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September 16, 2006

Apple Announces Wireless Service to View Downloaded Content on TV Sets

My last two posts have focused on the biggest content-related announcements from the major Apple news coming out of this week, first with the announcements of movies being available on iTunes and then with the announcement of upgrades on the amount of casual gaming content available for iPod users.

However, the announcement that came out of Tuesday's press conference that appears to have the Internet most abuzz is the public release of the new iTV product, Apple's new wireless product set for release sometime in early 2007 that will allow viewers to transfer television and film content from iTunes onto their television sets.

The product is set to cost $300 bucks. Mathew Honan and Peter Cohen over at Macworld provide an easy-to-read account of how the technology works, with iTV being a digital box for the television set that would stream content from the computer using a wireless network.

And, although some may consider the compliments directed toward Apple and Steve Jobs to border on hyperbole, Arik Hesseldahi from BusinessWeek provides a comprehensive account of what this means for transferring digital content to the television and both why Apple is leading this initiative and why it is a benefit to have a company like Apple leading the way, considering their phenomenal track record in this regard.

Hesseldahi writes, "Apple is certainly not the first to try to build a product that crosses the great consumer electronics divide between the TV and all that digital video and audio content taking up ever-larger sections of PC hard drives. Others have sought to cross it, most have failed. I don't expect the same from Apple." (Again, as with the last story, I promise the comma splices aren't mine, Dr. Schneider.)

Hesseldahi breaks down the reasons he thinks Apple's leadership is crucial, including the importance of ease-of-use, the key core attributes for Apple, and Apple's track record at garnering significant amounts of content for its services.

Perhaps even more illuminating, though, than Hesseldahi's shrewd analysis of the situation is the wide array of topics brought up in the comments section, including complaints about DRM and how they might affect the technology and questions about whether such a service will eventually replace cable television subscriptions, since shows could just be bought on a want-to-see basis offline and then streamed into the TV.

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