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back to article Apple said to be testing 46, 55-inch big-screen TVs

Apple's much-rumored big-screen TV effort – the one that CEO Tim Cook recently called "an area of intense interest" – is merrily cranking along in a Foxconn factory. So says a source at Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn's parent company, according to Focus Taiwan. The scuttlebutt is that tests of "several designs" of the …

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Anonymous Coward

We can at least hope this is the beginning of the end of the TV licence in the UK.

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Facepalm

Yes, because I just love adverts!

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Paris Hilton

Why, do you have TV??

"The usual rule of thumb for screen size,"

Where does that one come from anyway, and does it apply to modern flat screens and PC display units?

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Anonymous Coward

Yes and the only ads it allows are those that tell you how wonderful Apple is.

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Another rule

The rule I know is hat your fist at arms length should cover the screen. It probably maps closely to the other one but saves you using the TV as a ruler.

It comes from your brain being uncomfortable with too much movement if the angle of viewing is too large.

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Anonymous Coward

Timmay - There are as many adverts on BBC 1 (for there own content) that it'd make very little difference. Just record stuff and watch it later, or better yet just download individual episodes for a small fee and ad free.

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FAIL

Why would it be the end of the TV licence? The launch of a new brand of TV is completely irrelevant to the future funding of the BBC.

It's not that you're not entitled to your opinion on the TVL. Even when it's at odds with mine. It's that the very mention of a TV in an article that isn't about the telly tax shouldn't rationally lead to this kind of nonsense.

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@jeremyjh - upvoted. I did have to go away and assure myself that you're not the former Culture Secretary before pressing the button, though.

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Where it comes from..

In days of yore, if you walked into a US electronics store and mentioned your interest in a big screen TV, you would be given the standard lecture on what you need to replicate the movie experience at home. Apparently.. and in my humble opinion this is complete bullshit.. what you would be told is that you TV diagonal size should be the distance you sit from the TV (say 6 feet / 72 inches) divided by 2.5. Ahh those were the days when a 32" TV was considered large enough to provide a true home theatre experience.. I know 72 / 2.5 is not 32.. but you were then told you could make the experience oh-so-much more special because your TV exceed that 28.8 inch screen size you needed.

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Rumour I hear...

Looks like an ipad.

Smell that innovation!

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Trollface

Re: Rumour I hear...

Not looking forward to watching TV on a 4:3 portrait screen...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rumour I hear...

Well the Apple TV box is essentially an iPad so I imagine it could do a lot more than it does currently - the big thing being 'apps' - yes it has Netflix and Apple iTunes / cloud content which is a good start but I'd love to see iPlayer and other native apps. Before anyone says yes I do know you can Airplay most of these from an iPhone or iPad already.

If anyone has not actually used it iPhone / iPad plus Apple TV box does make a really easy to use solution and the content providers that do not allow HDMI out / Airplay will probably have to change due to user demand.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rumour I hear...

iPhone is now widescreen, guess what the next great 'innovation' from Apple will be?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rumour I hear...

Heck I buy only the old iPads if they bring on a 16:9 iPad. That is such a silly format for such a device. Looks silly on the iphone 5 too.

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Bounties

Does The Register offer bounties for rumours?

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Childcatcher

Re: Bounties

Whenever El Reg rumormongers an Apple Rumor, a Foxconn worker has to die!

PLEASE, THINK OF THE FOXCONN WORKERS!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bounties

"Whenever El Reg rumormongers an Apple Rumor, a Foxconn worker has to die!

PLEASE, THINK OF THE FOXCONN WORKERS!"

Blame Rik for being stuck in the last decade.

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Trollface

Yes, but...

they'll only play shows from iTunes, with nothing above a PG-13 rating, they'll cost six times as much as other TVs, won't hook up to non-Apple game consoles, and when they screw up, you'll have to drive across the continent to get them repaired.

Why would someone buy a bigger TV if they're just going to sit further away from it? That just seems silly.

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Bronze badge

Re: Yes, but...

"Why would someone buy a bigger TV if they're just going to sit further away from it?"

By that logic we should all have 10" TVs and sit right up close. Different people want different sizes, and for different reasons. Bragging rights are a major factor - particularly when selling to Apple fanboys.

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Pint

Re: Yes, but...

It's about being lazy and sizing or placing the TV to the room. The lazy bit is all in the eyes and a longer focal distance requires less focus and hence reduced chance of eye strain, you are supposed to be relaxing with an and tonic after all. Secondly with a small screen I used to divide the room so that part was for sitting with a book and the other part was for watching the telly but this limited the number of people who could watch the telly given the viewing angle. A larger screen means more friends can come by and watch the game because now the TV is placed to be viewed down the length of the room and not the width and all the beer chugging buddies can have a nice view without undue distortion.

