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Apple TV set discussions hint DVR integration, gestures

updated 08:50 pm EST, Sun December 18, 2011

Apple TV may go beyond voice with DVR link, motion

New leaks from within Apple's media talks have hinted that the long-rumored Apple TV set may go beyond just voice commands. The sources for the Wall Street Journal had the set responding also to "movements," hinting at a motion system like Microsoft's Kinect or the Nintendo Wii remote. Development has also supposedly been underway for uniting DVR storage with iCloud, hinting that a user might stop watching a regular broadcast TV show on the set itself and then pick it up later on an iPhone or a computer.

As widely expected, it would also lean on Apple's existing digital ecosystem. AirPlay would let users easily push media directly to the TV, instead of having to go through the Apple TV media hub of today. Apple has long been been rumored gauging the reaction to an iTunes subscription TV service, but one contact described this as still "exploratory." The late Steve Jobs was supposedly in meetings during 2010 to talk about what rights could be had.

Whether or not it would pick up traditional TV isn't completely certain, but TVs above a certain size in the US are required to carry an ATSC tuner for at least over-the-air HDTV. As such, it would have little reason to hold back given what its rivals have and how reluctant content providers are to accept the Internet for TV.

Discussions have supposedly picked up in the past few weeks between Apple Internet Services Senior VP Eddy Cue and media heads, indicating that the company is going forward. Earlier rumors had a TV set arriving in late 2012 or early 2013, but these weren't corroborated in the new tip.

Despite having said that he "finally cracked it" regarding easy-to-use TVs, Jobs is believed to have been fully aware of the problems coming an Apple-made TV. He supposedly told a managerial briefing in Carmel that it would be a "bad business" to make a TV as Apple would have to both run on lower profit margins and accept that viewers won't buy frequently. Where Apple can often assume its customers are ready to buy every two to four years, most TVs are kept for several years and might slow down Apple's quick update cycle.

Jobs and Apple might have been keen to head off Google. Although Google TV is struggling to get any support in the current climate, company chairman Eric Schmidt has claimed that most TVs will use Google TV by summer. Still considered an important device by many, the move could see Google take de facto control of the smart TV market, even if many of its customers don't actually seek out Google TV or use any of its special features.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The problems

    Speaking as someone who works for a cable company here in Canada, I think that unfortunately there's a lot of reasons that Tivo was pretty well dead soon after it arrived and Apple TV will most likely be as well. Firstly, I know up here all TV is pretty well done through digital boxes. Unless Apple can work out a deal where AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Shaw, Telus, Rogers, and so on and so forth, all allow their TV to act as one of the company's set top boxes, then control of the channels is always going to be done by the set top box not by the TV itself. Now, had this come out ten years ago, that might have been a different story. People back then were mostly just using coax to the TV.

    Right now Analogue channels are the past, Apple is known for always focusing on the future. My guess is that either they're bypassing the cable companies, or they have worked out deals with at least a few major cable companies in order to allow for this. If they've done that then it's amazing how little the cable companies have let slip.

    My guess is that you're not going to be able to change the channel using Siri. Either that or Apple is going to announce that the TV has a built in digital tuner that supports both standard IPTV and digital cable signals, and that they'll gladly allow you to purchase it through any cable provider who signs on, and then let the cable company's call centres be inundated by calls about the set.

  1. facebook_Pete

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011



    Did you just step into the 21st century from the 80's? That last part of your comment is what has been actually happening the past few years. People has been abandoning cable services for IPTV and iTunes contents. Hulu is an example of IPTV which is by far much cheaper than cable services. Soon your job is gonna become a dying market within the next 5 years because IPTV is growing very fast.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    When I hear the term DVR,

    I've got my ears perked. I didn't think Apple would allow any sort of recording device for its media content. For some strange reason, i like the idea of recorded shows sitting there waiting to be watched since I usually watch a string of recorded shows at once.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I will get one if ...

    it makes finding content easy.
    Trying to navigate through a cable company set-top box is a pain.
    For instance, U-verse uses Windows CE for the OS and there is always a slight delay when pressing a control. Not much but enough where it becomes annoying. And trying to find a show is a joke. They want you to enter text with the remote! And if you want to use one of the 'special' features like multi-view, you have to wait while Windows loads the program. It they were forward thinking, they would use an OS that multitasks so these types of applications could be ready immediately.

