Apple starting to discuss specifics of new TV


Looks like Steve Jobs’ vision to change the way consumers used the computer and cellphones may soon include changing the way consumers watch TV. Before his passing in October, Jobs envisioned building a TV that would be controlled by Apple’s mobile devices to be easier to use and be more personalized.

Apple is working on its own television that relies on wireless streaming technology to access shows, movies and other content. In the recent meetings with media companies, the Apple executives, including SVP Eddy Cue, have outlined new ways Apple’s technology could recognize users across phones, tablets and TVs, according to a WSJ story.

In at least one meeting, Apple described future television technology that would respond to users’ voices and movements, a WSJ source said. Such technology, of course, would allow users to use their voices to search for a show or change channels.

Some specifics in its talks with media companies included new ways they could stream media companies’ content, allowing a user to watch a video on a TV set, then pick up another device, such as a smartphone, and keep watching the video on the move.

The TV device Apple is working on would use a version of Apple’s wireless-streaming technology AirPlay to allow users to control it from iPhones and iPads. Whether it would receive traditional broadcast or cable signals remains unclear, said the WSJ sources.

The technology could allow users to stream video from mobile devices to their TVs, without a set-top box. That process is already possible through its Apple TV set-top box, but it is cumbersome and some media companies, such as Time Warner’s HBO, prevent their apps from using the technology because they want closer control of how and where their content appears. A big concern is piracy of content.

RBR-TVBR observation: Apple is one of a number of companies, like Google and Microsoft via Xbox, trying to re-make television into a convergence of the many devices consumers use daily but that don’t currently talk to each other. Building all of that into the TV is great, sans set-top box. It seems though, that if it can incorporate voice commands for content and shows, it will win the game pretty quickly. Interfacing with cable networks and online content partners may be required, however, and that will be probably the biggest hurdle.