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back to article Apple telly may sport Sharp screen tech

Does it really matter if Sharp is, as one analyst claims, re-equipping one of its LCD production lines to punch out Apple-branded tellies? For punters, it doesn't matter at all. If Apple doesn't buy panels from Sharp, it'll get them from someone else, most likely Samsung and/or LG, as these companies are the largest producers of …

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Anonymous Coward

HDMI

I'm sure they can produce an HDMI device first. i.e. turn existing TV on, it switches to HDMI unput where a miracle (sorry, magical) Apple Device drives the TV.

Unless of course the TV has a Kinect like interface.

On a big set, unless Sharp have resolved panel uniformity issues, Plasma still beats LCD/LED.

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Silver badge

HDMI?

Apple already has a box you can connect to the TV via HDMI and they sell small quantities of them for what? About $120? How much profit is there in that? 30 bucks? Maybe 40?

On the other hand, if they were to take a $800 Sharp telly, stick it in a case that is dripping with apple style then they can sell it for $1300 and people will buy it in droves giving them $500 profit per device.

Just having a telly with something better than the super crappy remote controls that come with every TV made today would be worth the asking price.

Then there is the question of what extra functionality will be built in and where it is planted within the walled garden.

Knowing apple they will do something like connect it to Siri so you can use a combination of your iphone/ipad and voice control to use it while they get to log every command given to the TV to be used for marketing at you.

"Siri, I would like to watch Mythbusters" -> LOG: Goatjam likes geeky psuedo science shows, advertise their latest show to him in the itunes store the next time he logs in.

It's going to happen and people are going to lap it up.

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Coat

iPad

I didn't find the iPad a surprise at all. Probably what I use my iPad touch for the most is as a small browser/emailer with a few little apps thrown in. The iPad is just the same with a bigger screen. Handy yes; revolutionary? NO. Anyone "in the industry" surprised by it were probably only surprised because people had been jammering on about an iPod touch with a bigger screen for years, and Apple didn't seem to notice until the day they said "It's here". Anyone surprised for a different reason was asleep.

Apple Telly? Well let's see, it would probably have a screen similar to a normal TV. It would probably allow the viewing of still images and video. It may allow the viewing of things on your network / internet as well as broadcast. Nothing in that is particularly special; lots of TVs / set-tops have been doing that for years. The only thing they may have been able to do is get it hooked into a nice back-end, but LoveFilm & others have beaten them to that already.

iPod Touch / iPad: Thumbs up.

Apple Telly: Meh

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Not a bad choice TBH. I've got a Sharp TV myself and I'm thoroughly pleased with it. Sharp picture, gorgeous colours, even the tiny speakers aren't that bad compared to their peers. It's not as pretty as the others, not as slim and shiny, but it does its primary function exceedingly well.

Actually, now I think about it...that's a terrible choice. This is Apple! They should go with an early Samsumg LED panel - thin and attractive, with god-awful haloing. Then they can just tell people not to watch dark movies - what's the problem?

The funny part will, of course, be buying the exact same TV with Sharp branding for £500 less.

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Can you read a map?

"Apple's announcement in California of the iPhone entirely overshadowed the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) half a continent away in Las Vegas"

Las Vegas is only a 1 hour drive from the California/Nevada border, how the hell is that half of continental North America. Sheez who was your Geography teacher.

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This is a technology site

Anything in the USA that doesn't happen in silicon valley is at least half a continent away in their mindset...

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TV + Phone/pad control?

A interactive TV solution which uses a phone/pad as an input device instead of the rather clumsy long-reach remote control might actually work - you could have a full keyboard in your hand (as well as a range of other input options) and be able to see the TV display duplicated on your phone when you looked down (or indeed supplementary information relevant to what you're watching). As well as providing a bigger screen for video calling. It's certainly in Apple's interests to extend the walls of the iEmpire and it would make Google TV look (even more) unfinished.

Though there's still that 16:9 vs 4:3 issue...

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Silver badge

Iphone remote

The trouble with using an iphone as a remote is that you have to look at it because you cannot feel the buttons.

Using for voice command though . . . .

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Boffin

Sony - Sharp joint venture fell apart due to quality and supply problems

Sony eventually pulled out of the massive panel partnership with Sharp because of the quality issues (mura - panel uniformity) although delays and supply problems may also have been a factor (catching up with supplies in January isn't very helpful for Europe/US).

Ditching Sharp is why Sony haven't really suffered from the mura problem this year to the same extent as they did in 2010.

