

        Apple might revolutionise the interface, but 90% of the population don't want a revolution in TV because they are passive consumers and remember that the majority of the population doesn't want, or can't afford, an iPhone it just seems like it in our field of view. Apple TV 1&2 didn't revolutionise anything that wasn't already being done, the only advantage it has is iTunes content.

        In addition TV is, unlike phones and computers, different everywhere in the world. The transmission standards vary from country to country, the customers ability to pay varies, the dominance of Pay TV varies and even the regulatory/legal requirements. Sony has been doing revolutionary things for years and yet has numerous different platforms worldwide. In particular if you understand the US market then you definitely don't understand the rest of the world because the US is a microcosm in respect of the business of TV.

        1. Al Jones

          Who needs volume?

          Apple doesn't need to sell TVs in the same volume as Panasonic, Philips, LG or Samsung to be successful. They only need to sell enough to convince the mainstream media that all the "smart" people have an Apple TV. Look at the iPhone - it was a "huge success" with only 1% of the cell phone market. That was enough to convince people that they had to have what would have been a niche product if any other company had produced it.

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    bah.

    There is no point to Google or Apple TVs, except for Apple and Google.

  6. takuhii

    WOAH WOAH WOAH! iTV??? REALLY! I think ITV will have something to say about that. I agree with the other posters though, this is MORE likely to be called Apple TV

  7. Def Silver badge

    "simplest user interface you could imagine"

    Implementing a better user interface than existing TVs isn't exactly difficult. I bought a Sony TV a few years ago (I know, I know), and I have to say the UI is fucking awful. From the ridiculous button layout on the remote to the god awful on screen menus. And this from a company that's been making TVs for decades. I was amazed at how shit the UI still was. (It had been some time since I'd bought or owned a TV before this one.)

    I predict the Apple TV will consist of a single flat touch panel that you swipe left/right/up/down to change channel/volume, and tap to access the on screen menus and again swipe and tap to navigate. Also, there will be an iphone/ipad app to access the menus and other functionality more directly.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Best Telly interface...

      When I was a kid we had a TV with a volume knob, a half dozen channel buttons and a power button.

      Now THAT is a simple interface.

      1. Gary Bickford

        In fairness, the old TVs were not easy to adjust

        All those controls for audio, color, brightness, alignment, etc. were behind tiny little holes in the back panel. So I wouldn't call those 'simple'.

        Also, in the US at least, there were two knobs for VHF (channels 2-12, of which every other one could be used) and UHF (13-80 or something). The UHF one only worked when the VHF knob was set to the non-channel that designated UHF. And you had to ACTUALLY GET UP OFF THE COUCH to change the channel!! Oh the humanity!

        1. Davidoff

          "All those controls for audio, color, brightness, alignment, etc. were behind tiny little holes in the back panel. So I wouldn't call those 'simple'."

          I haven't seen any TVs that had these controls on the backpanel, but maybe European TV sets were different. The only control that was found on the back was VSYNC on older sets that required manual fiddling with it.

          "Also, in the US at least, there were two knobs for VHF (channels 2-12, of which every other one could be used) and UHF (13-80 or something). The UHF one only worked when the VHF knob was set to the non-channel that designated UHF."

          In Europe, such controls were common on smaller black & white portables and on very early living room TV sets, but the latter got adjustable channel selectors quickly.

          "And you had to ACTUALLY GET UP OFF THE COUCH to change the channel!! Oh the humanity!"

          Reminds me on my 1969 Philips Goya 110SL color TV set which not only had standby (to keep the tubes preheated so that the startup was quick) but also a remote control (a box with 4 channel selectors and volume, connected to the TV set via a 10m finger-thick cable).

          Good old times;-)

          1. Robert E A Harvey

            trims

            There were indeed loads of back panel trimmers, the most famous being horizontal & vertical hold.

            Inside there were loads of really cool ones, like linearity & keystoning. Electrical & magnetic focus.

      2. Zack Mollusc
        Stop

        Pah! Overly-complex rubbish! Ours had a rotary OFF-ON-Volume knob and a tuning knob. That were when tellies were proper tellies and 405 lines were enough for anyone.

        1. unitron
          Boffin

          No one...

          ...will ever need more than 405 lines.

          Except those of us stateside with our "We're so superior" 525 lines.

          Now that the Gates icon is gone I could actually have used it.

          1. AlgernonFlowers4
            Facepalm

            Hang on PAL!

            Except those of us in the uk with our "We're so superior" 625 lines.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              625 lines?

              625 lines is HD in all but name, really, isn't it?

              I mean if 720 is HD, right?

              525 sucks. As did/does NTSC.

              1. LesC
                Coat

                625 lines

                ... but it's interlaced so it's 312i? So not quite HD, but is as near as dammit VGA with infinite shades of grey on a b/w set. It all seemed alright at the time with a properly set up set it was well watchable.

                Mines is the one with the dual standard valve TV in the pocket.

                LC

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Robert E A Harvey

                old joak

                PAL: because of lack of bandwidth the colours can't fully saturate. Hence Pink-Amber-Lilac

                (Yellow was a subtractive term)

                NTSC: the hue signal was transmitted so far from the carrier that it was Never Twice Same Colour

                The French and Russians used SECAM: System Entirely Contrary (to the) American Method

        2. Armando 123

          Cue Yorkshiremen ...

