Podcast Audio | Posted by Phil Leigh on February 4, 2009
If you would like to learn how Apple can better participate in Third Generation Television, this audio program is for you.
Apple TV is only a modest success because it provides limited access to Internet Video. Essentially, users are restricted to videos available at the iTunes store. Although most podcasts are free, TV shows and movies must be rented or purchased at prices ranging from $2 to $15.
Once consumers realize that they can connect an ordinary laptop computer to a flat panel TV and thereby gain access to TV shows for free at ad-supported sites like www.hulu.com, they’ll have virtually no interest in Apple TV. Furthermore Apple’s product costs $230 whereas Windows laptops are sometimes priced as low as $300 – $400. In short, the laptop computer as Media Controller for flat panel TVs has the potential to become the next Killer App. The trend should become evident this year.
Apple’s other shot at the emerging Internet-Video-to-TV market is the Mac Mini. While standard Apple laptops are $1,000 or more the two Mac Mini models, at $600 and $800 respectively, are more competitively priced. However, Mac Minis has several disadvantages relative to Windows computers.
First, they have only about half the RAM of Windows laptops costing half as much.
Second, they lack HDMI sockets. Thus, getting Internet Video on the television via a Mac Mini requires special adapter cables for the video and a separate one for the audio.
Third, a number of popular Internet Video applications and websites, like the Netflix Watch Instantly library, are not optimized for Apple’s Safari web browser.
In short, Apple needs to make some changes if it hopes to compete effectively in the Internet-Video-to-TV market.
One way is to introduce a new product to compete with lower priced Windows laptops for the TV Media Controller application.
Without such a product, the Mac Mini is Apple’s best candidate for the Media Controller application but it needs to be enhanced in a number of ways.
First it needs HDMI sockets.
Second, to avoid a price cut the Mac Mini needs a creative media interface that might look something like the one from Boxee.
Third, it could benefit from more memory.
Fourth, Apple should assist websites with popular Internet Video to become interoperable with Safari, or work them into the hypothetical interface noted in our second point.
Fifth, the company should vigorously promote the Media Controller concept featuring (a reconfigured) Mac Mini. Such promotion should be abundant online instructional videos explaining how to arrange the set-up.
To learn more about Third Generation Television, click here where you can purchase a copy or our research report or download a free Synopsis and Table-of-Contents.