Sharp probably have plenty of spare capacity having lost their partner and the fact that outside Japan (where I believe that they are number 1 and they may apply higher quality standards) they have a fairly small share of the TV market in almost all other countries (7% rings a bell from when I had access to such data). If Sharp can get their act together on quality it might prove a good partnership for Apple but if I were Apple making this move I would employ enough people to check every panel module before it leaves the factory and I would also try to arrange a backup supply plan.

I still have doubts about Apple launch a TV or at least one with any broadcast capability and it will be hard to get sufficient content (particularly live) globally to make do with their IPTV services making a local set top box essential. The required level of customisation of the software at a national level to make a global TV is rather large due to different profiles of standards and particular local requirements and I don't think that Apple will do this.

I really don't see a short term global success as being likely although it is possible that Apple can line up sufficient US content to make it work in that market and that they could expand as they make partnerships in other markets.

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MJI
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What are Sony playing at with panels?

My TV is an S-LCD panel TV. I remember that the replacement model had a slightly lower spec screen.

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WTF?

Releasing a new Tv now is bonkers?

Funny, I thought there was going to be a major TV event within the next 12 months. An event that might prompt people to move to HD if they haven't already or look to buying a bigger set so they don't miss the action

I'm trying to recall what it was that's happening but nothing is RINGing a bell... Maybe I need to pass on the TORCH to someone else to fill the gaps.

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Pirate

No, Rugby World Cup isn't for another three years.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't see tv as being the next best thing but can see need for a set top box that makes tv and/or video content from a variety of sources including downloaded short term view contracted stuff as being marginally more important.

Basis:

one box to rule them, one remote control to control them all?

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Thumb Up

Apple + TV

= great news for Android, as the number of GoogleTV licencees shoots up with manufacturers desperate for cutting-edge firmware all-of-a-sudden.

Honestly I really hope they enter the TV market. It could do with a good shake-up.

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Anonymous Coward

Crystal ball gazing

All TV is driven by content, so the biggest problem should Apple actually be dipping its toe in the TV set market with a built in AppleTV type device and hence any sort of subscription model is getting country specific content. Which for the UK means negotiating with the monopoly that is Sky.

What else could they build in to a TV set? Lets try iOS 5, running on at least an A5 CPU, complete with App Store etc, controlled by iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, throw in all the features the exiting ATV has for streaming media and you might have something useful.

Will I buy one? No, despite having at least one of the potential controllers. Why? Because I'd quite happily dump my Sky HD subscription along with the TV, because it just isn't worth it for all the crap thats on there and I don't see that changing. Why don't I dump Sky? Its cheaper than the divorce that would ensue....there again...

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Agreed - content is king. I already pay for the best stuff - BBC.

Anything else is just advertising films I haven't bought on DVD yet.

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Silver badge

"net connectivity isn't driving upgrades"

Considering the ham fisted way the CE incumbents implement stuff like network connectivity that hardly comes as a surprise.

Hardware companies rarely have a clue about software (apple being the obvious exception)

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Shake up

I'm with dotdavid - the current TV market is a complacent mess. Remotes appear to be designed by demented monkeys, the sets have little to differentiate them from each other (apart from the "mine's bigger" thing) and Freeview is horrible to use and navigate, particularly on a PVR.

Most of the buttons and functions on the remote belong on the TV screen, if the GUI could be navigated easily. Linking the TV to networked audio and the computer in a simple and elegant fashion would move things along a little. (B&O have been doing some of it for years but the rest of the industry has hardly noticed.)

Although TV is content driven, it is still a BIG consumer item which gets plonked in a prominent position in the lounge, yet most of them are just idiot boxes. I'm sure if Apple come up with something worth having, it'll provoke some of the other manufacturers to wake up.

Until then I'll stick with my 4:3 Trinitron …

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sick of set top boxes

We digitised our media to get rid of clutter, we replaced our big boxed TV's for nice flt panels, now we're piled up with endless set-top boxes, Sky+, freeview HD, Wii, 360, PS3, ATV, Kinnect, DVD/DB player, media server, AV amp, all fighting for sockets etc.

Needs to be some kind of open-standard whereby you can just buy a TV that has built in storage and connectivity + plug in boards, so that you can load all of those services into a single device without all the clutter.

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Headmaster

Pedantic Factoid

"most likely Samsung and/or LG, as these companies are the largest producers of LCD panels in the world"

The largest producer is AU Optronics, it doesn't spend much on brand awareness, but it makes panels for many companies - including Apple, Samsung and LG funnily enough.