          Well, we had it tough. Our tv was a 'graphic arts graduate' who had to draw pictures damn quick before me ol' dad knotted him with a ball peen hammer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: single flat touch panel

      Much better to use gesture than touch control, I'd have thought, and never again needing to search for the remote.

    3. JEDIDIAH

      Missing the point entirely...

      Who uses the UI on a TV?

      The interface is the set top box like a Tivo or a cable tuner.

      On the other hand, Apple's current stuff in terms of both remotes and onscreen menus are nothing to brag about. Both are "simplified" to the point of being crippled. Real remotes might be ugly because they actually allow you do something and expose features that Apple just tries to ignore.

      Then there's a whole world of universal remote hurt that your post doesn't even address. That's a whole industry spanning mess that Apple has no ability to influence.

      1. Jim in Hayward
        Thumb Up

        The Logitech Harmony universal remote is a dream. Controls my TV, Satellite box, DVD, DVR, VCR and AV. Uses configured 'actions' so when I want to watch a DVD it turns off the satellite box, DVR, VCR, then turns on the DVD, TV, switches the input on the TV from satellite to DVD, turns on the stereo and switches it's input to the TV's optical out channel and begins playing the movie.

        Totally awesome!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "simplest user interface you could imagine"

      I call it... THE TELEVISION REMOTE. Apple has once again created a new piece of magical technology that NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER BEFORE.

      Or perhaps they will copy Logitech again with the Harmony app. Use your iPad to change the channels. Must spend on the most expensive version of the iPad then pay $1.99 for the app.

  8. Josco
    Thumb Down

    Repeats

    Almost every programme on TV except for the news is a repeat (and some of the news is too). Will this super duper new Apple thingy change that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes. Everything that Apple does is new, magical and revolutionary, despite the fact that every product they have ever released was a duplication of a prior product.

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Pirate

    Also compatibility

    Digital Terrestrial has

    3 common flavours of DVB-T, though if your set does MHEG5, MHP, DVB-T2, AAC, MPEG4, VHF and UHF, it will work in most DVB areas.

    There are then 4 incompatible non-DVB DTT standards.

    Will it have Component for USA, SCART for Europe, Analogue RF (several kinds of SECAM, PAL, NTSC etc) for countries not using DTT yet, or with Analogue Cable?

    People used to buying "grey" imports will import the North American version and find it works almost nowhere else in the world on Digital.

    Even HD is country specific resolutions and frame rates, even on HDMI. Or will Apple pretend 25i and 50p don't exist. Will it support 24p and 48p for better North American disc playback of stuff transferred from Cinema?

    Or will it be like the original iPhone, almost only a GUI and packaging exercise with standard electronics?

    If they do release a "real" TV, any one buying it is wasting money, as it will be more expensive and more restrictive than a similar quality non-Apple TV.

    1. MD Rackham

      Funny!

      I love how this site pretends that there are places outside the USA! I guess it's a running gag or something.

      1. unitron
        Happy

        Me too

        "I love how this site pretends that there are places outside the USA! I guess it's a running gag or something."

        You think that's something, over at tivocommunity they pretend there's some place called a "youkay" where they had different S1s and got the next model after the Premiere before we did.

      2. foo_bar_baz

        @MD Rackham

        It seems to be particularly rampant on these .co.uk sites.

    2. Trollslayer

      Plus

      Digital cable in Europe, satellite, Nordig DTT etc..

  10. John A Blackley

    Alternative to save screen space

    Instead of printing stories (rumours) about Apple's intentions, why not just have a headline every day that says, "Flame Apple And Steve Jobs Here" and let the comments begin?

    1. Nuke
      Flame

      @John A Blackley

      Wrote : " ..why not just have a headline every day that says, "Flame Apple And Steve Jobs .."

      Good idea. For as long as Jobs keeps pissing us off, even from beyond the grave.

  11. ThomH Silver badge

    TV user interfaces are rubbish

    Look at Sky's for example — you can't see the description for anything other than the programme you're currently watching without retreating from television entirely into the full-screen menus and there's no quick way to flick through just your favourites. Navigating the guide in general feels like wading through treacle compared to almost any of the mobile phone or tablet apps that do the same thing.

    What we'd ideally have though is just TVs or decoders that sit on the home network and expose their functionality by a web service, for such second-screen apps as the user cares to use. So I don't just replace the remote control with my phone, I replace everything apart from the display of the television signal. Ideally I'd like to be able to stream my recorded programmes too. Companies like Samsung, DirecTV and Tivo (including via Virgin in the UK) are essentially edging towards that but keeping the protocols private and/or proprietary.

    I actually think Apple can fix television in the same way they fixed the mobile phone — by launching a joined-up solution as a premium product for a certain segment of the population and hence giving everyone an appetite for how it should be done. Then let the Android analogue come along and pull the rest of the market up to speed.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      TV UIs are really a solved problem

      It's unfortunate that only some enthusiasts writing for the old Topfield have actually done it - MyStuff for Topfield was really, really good two years ago. Certainly the best multi-channel TV UI I've seen to date.

