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Apple's announcement of a wireless set-top box, code named iTV, could represent a significant advance in the industry's 15-year quest to marry the computer and TV.
Ross Rubin, industry analysis director, The NPD Group, called the new iTV “a dramatic advance,” but noted it remains to be seen how well Apple executes on the product. Until now, he said, wireless video devices that stream video to a TV from a PC have offered less-than-stellar performance.
Most streaming video devices for the TV rely on Wi-Fi 802.11a or 802.11g, with a relatively slow throughput (54Mbps ideally, but less in actual performance) leading to interference problems, capacity problems and picture quality issues, he said. By next year however, early products running on a new 802.11n WiFi platform (at 600Mps) are expected to appear on the market and could compete with the iTV, said Rubin. Products may also enter the market using ultrawideband technology, which would also deliver improved video performance.
By Rubin's observations the iTV appears to offer an Ethernet connection and an HDMI connector for connection to high-definition TV sets. He believes the product will also support standard TV.
Apple unveiled the iTV this month at a conference in San Francisco, offering few product details. The iTV is expected to carry a $299 price for delivery in the first quarter of next year.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.