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Wednesday, 13 September 2006 09:17

Apple iTV provides missing link to the armchair

Forget your new iPods, forget even the elegant new iTunes movie downloads service, for my money the big announcement of the day has to be Apple's iTV device. For US$299, Apple has come up with something that has been sorely needed for some time a seamless link from the home computer to the TV set.

While the workings of iTV may not be exactly clear just yet, the intent of Apple surely is. What Steve Jobs and company intend to provide through a book sized device that connects to the TV, including high definition TVs, is a wireless connection from the PC, using the 802.11 standard, that will enable users to easily stream downloaded videos to their TV set.

This is an infinite improvement on the suggestion from the Amazon Unbox page: "In most cases, connecting your computer to your television is as simple as using an s-video connection. S-video is a standard 4-pin video connection available on most televisions and video cards. S-video only transfers the video image, so you will also need to connect the audio out port on your computer to external speakers or to a home stereo system."

Clearly not many would-be movie downloaders will want to go to that trouble and Apple knows this, which is why it has come up with iTV.

Unlike Microsoft, which has unsuccessfully tried to force the world to put PCs in the living room, Apple has taken the more pragmatic approach of connecting the living room to the PC or Mac using a device that acts as a wireless router for videos. Then an Apple remote control can be used to access the movie and music content streamed from the computer to the TV through the router.

What happens with sound is not exactly clear but it would be fair to assume that the iTV will also connect to a home sound system.

We will not see iTV until the first quarter of 2007 and no doubt between now and then Apple will be pushing its new iTunes movie downloads service, including trying to seal deals with other studios besides Walt Disney.

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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