      The current Humax UI is a close second - it's the best "out-of-the-box" TV UI I've seen.

      The Sky UI is the worst I've ever seen - it shows you hardly any information whatsoever, most of the time you're better off channel-surfing to find the programmes you want.

      Sony, Samsung and Panasonic have pretty poor onscreen guides, seeming to think that logos and graphics are more important than the TV guide itself. Hint - logos go on the box and during boot. Information goes on the screen.

      - Sony also appear to think that users stare at the remote and press the buttons with a stylus. Seriously, who puts the menu home buttons that close to navigation arrow keys?

      I have not seen the Virgin Media TiVO service - anyone used it?

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        TiVo

        TiVo's user interface used to be wonderful as it was fantastically intuitive and uncluttered. More recently it has spawned more and more services and distracting animations so it's getting fairly unwieldy. Still ten times better than Sky's horrorshow however - and unimaginably better than the one shipped with Panasonic devices.

        Where TiVo still scores is its intelligent season passes that hunt programmes down no matter how often the schedules change and it's 'I'll record this on the off chance...' feature which learns what you like and goes hunting for more stuff you're likely to like. Combine that with a few simple favourite actors, directors and the like and it'll save you a lot of frustration.

        However, that functionality has been patented to buggery (my legalese) and repeatedly upheld in courts so it'll be interesting to see if Apple can come up with something similar or better.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Sky UI

          I'm glad to see people ranting about the Sky UI. I live in the US and routinely complain about the UI/UX errors in my Motorola tuner/DVR; but when I was in the UK for a week earlier this year, I used a Sky box and couldn't believe how bad it was. I kept thinking that I was missing some option for "show me useful information".

    2. Zack Mollusc
      Happy

      Hehehe, as a proud(?) renter of a Virgin Media cable box (the same little Pace one that Telewest supplied a decade ago), I see SKY's UI as sleek and useful.

    3. HipposRule

      @ThomH

      Not on Sky HD, you always have the current programme showing when you are in the EPG

  12. Alex King
    Thumb Up

    Siri?

    Anyone else think that this new interface might be telly-sized Siri? After all, what could be more intuitive than speaking?

    Might be supplemented with some basic Kinect-alike controls; waving your hands left and right to change channels a-la coverflow, or up and down to change the volume. Apologies for deafening my neighbours in future when I punch the air in reaction to a happy event on telly. Maybe dual or triple tuners to smooth channel transitions like with DSG gearboxes in cars. Have I "cracked" it, oh ghost of St Steve?

    None of the innovations are likely to be groundbreaking in themselves, but I'd be happy if they alleviate the situation of a million different hieroglyphically-marked buttons on a foot-long zapper.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a problem...

    Apple fixing the TV sounds interesting. There are a number of things broken with TV at present. The biggest is finding the content you want to watch through a decent interface. Content can come from various places. A cable box or satellite box, DVD or Blu-Ray player (even a VCR theoretically), the Internet via sites like YouTube, streaming services, output from a computer, etc. Currently, you access this stuff via many different remote controls, each of which has a pretty crappy interface. Even finding something you want to watch on your cable or satellite box, most interfaces involves scrolling through lists of channels via an on-screen interface. Even when you have found something on the satellite box, you then have the hassle of turning on all your devices, getting them on the right channel, and setting things up. It is even harder if your set-up is high end and you have a separate surround sound amplifier and speakers. Universal remotes have tried to deal with this, but you are still left with the crappy on-screen interfaces to many devices.

    Apple may well have come up with a good way to index and search for TV shows, but with their one size fits all approach, I'm not convinced they will have come up with something that works for the high end users that they will target. If they do make a TV, will it come in the variety of sizes that people want (32 or 37" are pretty small in today's market), will it work seamlessly with high-end hi-fi equipment like surround sound devices and receivers. In many high-end setups the TV is pretty much a dumb device (which makes internet connected TVs so funny). Channel switching is handled by a receiver, sound is handled by a receiver, and each feeder device handles its own configuration. Assuming you turn all this into a single device, how do you deliver the TV. Content in most markets is often tied up with particular providers. In the UK you have Sky, Cable and Digital Broadcast. In the US you have numerous local cable providers, Verizon FIOS, Dish TV, etc.

    Personally my TV has a single HDMI cable connecting it to a Harman Kardon receiver and that is it. The internal speakers are disabled. Volume and switching between devices is handled by the receiver. The actual attached devices consist of a NetGear Digital Entertainer used to access my entire DVD collection ripped onto a NAS, a DVD player (for borrowed DVDs that I won't rip), a Time Warner Cable box and a music device. I used to use a Philips Pronto to try and automate the whole setup, but when that blew up I switched to a Logitech Harmony remote. What I would like is a single remote with a touch screen and some hard buttons (mainly for things like fast forward, rewind, volume where you want to be able to watch the TV whilst using them) where the touch screen allowed me to search either live TV or my DVD collection easily and then queue them up on the TV. I'm sure some YouTube like stuff would go down well, although I wouldn't use it. If Apple have figured out a way to solve that problem, and integrate with high end devices like receivers, I can see them being successful. If they haven't solved that problem, I suspect it will be another flop.