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All Apple needs to do is...

...make a TV system that doesn't require a remote control that has far too many buttons on it.

I mean, why do I have to look up in the TV guide the number for a given channel and then type that number in order to view something.

And why is the UI on STBs so damned slow?

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MJI
Silver badge

Just learn the numbers

I know the 5 I need

1 BBC1

2 or 102 BBC2

80 or (I never use it on Freesat) BBC News

108 BBC 1 HD

109 BBC HD

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Low Hanging Fruit

I love the "Journalists and readers around here may disapprove of the company, but rivals appreciate Apple's ability to successfully enter a market it wasn't previously associated with and make it it own."

The tribalism is funny. Wow, Apple do what every company wants to do a little bit better. Name me a company that would not want the levels of user satisfaction, future purchase intentions, update cycle (as in when a user will want to replace an existing device that still works) profitability etc. that Apple have.

Oh, side note; what do you call Samsung's R&D department? Apple. Anyway, low hanging fruit aside...

Plenty of failure to get the point in these comments. Yes, Apple have a record of entering a market and then owning it. iPad is example two; example one was the iPhone where as far as profitability goes, you wonder why everyone else bothers. Yes mobile market share is low, but that wasn't their primary objective, eh? They want money. Shock, horror.

Anyone who thinks that Apple do not release a product having a fairly precise idea what the next version will be, and what features it will have that will make people who purchased the first version want to buy it (even if that means artificially excluding features from a release) is silly, and anyone who doesn't think this makes sound commercial sense should not run a company.

And more often than not they get it right.

So, the Apple TV with a screen will have a high quality panel, probably with two or three size options. It will not have a lot of hardware bells and whistles other than being really easy to use and integration into AppleSpace. It will run iOS. There will be a remote control, almost certainly the standard Apple Remote. But this will not be used a lot as you will be able to say 'TV, BBC1' or whatever, and it will change the channel.

You will also be able to adjust volume, mute, call up programme guides, play anything in your iTunes library (which may become iMedia if Apple can buy or bully the name away from other users), and if it does have a HDD or can record to external devices, set recordings too. The Siri-esque user interface will allow you to tell it to "always record Top Gear on BBC2 on Sunday", or "alwats record Eastenders on BBC1 on weekdays", etc. And agreement pending, you will be able to have uTV.

Want to see Big Bang Theory, House and NCIS as they come out? No problem. Also want to get Goode Tijd, Slecht Tijd and re-runs of Bantjer? Great. C4 or BBC if you live anywhere with a decent internet connection? Of course. And you'll pay for it, and maybe get rid of another paid for service that gives you lots of stuff you don't want.

Oh, and you will be able to use some form of pointing device as a mouse for its baked in web browser, as well as an Apple Wireless keyboard or equivalent Bluetoothery.

It will also have Apple touch (not screen, user experience) feel and industrial design all over it.

As for price, I think it will be the cost of an equivalent size screen from a main manufacturer plus $500 of Apple specialness.

And it will sell. mainly because complexity of remotes has reached a point where they are universally shite. If you don't find remotes complex, I bet there is one person in your household or family who does.

And if we engage stereotype mode for a moment, the keeper of the household budget will spring $1,000 on a new TV that is easy to use and pretty before they spring $500 on something else.

And new Apple gear is better than old other gear, so many an Applephobe will drink from the Cidercup....

PS; not a Fanboi, have an iPhone but everything else is Windows... but I know good business sense when I see it.

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Anonymous Coward

but what will really make an Apple television stand out will be.... the fairy bits like blowing on you ipad to transfer content between screens...and the usual bollox that attracts that fairy type.

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Boffin

Lots of buttons mandatory for Freeview

The spec includes a large minimum set of buttons to support the MHEG red button services. Admittedly the manufacturers do add their own buttons on top of varying value.

With regards to what Sony do for panels it's a mixture. They are still taking their share from S-LCD (half of S-LCD but S-LCD is only half of the lines at the factory, the other half are Samsung lines) but also other panels on the open market.

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Are you sure about that?

My DTT tuner for my PC doesn't come with a remote and doesn't have any buttons on it. Is this not something that's part of a suggested implementation guide?

I can't see any reason why you couldn't make the buttons on-screen "soft" buttons that you could get up by pressing a single button on the remote. OK, not especially ergonomic, but you get the general idea.

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