Now that I'm married, I appreciate the social atmosphere of folks chatting in small groups and flitting in and out of conversations as they prance their way about the room and the large flat panel TV remains dark and unobtrusive against the wall. Oh the joys of nibbling cheese and crackers while guzzling sipping wine and prattling on lightheartedly conversing with mostly unfamiliar enchanting people and occasionally finding a like minded soul who is also looking forward to the weekend slaving away in the garage or shed with the old tiny TV and a mini-fridge stocked with refreshments.

Does that clear it up the sitting further away bit?

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Silver badge

Re: Yes, but...

Bragging rights are a major factor - particularly when selling to Apple fanboys.

As opposed to all the Android fanboys comparing Android screen sizes with the iPhone's?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, but...

"It's about being lazy and sizing or placing the TV to the room."

That's right coz it's easier to size the room to the TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Nail on the head

"Bragging rights are a major factor - particularly when selling to Apple fanboys."

Cause only Apple fannybois are still waiting for their testes to descend. Bragging rights, WTF??

What have they got to brag about? Last decades tech?

Yeah, right!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, but...

"Why would someone buy a bigger TV if they're just going to sit further away from it? That just seems silly."

Because it distracts attention from the fact that you have a small penis. That applies whether you're a man or a woman. ;-)

Er, but yeah... if screens keep getting bigger at this rate, they're going to have to be stored at the end of the street and viewed through the front window to provide sufficient distance... and also because no-one'll be able to physically fit them into their house anyway!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, but...

I'm an Apple fanboy, I don't even have a TV.

All that comes out of the dumb tv box is crap, having one is like having a Windows PC, just junk.

:P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes, but...

So you're suggesting that large TV's are only for losers that can't afford to go to see 'insert boring homoerotic sport here' live ... and for people that like to drink at home like degenerate alcoholics.

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Anonymous Coward

So it won't interface with any peripherals that haven't been manufactured by Apple in the past year; it'll require you to sign-in to an service that barely works; only allow you to watch a single channel; and will have a remote control with just a single button. All for the low-low price of $6000 for the stripped-down 16-Gig 46 inch version.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably with proprietary DLNA that won't work with Windows 7, Android or Linux. No thanks and double no thanks.

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Mushroom

If true it will do more than $1BN damage to Samsung

Might end up costing Apple more in the end but if Apple do really want to hurt Samsung taking the high end TV market away from them would be more effective than lawsuits have so far.

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Black Helicopters

Re: If true it will do more than $1BN damage to Samsung

I should add that if they do announce in January it will be in their own press event in SF or possibly LA given the content play that will go with it and I have a feeling they might do it the same day that Samsung or Google has their CES press conference scheduled to draw journalists and attention away from them.

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Pint

Re: If true it will do more than $1BN damage to Samsung

I'll bet that Samsung's lawyers are busy hunting through their TV patents, preparing to sue...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If true it will do more than $1BN damage to Samsung

"Might end up costing Apple more in the end but if Apple do really want to hurt Samsung taking the high end TV market away from them would be more effective than lawsuits have so far."

You dont have a clue, do you?

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Anonymous Coward

I still think Apple won't sell "screens", just the STB...

TV screens are commodity items, and people buy ones that fit into their lives, their rooms, their surroundings - hence the 101 different styles & sizes available at every price range.

However, the UI and additional STB features is where the value really is.

How many Reg readers with Sky+/Virgin/Freeview/Freesat etc boxes even bother use the built-in tuners & UI that are native to their screens?

I just my TV's as dumb screens and I bet I'm not alone

If Apple keep improving the ATV set top box and keep it at the 100 GBP-ish impulse buy price point you can bet it'll sell even better with a tiny bit of a push.

And I wouldn't be surprised if the profit made on an Apple TV STB is on par with what the actual TV screen manufacturers make.

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Re: I still think Apple won't sell "screens", just the STB...

Good points.

Our lounge TV is about 5 years old and going strong. Since we bought it, the added value is from the games consoles and media centre we've added plus a Virgin Media TiVo box. We never use the built in tuner. In 5 years time every Apple product currently on sale will be obsolete (as with Google and Microsoft products I'm not bashing Apple).

Sure Apple could take the notion of smart TV to the next level and release a cool device but within a couple of years it would get to feel old and although we can accept a short lifespan for an iPad or phone, most people expect a TV to last longer before it gets annoying. User expectations from a TV are very different to the mobile gadgets that made Apple what it is today.

I guess one good opportunity would be to pioneer 4K UHD TVs, use their buying power to reduce screen costs at a different pace than Sony etc. are currently expecting and introduce higher bandwidth connectors etc. Store integration, good multi-device integration etc. One external device to plug in the consoles etc. and a wireless link from that to the TV itself. Its easy for many of us to come up with some good designs for future TV but traditional manufacturers are floundering and directionless leaving a classic opportunity for Apple to claim to be the innovator simply by using their financial weight. Quite a commercial risk though IMO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I still think Apple won't sell "screens", just the STB...