    1. Ivan Headache
      Happy

      I.m just wondering

      What a high end user is when it comes to television.

      Couch potato?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Harmony remote and an Xbox360 with kinect will fix that problem for ya.

      Well, when iPlayer us added next month

    3. Barry Rueger

      "Apple may well have come up with a good way to index and search for TV shows"

      I would assume it'll be a choice of iTunes or iTunes. Or perhaps iTunes.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not more locked in Apple crap...

    No doubt the TV will be touch interface only unless you have the latest iPhone. Codec support will be the usual Apple crap and they'll be no porn channels or navigation allowed via the browser.

    Trailers will have to be stored locally before playback can start and of course, a Mac Mini will be the only local storage allowed.

    If you buy it you deserve all the misery that comes with it.

    P.S. They'll be some Apple-only ethernet connector->RJ45 that costs £50

  15. Tom 7 Silver badge

    TV problem was fixed a long time ago

    it involved a small card plugged into one computer that received TV programs. All computers in the house turned into TVs' for the price of a remote for a digibox.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aye.. Tho there is still a great deal of varience in this solution.

      Media Center in Windows - has a fantastic interface for live TV and lets you stream to Xboxes, but sucks major ass when it comes to a sizable media collection. Oh and xbox codec support is abysmal.

      Mediaportal - great with a healthy plugin scene, but requires windows licenses whenever you put in a new node. Can be a little on the buggy side.

      MythTV - my god, what a buggy piece of crap with easily the worst interface I have ever used for both using and administating. Never encountered a single install that didn't have issues, especially if you tried to set it up as both a backend and front end off the bat - best to install as backend first then, after configuration, set up as a front end.

      BeyondTV - not bad and feature packed... provided you're willing to pay the costs.

      SageTV - killed by Google.

      TVHeadend +XBMC - Best compromise I have found so far. Totally free to deploy and expand, XBMC has a nice general interface and can handle very large media collections. EPG is a pile of shite tho and TVHeadend doesn't support pausing live TV, tho with the death of actually watching live TV this is less of an issue.

      Boxxee - Finally getting live TV support and has a very nice interface, shame they're killing off further development of the fat client in favour of the appliance.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        EyeTV

        Is nice, but again the interface needs work - nothing massive, just lots of little sillies that could be easily addressed - setting a season pass should be easier and the calendar that rolls back a whole day when you select 06:00 or earlier from a drop-down menu just being two of them.

        And improving its stability should be crucial, a TV tuner should run days, weeks, months without ever needing to be restarted. I've found the latest few versions of EyeTV to be pretty unstable and have often come home hoping to spend a half hour in the company of the lovely (if possibly psychopathic) Monica on Masterchef, only to see the error window.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        BYOB

        > has a fantastic interface for live TV

        Which kind of misses the point of a PVR.

        > MythTV - my god, what a buggy piece of crap

        It might "suck" but it does well at handling a media collection that will choke MCE.

        I don't need to be stuck with an xbox as an extender. Very handy for that whole "codec" problem.

        While XBMC is nice in this regard (media). It is not a PVR of any sort.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Part of what I consider fantastic for live TV in MCE is that it is very good at handling PVR functionality too - the EPG is very easy to navigate and it's simple to schedule recordings on a one off or even a series basis. The interface for then watching your recordings is well done too. The fail marks I give it is that you can only extend it with xboxes and the shitty ability to handle large media collections.

          XBMC is a PVR.. as I said, teamed up with TVHeadend (it can actually hook up to a mythtv backend too) you can schedule recordings and select what to watch live by browsing the EPG. However, that is with the PVR fork and won't be in the mainstream version until eden leaves beta. And as I said, even that isn't the best since the EPG is horrible to navigate and you can't pause live tv. But has been the better compromise I have used so far.

          Did you not read my post and simply skim it looking for something to try and be clever about?

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Linux

            Gutted and crippled and somewhat pointless.

            ...yes: in other words XBMC is not a PVR and is at best a limited stripped down client for some other PVR. This is an important difference for anyone that's actually used a PVR for any amount of time and has noticed the difference.

            OTOH, most HTPC software (even MCE) readily allows for running external programs to avoid these kinds of issues.

            You simply don't have to turn XBMC in to something it is not in order to get a "complete" experience.

      3. hamsterjam

        Not forgetting...

        Klaus Schmidinger's VDR. Excellent software. Build it yourself, get it from a repository or use one of the ready-made distro's with it built-in. Watch, stream, record, stacks of plugins. It has even achieved a WAF* of 0.9 in our house. Well, 0.65 at least.

        Men who buy their home media centres instead of building them out of old PCs and Linux sit down to pee.

        *WAF: For those not familiar with build-your-own-HTPC, "WAF" is the Woman Acceptance Factor, expressed as a value between 0 and 1.

    2. Anthony Shortland

      is there a way to integrate with sky/virgin?

  16. mraak
    Thumb Up

    Remote

    I played with Apple TV a bit in Apple store and what I found positively surprising is the speed with which I could operate the TV with a very tiny and simplistic remote with a wheel and few buttons. I was searching, playing channels, being on YouTube, etc. This in itself is a good improvement over the current 4 remotes with 70 buttons each in my setup.

