∞ Analyst: Apple expected to make an HDTV in 2-4 years

Apple has entered the consumer marketplace with several products, but one analyst expects the company to delve even deeper into the market with a connected-HDTV. In a research note sent to clients on Tuesday, Piper Jaffray Senior Research Analyst, Gene Munster said Apple is well positioned to enter the television market. Munster said the reason Apple would enter the market is simple — money Home entertainment is a $31.8 billion business.

“As connected TVs proliferate the integration of hardware, software and content will become a key selling point for TVs,” wrote Munster. “We believe Apple is uniquely positioned to combine these elements at competitive prices ($2,000) for an Apple-branded TV.”

While Apple does have a great content delivery system with iTunes, it is lacking the live TV feature that satellite and cable companies offer. Munster believes Apple could overcome that with a subscription service priced between $50-$90.

“Apple’s ability to deliver hardware, software and content that could replace an entire entertainment system with a single TV puts the company in a unique position for the emerging connected TV cycle,” said Munster. “And with a device ecosystem of over 74m iPhones and iPod touches sold (as of Dec-09), Apple could bring portability to the TV industry.”

  • Apple already makes a "TV." It's the 27" iMac. It just doesn't have a Cable or OTA tuner.

  • Dang it! Does that mean I'll have to wait another 4 years before buying an HDTV?!? How many times has this rumor popped up?!?

  • drh

    I would buy it tomorrow, its the attention to detail Apple applies to the UI of devices that would sway me.

    The current UI's we have to use from TV, DVR and other Media devices is so bastardised and fragmented, I would welcome some Apple magic dust dropped on the industry.

    The BBC in the UK is trying to bring in some commonality to address this issue with an open standard called "Project Canvas".

  • Ron

    Outstanding prediction. It's just far enough in the future that by the time it turns out to be wrong, no one will remember. But if the flipped coin winds up on its edge this time, and it actually happens, he'll dredge that up and saw "Lookee, I was right!"

  • I don't think this is as far fetched as Shawn believes it to be. Besides the gorgeous iMac's on the market now, Apple has the 24 & 30" Cinema displays too. Is it really that much of a leap to speculate they would build 40 – 50 inch or more, TV's in the near future? I just bought a 24" Cinema display & bought an iMac back in the Fall, and the quality of the displays on both are simply stunning!

    Considering that Apple has focused more and more on consumer electronics and not just computers over the last few years, it seems logical that this market, coupled with a subscription service, would be a venue that they would seriously think about. This would vault the Apple TV from being just a "hobby" into the serious entertainment delivery hub many of us have always hoped to see it aspire to. The fact that the device is still supported and updated via software gives me the impression that Apple does have big plans for it in this vain.

    Obviously, I could be wrong and might be called out for missing on taking some doses of my medications as well, but thats what's fun and interesting about making a prediction that seems sound based on a logical progression of thinking given some of the facts that we know. Granted, we don't know all the facts nor at what level if any that Apple's R&D might be allocated for this, but I think Gene's thought process is sound and it seems a very logical progression in Apple's continued foray into the consumer electronics market.

    Time will tell!

  • GHR

    Well who knows but I reckon that if they wait 2-4 years, they might have missed the boat but the biggest thing for them to figure out is still the issue of overpriced content from iTunes. Having said all that, I would buy one tomorrow.

  • Sorry but the (formerly) spot on Gene Munster must be off his meds. Not a chance Apple will develop their own TV. I don't even think they would have someone make it and simply brand it as an Apple TV.

  • Bob Douglass

    Let's see- iPad for the ultimate remote control; incredible software for classic 'ease of use'; a great working relationship with LG electronics; a deep interest in all-things digital in the home; a giant server farm being built to stream content…

    I think Munster is exactly correct, although I believe sooner rather than later, we will see an Apple TV

  • This is a nonsense, unfocused article about what Apple should do.

    If Apple was going to do what the article proposes, then it is FAR SIMPLER for Apple to simply BUY SONY.

    Think about it: Apple can buy controlling interest in Sony for only $19 Billion dollars – out of its $40 Billion in cash.

    With this one purchase, Apple gets key assets in multiple markets: 1. Televisions. Sony already makes world-class HDTVs. Sony has its own LCD foundaries. 2. Audio. Sony makes audio equipment. 3. Video. Sony makes video equipment. 4. Photographic Equipment. Sony makes world-class cameras. Sony makes its own video chips – used in Nikon, Canon, and other photo equipment companies. 5. Electronic CPUs and Chips. Sony has its own chip foundaries. 6. Movies. Sony owns one of the big movie houses – Columbia Pictures. 7. Music. Sony owns Columbia Music – one of the big music houses. 8. Personal Computers. Sony makes PCs – laptops, etc. 9. Console Games. Sony makes the Playstation and Playstation Portable.

    With a Sony purchase, Apple has the digital media rights to go into its own iPad, iPods, and iPhones. They would have more leverage to gain access to other movie studio's media and music media. Heck, Apple would be in those industries itself.

    It would be EASY for Apple to then add its Mac OS X to the entire Sony line.

    Apple can then also PRUNE SONY to remove useless lines – similar to the simplification Steve Jobs did to Apple's Mac line.

    Apple can simplify the Television, Audio, Video, Camera equipment lineup so that Sony would be profitable again, for example, as an APPLE SUBSIDIARY.

    Apple, for example, could remove the entire PC line and replace it with Macs. Much of the portable audio line can be removed and replaced by the iPod. The TV lineup can be simplified to LCD TVs.

    It would be a huge opportunity to remake Sony into a profitable subsidiary of Apple. Apple would then also become the number one consumer electronics company in Japan, then the rest of Asia – including China. It would be a huge market grab – all within the reach of Apple.