Exactly. I hate my crappy Cisco/Scientific Atlanta STBs (more like STDs!) with a passion. They are utter crap, and if you want the HD version where I live, Lord help you if you've hung the telly on the wall and don't have a spot for the massive box they force on you. Oh ,and even if you can find a spot, then you get to have even more fun mashing the remote until it actually feels like responding to something resource intensive, like, you know, the channel-up button.

But no matter. The cablecos are NEVER going to allow Apple to displace their STBs. Not a chance in the world they will give up that control, and more importantly, the viewing data. Wonder how much they make auctioning off that bit of goodness?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I still think Apple won't sell "screens", just the STB...

" But no matter. The cablecos are NEVER going to allow Apple to displace their STBs. Not a chance in the world they will give up that control, and more importantly, the viewing data. Wonder how much they make auctioning off that bit of goodness? "

In the US, the cable-cos are legally required to allow consumer owned devices that support "cable-cards" - that's why you can get a TiVo instead of your cable-co's DVR, and you can now even purchase Cable-card tuners that plug into a PC (InfiniTV4, HDHomeRun Prime, DCR-2650).

So an AppleTV that can replace the Cable-Co's STB is definitely possible, but it won't be a world-wide solution - the technology that works in the US won't work in Europe or Asia. To their credit, Apple has tended to avoid US only solutions (they eventually released a CDMA phone for Verizon), but supporting TV internationally is a bit harder than phones.

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Silver badge

It really depends on what they sell

A STB is limited in the amount of improvement it can make on the TV's interface, since you still have to deal with the crappy way TVs keep switching between inputs and switching between channels separate.

Consider a TV hooked to an antenna for local HD channels, along with a cable or satellite box, plus several other inputs (Blu Ray player, and game console, let's say) This is not an uncommon setup in the US, at least. So if you use it on the game console and then turn both the console and TV off (standby) when you're done, when you or someone else wants to use it to watch a particular program you must:

1) turn on the TV

2) select the correct input on your TV (perhaps having to ask if it is not your TV)

3) turn on the cable/satellite box (if necessary - knowing that hitting power turns it off if it is already on)

4) know whether the program you want to watch is on antenna or cable/satellite

5) know the channel number of the program you want to watch if it is on antenna

6) enter the channel number or select it from the guide if on cable/satellite

Now for everyone reading this, this isn't difficult. We're Reg readers, by definition among the more technically literate. Even so, if we'd been asleep for 30 years even we would need some help doing this the first few times. Many of us probably have parents who aren't quite so technically capable and the above would be too complicated for them (despite my dad having a PhD from Berkeley and writing FORTRAN programs 50 years ago, he's never quite got the hang of modern consumer electronics and Windows) Fortunately my parents have only cable boxes, so they never need to switch inputs on the TV, and thanks to me cleverly configuring the cable remote for a TV that is the same brand but different model, the cable remote can turn on/off the TV and control its volume, but can't change inputs or change the TV's channel so it is pretty foolproof unless they find the TV remote :)

Let's imagine a TV where when you turn it on you have a little menu that offers various choices to go to "games console" or "Blu Ray" or some of your favorite channels, or a collection of previously recorded programs on the DVR, or a guide which integrates all the channels available from antenna, cable, satellite, Internet, whatever you have, into one place. You select it via a touchscreen remote or possibly your voice) The TV actually uses the HDMI CEC protocol that only Sony seems to know about, so when you go to the games console it turns it on for you, and when you select something else it turns it off for you so you never need to fumble with multiple remotes or teach one remote how to control other things. The TV and remote doesn't have a concept of switching "inputs", or a concept of keying in channel numbers. The end user has to enable a configuration option to even SEE channel numbers. When you are done watching what you wanted and want to go to something else, you go "home" on the remote/voice similar to an iPhone's home button, and you are back at that menu again.

Is this what Apple's TV will be? Probably not, but IMHO it would be better than the interface on any TV I've ever seen. You are free to disagree, of course, as it has some obvious problems. Mainly, that it wouldn't work with every possible piece of equipment you could connect to it like today's TVs do. Not even close. This is the reason why no one sells a TV that works like this, but that sort of thing has never stopped Apple before. If it was successful devices like Tivo, Xbox and Directv receivers would be built/modified to work with it, just like the ecosystem that grew up around the iPod. They'd all still work with other things, and when Google/Samsung inevitably did their own version of this, they'd work with them as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I still think Apple won't sell "screens", just the STB...

The truth of the matter is that no one wants lots or even one STB. They're ugly - there is nothing stylish about a small white box - it takes up space and is clutter.