    1. Armando 123

      Agreed

      We got an AppleTV last year for Christmas and, while we rarely watch tv (outside of NCIS and certain sporting events), the integration with Netflix and Youtube is awesome. Living in the US, the latter is the only way we can see certain UK shows (QI leaps to mind). As you said, the interface is damn simple; even small kids and senior citizens can pick up the remote and use it the first time.

      Don't be surprised if the new "Apple tv" is actually a new AppleTV that allows one to control all things going to a set.

  17. Dave 126 Silver badge
    Meh

    don't see it as a TV...

    ...but as a low-end iMac, ie screen with streaming and internet. Then it allows Apple a market segment below that of the imac. The existing Apple TV being a warm-up, an exercise- 'a hobby project' as Jobs called it.

    Many people turn on their TVs in the morning, to catch the weather, traffic and general news. Siri integration would allow easy news searching, leaving messages for family members, review diary items. Typing is not a chore, but having a wireless keyboard floating around the living room / kitchen is. I say kitchen because this wont be everybody's primary set - not at 37 inches.

    It's Job's 'Digital Hub' again.

    So why this, and not just an Apple TV box plumbed into a Sony? Guess: The integration of a microphone, possibly camera for face time, and sheer neatness.

    1. Anthony Shortland

      i'd say 37 is too big for the kitchen, and too small for the living room. The only real place for a 37 these days is the bedroom.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, that's what my missus tells me too.

  18. Sean Baggaley 1

    Siri on a TV could be tricky.

    Not least because Siri only supports a tiny minority of languages. (Hell, Nuance still have trouble with many British dialects, and that's where the bloody English language *came* from, damn it! Until I can speak Geordie or Cornish at a computer and have it understand me, speech recognition is most emphatically _not_ here. And that's before we touch on languages like Italian and Slovak.)

    Another problem is that speech recognition services like Siri require a back-end, cloud-based service to process the voice commands. That means your Apple TV would _require_ an internet connection. It wouldn't be optional.

    Finally, while noise-cancelling microphone arrays can eliminate the problem of the TV programme itself inadvertently 'commanding' the TV to do something, there's still the rather annoying matter of people having to shout at their TV to make it do something. Good luck with that if you have a family with kids.

  19. Kwac
    FAIL

    Depressed

    "One of Steve Jobs' final ambitions was to revolutionise television"

    Thank gods I thought - no more drab dramas with whinging Londoners/Scousers/Geordies.

    No more crap dancing/ice-skating contests with has beens to try and add a touch of 'excitement. No more endless repeats .

    Having realised its just a TV set that is being 'revitalised' and we'll still be fetting the same old shite, what's to look forward to?

  20. Richard Boyce
    Go

    New category of article

    Along with Hardware, Software etc story categories, we evidently need a new one - Apple Rumours.

  21. Chris 171
    Devil

    Can't see it...

    Probably because I'm looking at it wrong or something..

    The modern TV is the last bastion of a man and his settings, not that I'd ever get an apple one. I like being able to change the contrast.

    In any case, in reality its just another shop window to the 30% margin that is itunes, that's all idevices are these days, a credit card interface.

  22. Alfred

    North Korean TVs are fantastically simple

    All hardwired to one station, leaving a need for two points of UI only - an on/off switch, and a volume knob that looked like it could be operated but I never saw actually being used. Presumably once the volume is correct, there's no need to adjust it.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Bravo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DPRK radios are even simpler

      Alfred,

      DPR Korean kitchen radios are even simpler by the fact they are permanently on and you can only change the volume. The only reason when they are off is when the power is down, or its between the waking-up time at 0600 and bedtime at 0000.

      Note: In Pyongyang, there are three TV channels.

  23. Nigel Steward

    ITV

    An interesting name.

    Hopefuuly Apple will be at the wrong end of an action by ITV:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITV

    for passing off etc...

  24. Ali on the Reg

    Never Mind Apple's TV Killer

    I have Apple's PC killer - it's called iTunes and it pretty much breaks your PCs legs

  25. phatstorage
    WTF?

    What with freeview gaining mass, also ps3 and smart tv sets getting online playbacks, I'm wondering what apple will have to offer over what is already around us.

    Even youview from talktalk seems it'll be giving us a product that we already have (freeview and online players), but with additional tv archive access which is the elite selling point, but you will need to pay monthly subscriptions for that bit.

    I do wonder If anyone will care about merging everything into one unit with one controller for a price, That's all I really see it as.

    And how much more will these 37"apple tvs cost over a 50" lg that can do everything except the unwanted apple part?

  26. Mark 75

    Does this mean that iTV will be as crap as ITV?

  27. Hollow
    FAIL

    32 and 27" iMac anyone?

    As per the title really. Are Apple really going to outdo Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Sony and the likes, who've been making these things for decades? We have 3 Samsung Smart TVs in our house, all 3 have wireless, iPlayer, Freeview built in etc. etc. No doubt Apple will hold their usual ridiculous price tag, that only zealots and the idiotic will pay for, so what exactly is this going to do to "crack" TVs? The only thing I can imagine, is literally a 32 and 37" imac, complete with mouse and keyboard, but also comes with a handy remote shaped thing, that no doubt they'll aim to patent, because no one has ever used one of those before!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Since

      That was exactly what was said before the iPhone launch - that Apple couldn't outdo the incumbents I wouldn't put money against them going it again.