  1. swSteve

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mr Salty - Voice of Canadian CableTV

    He sure did just step out of the 1980's.

    Canadian CableTV is a basically a monopoly owned

    almost entirely by Rogers and some other players like Shaw.

    Rogers staffs it's boardroom with ex-Prime Ministers

    and dictates policy to the government, which is exactly why

    there is no requirement for CABLE CARDS in Canada.

    That's why Canadians can't use their HD-digital-cable ready HDTVs with Cable.

    That's why Canadians can't use their HD-digital-cable ready TiVos with Cable.

    And as an added insult, (Unlike in the USA) there is no requirement whatsoever

    for Canadian Cable companies to make local HD broadcast channels available

    in HD on unencrypted QAM. Everything is encrypted to force you to use a cable box.

    That's why Canadians have no choice but to use

    Cable Boxes that look like 1980's video games, but don't perform quite as well.

    TiVo and AppleTV are light years ahead of those set-top boxes.

    But they will not enjoy any success while the Communications-Industrial-Complex

    remains entrenched in Canada.

    Pay no attention to that guy.


  1. macvette

    Joined: Dec 1969


    PLEASE add DVR functionality

    Ever since Google purchased and shut down SageTV, I've been looking for good alternatives to SageTV. At this point, there aren't any. I'm currently an AppleTV owner and would definitely upgrade if Apple added DVR functionality that could record HD shows from Comcast. I'd actually prefer if Apple stuck with the little black box instead of a full fledged TV. Let me pick my own TV and Apple can help with the content.

  1. efithian

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If Apple could combine the features of the AppleTV with EyeTV and make the playback software so it works without stuttering, we would have a solution. An A6 would be able to handle HD playback and recording. Built-in software to run a cable box remotely would solve most of the problems with customers who prefer having 1000 channels of c***. Extra EyeTV units connected to a MacMini would expand the ability to record several shows at once, including ATSC.

  1. trenchcoat77

    Joined: Dec 1969


    TWC is in the 80s

    Time Warner Cable is the one still stuck in the 80s. Cable cards do not work with any on-demand channels. While the HBO Go app is terrific, it only works if you have Road Runner, their internet service. Anybody else is out of luck. Their DVRs last a few months, before the hard drive gets glitchy and starts freezing or losing shows. Their DVR software looks like it was programmed by the Soviet Union in the 80s. It crashes about every other day. I really hope Apple has made deals with these cable companies like they did with the record labels, or else a new Apple TV will appeal only to those who have abandoned cable. (While this is a growing number, it is still very much a minority, and comprised of techno-savvy people with fast internet service. In other words, not our parents.)

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    swSteve, in one word, you're a @#@$!@. I wasn't saying I don't want an Apple branded TV set, I wasn't wishing them ill, I was simply stating that there are a million ways in which TV is transmitted, and it will be incredibly difficult for Apple to manage to adhere to all the standards out there.

    Also Hulu is generally referred to as a streaming service. When people talk about IPTV they generally are talking about the sort of TV service that telephone companies are providing.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    doesn't matter

    It'll sell well to the fanboys, regardless of how easy it is to use (msuper69, I'm not sure how you think Apple is going to make searching easier, I guess they'll want you to use your iOS device to do the typing rather than a remote, there's more money for people to spend!).

    The question is whether it will be anything more than just what the black box is now. Few are going to care about 'voice control'. It has never taken off, not because the tech isn't there, but because who wants to speak their way through tv channels and shows and such. The same reason people still type than try to recite their text to their computers (except for the small percentage who figured out how to get dragon or the like actually to work and are also bad at or incapable of typing).

    And I find it hard to believe Apple would offer anything that wouldn't push the user to their iTMS for content, rather than over-the-air or catv.

    But most importantly, Apple is all about 'simple'. They don't make 40 macbooks or 20 iPads. (They actually have more ipads then they should, but they didn't apparently want to have iPads that could talk both verizon and ATT). It's all part of their revenue stream. Keep the line simple. Trying to do an actual working TV (with cable or ota) would require a slew of different types for all the various countries and tv providers (the US could use CableCard and digital, but that won't work in europe and I'm sure is broken elsewhere as well). It just wouldn't be cost effective.

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