The future is a TV that gets all it's stuff via a wireless connection, no clutter just a single thing taking up wall space and controllable via a smartphone.

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Gimp

I actually like Apple "stuff"

But if someone can give me a dumbarse screen with a decent picture quality, no tuner, no media functions, no fancy crap I'd buy one tomorrow.

A disposable TV to go with my phone/computer/whatever I refresh every 12-24 months? I dont think so Tim!

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Facepalm

Re: I actually like Apple "stuff"

Really why not buy the display you want in the form of a TV, don't connect the TV aerial, don't connect the ethernet. Plug in all your devices (PC/STB etc) by HDMI - job done.

Or better yet use the internal services for 12-24 months then connect the external box you want ignoring what is in the TV.

Pure monitors are niche products so will probably actually be more expensive than the mass market do everything TV.

The electronics cost (excluding the panel itself) is a pretty small portion of the total TV cost even including the patent licenses and much of it would be needed for image and audio handling even on dumb monitor (unless you are going even more niche by not including speakers). The cost of handling additional models and the associated stock control plus the additional software testing load of managing additional very different hardware configs would almost certainly wipe out any hardware savings on such low volume models.

[I used to work in Sony TV Product Planning.]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I actually like Apple "stuff"

"But if someone can give me a dumbarse screen with a decent picture quality, no tuner, no media functions, no fancy crap I'd buy one tomorrow.

A disposable TV to go with my phone/computer/whatever I refresh every 12-24 months? I dont think so Tim!!"

Like you, as a (shamed) Apple consumer, have a say in the matter? You will buy what Apple tell you to buy! And you'll like it!

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Paris Hilton

Tell me …

… why I am not interested? I have been a customer for over 15 years, yet all Apple turns out now are disposable SPOF devices that keep losing relevant features (like say a disc drive or ANY way of upgradeability) for pointless benefits (I guess all we ever wanted was a slimmer iMac). So even if they did come out with a screen (which would be pointless as people already pointed out) it would likely suffer from the same "qualities". Not that folks would not buy them by the boatload though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tell me …

You forget the upside - removing a DVD drive from a current laptop means either less weight or longer battery life - for many / most users that is going to be more useful day-to-day. I use a DVD drive but perhaps 4-5 times a year so carrying a USB version (after all they are the size of a single CD case anyway) is not biggie.

Removing a DVD drive from the latest iMac - well same rule applies - again hardly ever used so I plug the USB drive in. If it makes the new iMac a bit more reliable, slightly cheaper as a result surely that's a good thing. If you are the sort of person that needs a computer with multiple DVD drives / blu-ray players installed you would either just have them external (not really an issue) or get a different machine.

A colleague does use DVDs more so he has a Apple display plugged into an Mac Mini and he just leaves the Superdrive on top of the Mac Mini.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tell me …

"You forget the upside - removing a DVD drive from a current laptop means either less weight or longer battery life - for many / most users that is going to be more useful day-to-day. I use a DVD drive but perhaps 4-5 times a year so carrying a USB version (after all they are the size of a single CD case anyway) is not biggie."

W O W, did you read your ramblings?

Lets remove the optical drive, but carry an external one anyway? REALLY?

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Thumb Down

Re: Tell me …

I suspect that he carries it occasionally......

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Holmes

*lol*

Yes, of course you only use the drive every so often. Of course you can use an external one and schlepp it along your featherweight Macbook Air. Of course you can mess up your desk with all that if you need it slightly more often. Why not buy a super-outdated but still mega-buck Mac Pro if you need drives anyway…  The point is that Apple stopped selling complete solutions and you are supposed to shell out to make up for their ideas.

Last time I checked, people still bought loads of CDs, DVDs and Blurays (that ol' bag of hurt). But Apple only sells (crappy) downloads, so who really "needs" a computer that comes without "legacy" drives?

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Anonymous Coward

40 inch is big enough for me.

My 20" monitor would need to be 4 feet away. At 4 feet way I would need Fisher Price fonts to read anything. In reality 26" is a perfect distance at 1600x900(that's with a special eye glass prescription just for that distance).

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Re: 40 inch is big enough for me.

Using a computer monitor as a computer monitor is not the same as using a TV as a TV, so the same distance rule does not apply to both.

With a computer monitor you are not looking at the whole screen all of the time, but concentrating on a portion of it - you therefore sit closer.

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Anonymous Coward

Optimal distance vs screen size.

For me it's how far back you have to be and not be annoyed by the artifacts of an analog(NTSC) source. Many satellite channels haven't switched hidef. Analog big screen TVs were no fun to watch close up. But who pays attention to that while watching football. I got spoiled watching golf in hidef on LED TVs of any screen size at any distance.

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Silver badge

Re: Optimal distance vs screen size.

The optimal distance for a TV is infinity - preferably at the far edge of the universe where the light can never reach Earth.

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