  28. Katz
    Happy

    Apple TV...

    I have a feeling I know where this is going, I've been quite into set top box design myself over the years and I have a feeling the debate whether it is a set top box or a tv in itself is not so relevant, I have a feeling it is the user experience and content that is more important. If it amazes people and gives people what they want, or didn't even realise they wanted (as Apple seems rather adept to) it will take off.

    I have this inkling that the Siri voice assistant isn't just going to be thrown to a mobile device, I have a strong feeling that this box/tv could be gesture controlled i.e to activate or have it listen and then voice control a'la Siri style to have it record your favourite series, change channel etc. Imagine just sitting on your couch waving your arm then saying "record the whole series of Top Gear". Then imagine waving your arm and saying "search internet for... <such and such>. Couple this technology in something that looks really smart and with 1 or 2 other little tricks under its sleeve, you have a very interesting box or tv with an apple logo. Perhaps this is where the iCloud comes in, store your bought tv/movies watch them on your Apple TV or iPhone etc.

    In these cases, perhaps the Apple TV .... is both. A set top box option or a TV, maximises the market potential.

  29. Anthony Shortland
    FAIL

    downfall of apple?

    This could be the first apple product to spectacularly flop in many years (they didnt make a big deal out of the other apple tv devices so I'm ignoring those).

    Based on the rumours we know of it so far -

    tv's will only be 32 or 37" - seriously who wants tv's that size now other than for bedrooms?

    siri interface - didnt they ought to concentrate on getting siri itself working better in other regions first? I hear it struggles even with some southern state american accents!

    kinetic style interface - hello microsoft lawyers!

    available content - can we really see apple providing an interface to other peoples (ie terrestrial/satelite) content? highly unlikely - more likely we're talking about bt vision style streaming where they control all the content. But how is that going to work with so many people with sub-par broadband still??

  30. unitron
    Coat

    okay, if not iTV...

    ...then maybe iVision or iSight.

    I'm pretty sure they'll take a pass on iBall.

    It's the one with the iOpener I thought about getting and hacking years ago stuffed in the big side pocket.

  31. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Meh

    Direct to surplus

    The original Macintosh TV was released when Apple was trying to maintain outrageous profit margins while having no justifying technical innovations. A TV hack was added to the "Performa" series of Macintoshes which, despite the clever name, was probably the poorest performing computer series that you could throw a heavy wad of cash at. As was then, Mr. Jobs is not leading Apple and here comes a rumor of another TV product. Surplus stores are probably freeing up shelf space right now.

    1. Armando 123

      Given the timeline for product development, I'm fairly certain this was in development when Jobs was still there.

  32. spanish-chef

    Streaming from iTunes flawless

    I became a self-confessed Apple fan during one of those sleepless CISSP boot-camps where I met a god few IT security specialists (including some from anti-terrorism etc. As a treat to myself for passing I bought myself a macbook pro and, some 6 years later I find myself using it daily with no issues whatsoever to date. Encouraged by this I invested in an iMac for the business I set up and when it came to this year's Christmas present, my wife who runs IT for one of the big four accountancy practices decided to get me something Apple and bought me the Apple TV (second incarnation without a HD in it). Another of her presents was a DVD which came with a watch-anywhere thing in the sleeve, allowing me to import it to iTunes. Last night we watched the film streaming from the mac upstairs and it was incredible! Not a single jitter and incredible sound . OK, the sound element I put partly down to the fact she spent several thousand pounds on the hi-fi which she built up over a few years, preferring to have to listen to a top-notch valve amplifier until she could afford similar grade speakers. But I must say I was astonished at the AppleTVs performance and with iCloud I can now use it to access my extensive music film and photo library (built up over many years on 35mm slides that I scanned professionally to a digital format).

    I know there are many who like to ah Apple products but I have tried a number of streaming products and none come even close to the quality of this device!

    1. B4PJS
      Devil

      WHS 2011 to either PS3 or Xbox 360 works flawlessly for me via DNLA.

      It even allowed great quality streaming to my hotel in Menorca (via browser) when I was on holiday. Bet iTunes can't do that...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @spanish-chef

      Cool story bro. Sorry but your message is the first from your account. Smells of sockpuppetry.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Spanish Chef

      Oi, this is the comments section of El Reg... we don't do willy-waving threads here, thank you very much.

  33. AdamSweetman
    Stop

    But what does it actually bring to the table that is 'new'?

    Apple are off their heads if they think the content producers didn't observe what iTunes did for album sales, unbundling single shows in a way which as as convenient for the consumer as sitting down to a full subscriptions 'warts and all' package? Not likely.

    Television channel subscriptions are propped up on an 80/20 model, you only really want the 20% that's in your viewing interest, the rest of the channel content is subbed from the premium shows. This is how the business model works, now, if you do give people the ability to easily only pick the 20% from a few channels without paying the 100% sub cost you will drive the business model revenues into the floor overnight.

