Media

Apple’s iTV may feature channel customization, says Sterne Agee analyst

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A new report from analyst firm Sterne Agee agrees with recent speculation that Apple will eventually produce its own branded television set.

Apple may soon start iTV production with 32- and 37-inch television sets planned for a summer 2012 launch, containing chips coming from Samsung and screens from Sharp, as VentureBeat reported yesterday.

“Frankly, we are not surprised and believe Apple should enter the TV space as this is arguably the only major end market the company is not currently participating in a bigger way,” writes Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu in the report released today. “Moreover, we have picked up several data points indicating activity from component makers to manufacturing partners as well as Apple’s own patent filings from at least 2005.”

The success of an Apple-branded TV set would depend heavily on the selection of content available, as well as the configuration of devices, Wu indicates in the report.

Content is a key factor in how people are adopting streaming set-top boxes, which is something Apple is keenly aware of. Various reports, including one citing comments from CBS’ chief executive, suggest that Apple is in talks with media companies about the creation of a new streaming platform for video channels. Such a platform would allow Apple to bypass the cable companies by offering channels through a high-speed Internet connection. It would also allow customers to pick and chose the exact lineup of channels.

Wu also notes that Apple should continue producing an Apple TV streaming set-top box as well as a branded TV set. This could prove difficult at first, since the Apple TV solution is far less costly and allows you to convert your current HDTV set into an Internet-connected device.

Yet, Apple could take advantage of this situation much in the same way it has with iPhone upgrades (e.g. iPhone 4S is the only official iPhone that can access Siri). Apple could simply make the more expensive iTV product the exclusive way for people to access an App Store or its streaming media channel platform, while the Apple TV would continue to compliment all of the other Apple services (such as iTunes and Airplay).

Via Barron’s