After Hours

iTV bridging the digital gap?

Bored one evening I decided to watch the most recent Steve Jobs presentation

and see exactly how the latest iPods have been refreshed.  A lot more interesting was the product

preview that followed—iTV (its temporary name).  Jobs unveiled a tiny set top box which finally

bridges the gap between our TV/Home Entertainment and the digital content

stored on our computers.  The unit

features built in 802.11 wireless networking, Ethernet, HDMI output, Component

output and optical audio output.  Running

in conjunction with iTunes this offers a sane way to enjoy music, photos and

video streamed directly to your TV.  The

unit is going to be released in Q1 2007 and will be priced at around £160 which

is much cheaper than the alternative

of buying a bulky Media PC running Windows XP Media Edition.

Of course, no firm details were given on the technology

contained in the box and it has left some questions being asked.  How about broadcast TV, will it be excluded,

will an additional module allow reception, will streaming broadcast be

available via iTunes?  The second is that

of video quality?  The HDMI and component

outputs hint at HD

quality content, this however will create challenges.  Hard disk space consumed by HD movies would be

massive, the download time for movies would be considerable and current 802.11g

wireless technology would not be capable of streaming—however 802.11n would be.

 If Apple uses 802.11n it will mean that Mac

computers would also need to use the same technology which is not currently the

case, so will people need to buy a new computer to enjoy HD with their iTV?  That £160 price tag suddenly pails in to

insignificance!  The ideal solution of

course would to allow current Mac owners to upgrade their Airport cards to

802.11n—something which would be trivial with a PC but a different story with a

Mac; anybody know if the Airports are removable/replaceable in the latest

generation of Macs?

 

 

 

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