    Bypass the network and go straight to the content producers? Oh wait, they are so intimately linked (via the rear entrance) they are effectively the same companies. TV show production, pick-up and syndication is a vastly different ballgame to movies, they only person who is interested in taking a slice of the revenue pie here is Apple, what's in it for the incumbents?

    Look at what happened to Google TV, if Google couldn't get a toe in, what the hell makes people think Apple can?

    So what are you left with, hardware differentiation? well guess what, TVs arn't actually that broke that they need fixing, yes you can do voice or gesture, but that's about it, margins are razor thin, innovation pathways are already patented to death and shifting the market is hideously expensive and has a lead time of 5 years.

    Will some people pay 3x the price for a white Apple TV that does practically the same as a Samsung set? Unfortunately yes, will it bring revolutionary content, experience, usability? Highly unlikely.

  34. Mike Flex

    @John A Blackley

    > "Flame Apple And Steve Jobs Here"

    Hey, don't forget we need to flame the fanbois as well.

    (I can imagine the press coverage now of the first fanboi staggering from an Apple shop at midnight with his Itv and the black shirted staff clapping him on his way.)

  35. richard 7

    Just a thought.

    Most phone users dont care about what their phone does as long as it makes calls and have lots and lots of sparkly extra bits, remeber we are talking about general public here NOT it professionals. Most professionals using a mac/pc do so for a reason. Home users, not so much.

    So apple gets away with being revolutionary and for intents and perposes, putting flashy new bits on old stuff that someone else designed and selling it as just good enough to do the job its intended to and is noprmally behind the curve. Apple dont actually innovate that much in terms of the underlying tech and this is why we get the huge lists of missing features from time to time. On top of that they have a tendencay to charge for the brand in ways that fasion retailers would love to get away with. Not being controversial or bashing Apple, thats what they do, and they are actually good at it.

    However there are two people that buy TVs in my mind. The 'Just have to have a TV' lot, who will still go and buy a Teknika POS from Tesco no matter what Apple do. And the people that take AV seriously, who will look at that missing spec list, look at the fact its basically a pig in lipstick and will walk on by. The difference being these are people who KNOW what they want and flashy lights isnt going to work in this market. Virgin have the Tivo now, but now look at the abortions that predated that. Sky just about managed to get it right third time round. Google never did. Microsoft seem to have just accepted its not happening and countless others have tried this and these are set top boxes. Now apple are saying they will tell you what display you are going to use too? No chance I think this is another crash and burn excercise.

    Besides, if its over 19" they wont be able to ship it without breaking it :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Virgin have the Tivo now, but now look at the abortions that predated that. Sky just about managed to get it right third time round. "

      Sky's behaviour on this is even weirder than usual. Afaik they owned the UK rights to the TiVo technology. Judging from what they did with them, they bought them simply to stop anyone else getting them. And then they sat on them. When the Sky deal eventually expired, Virgin paid up. I suppose it must have made sense to Emperor Murdoch somehow.

    2. Jim in Hayward
      Thumb Down

      Funny. Amazon, Best Buy, etc. manage to ship 55" TV's with no problem. Apple bashers. You are a funny lot!

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Shame MS

      I firmly believe that MCE was/is one of the best things MS ever did.

      Excellent interface for TV and video watching especially PVR and time shifting.

      The biggest problem with MCE is the lack of a wonderful piece of reference hardware to have the shiny shiny impact when buying it. Thus leaving the best installs to the custom PC crowd.

      1. richard 7

        MCE

        is easilly one of their best creations, however its all going a bit wrong. 2005 was pretty awesome and bar a few niggles was great. Upgraded my little Foxconn MCE to 7 and its no where near as polished as 2005 was. They seem to have lost their way with it a little.

  36. Quinch
    Angel

    Is anybody counting...

    ...how many revolutionary projects the Turtleneck Saint must have been working on right before he keeled over so far? A cynical mind might suspect a play to drum up a little extra hype for whatever new widget Marketing is hoping to wheel out.

    {Cashing in on a famous stiff? Perish the thought!}

  37. Tatsky
    Joke

    A pron disaster

    So from the comments we have managed to develop a:

    - 37" TV, suitable for bedroom usage (too big for kitchen, too small for living room)

    - Siri voice control

    - Movement/Gesture control and activation

    - Built in camera for Face Time

    Can anyone else see the potential for embarassing bedroom escapades?

    I can pucture it now. Steamy scene in the bedroom, legs waving around all over, and groans of "Who's your daddy". Siri picks up "Phone Daddy", click, Face time, boom, Shame!

    What.... Just me?

  38. S2S
    FAIL

    ffffffffffffffffffail

    Apple fail Apple fail Apple fail Apple fail

    1. Armando 123

      Thank you for such a well-written, well-thought-out, erudite, sophisticated analysis of the topic at hand. Here's a cookie, now go back to you government paper-pushing.

  39. KirstarK

    32 and 37" ????? how small ??????

    And you can guess at the price as well. You could probably pick up a 60" high end display fot the price of the 32"

    It will have appple fittings and pay per view model for all channels.

  40. Grubby

    Looks good

    Will there be an ITV+1 because I always miss Poirot...

    On a serious note, Apple have been successful in grabbing a rapidly expanding market and adding to it (well, removing from it and adding to the price). The TV market is actually decreasing, people tend not to change their home appliances as often as their gadgets, the life expectancy of a phone or mp3 player is far far less than a TV in teh home so I'd be surprised if people went out and bought them in theri droves so it'll be more of a long term plan. So apple will have to be prepared for a good 18 - 24 month spell before i think, not the ooh apple have a new toy, followed by a billion sales to students.

  41. The Original Steve

    Will have to be bloody good

    Xbox 360 and/or PS3 and a media PC... Done.

    Loads of on demand content, music subscription for a tenner a month plus gorgeous UI.

    Just add a harmony remote

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too small

    These TV's are too small to be useful. I'm surprised anyone buys anything less than a 42 incher these days unless it's for the kitchen or a place where space is limited.

    1. Handel was a crank

      People who have better things to spend their money on.

      My 32" in our reasonably large living room is plenty large enough, I can see enough detail from my usual viewing location. In fact I find those who have 60" screens on the wall of their tiny Victorian terrace or modern starter home utterly ridiculous and you end up with a cricked neck watching them because they require a viewing angle of nearly 45 degrees.

      In fact most people I know don't have anything above about 36".

      It doesn't make the programs any less shit either way.

  43. Enrico Vanni

    I saw Samsung and Sharp and my first thought was April fool 4 months and 2 days too early.

  44. Rubbernuke

    Siri would be quite cool for a TV:

    ''Siri, switch to Babestation please...fap...fap....fap....''

  45. Homer 1
    WTF?

    "revolutionise television"?

    If Apple really wants to "revolutionise television" it should start by finding some decent programmes to replace the diabolical crap that passes for entertainment today.

    My next concern would be the inevitable DRM crap on most STBs that prevents transporting recordings to other devices, and especially transporting Apple's DRM-encrusted crap to non-Apple devices.

    Then I'd start thinking about media codec and container support, since I have hundreds of gigabytes of music and video covering the entire spectrum of media types, very few of which are likely supported by Apple's proprietary crap.

    In fact Apple's going to have to work very hard to convince me to ditch my self-built HTPC running MythTV that:

    . Records programmes just as they're broadcast - in the clear

    . Plays every media type known to mankind

    . Plays, rips and records CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays

    . Is infinitely extensible using plugins

    . And even plays a vast selection of PC games

    . All from a nicely dumbed-down 10ft interface

    . Controlled by a programmable remote

    . Wireless mini-keyboard with built-in touchpad

    . And a DualShock gamepad

    . Oh and lest we forget, it's also a full-blown, quad-core yet cunningly energy efficient "desktop" PC that'll run, well, whatever the hell I want it to, including "productivity" apps

    So I need Apple's iTV ... why?

    Why would anyone?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The revolution...

    ... will be for the media distributors, rather than the punters.

    I'm struggling to think what else Apple can bring to the table on this one.

    Sure, you'll have a nice interface with all sorts of social sharing capabilities, I've no doubt the hardware will be pretty good (with a price tag to match), but ultimately, it'll be about distribution.

    iTunes for your TV, surf the web on it, stream your music blah blah.

    99c to stream a movie or TV show.

    100% of what will be offered will already have been done, so I figure Apple is going to make the same bet they did with the iPod - that they can do interactive TV better than anyone else.

    Touch screen controller = obvious.

    It's a big bet and I don't think they are going to pull this one off as easily.

    1. Armando 123

      Gil Scott-Heron

      lost all credibility when he sold out to a Nike commercial. Not that I thought he had a lot to begin with ...

  47. Scopes
    WTF?

    iTV/ITV?

    I think the loons running Apple will try and sue for the iTV trademark.

    They're just unhinged enough to allow their lawyers to persuade them it's worth the money to try.

  48. spanish-chef
    Thumb Up

    Sock-puppetry?

    First of all I must say I am encouraged by the fact that at least some people read these comments. I wish I could say the same for the comment to my earlier post. I believe my frank description of a user-experience was labelled as sock-pupperty. This was done by a user so open and honest that he (or she) takes the possibly-fitting username of anonymous coward. I accept that it is easier to destroy than it is to create; one has only to look at the state of many nations' financial affairs for evidence of this. I would however like to assure the author of that reposte that my line of work is certainly not with Apple and my chosen nickname is far closer to the mark. I took the time to add this comment on my very favourable experience with the device after reading numerous posts reflecting a unilateral view. I would have thought that the sales for Apple products and indeed the "stickiness" of so many to choose to purchase more products from the same manufacturer are for me a telling sign of quality. I do not feel so many people can be fooled so often by what a few people (possibly with too much time on their hands and too little to fill it with,) would probably refer to as some mass hypnosis or delusion. My background is a BSD/DEC/Linux one though I happily make use of technologies from Apple, MS and many others. Many thanks and please do not reply - there is nothing worse than a thread that gets lost in tangents.

  49. Shaun Sheppard

    Our tv only has one hdmi input, so we have to switch it when we want to switch from sky, to playing a DVD, or to switching a device that can stream from our media server.

    It would be great if all this could be done in one device, with one remote and one interface.

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