Apple TV won’t be a hobby for much longer should Apple move to introduce support for digital video recording and a TV tuner, at least according to one analyst.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu notes Apple’s recently disclosed patent filing which covered a way to add DVR features to the Apple TV. Wu also notes Apple plans to implement Blu-ray support in future Macs.
"(Following) Recent filings by Apple at the US Patent and Trademark Office, it appears that DVR (digital video recorder) and TV tuner functionality will finally make their way onto a future version of AppleTV with the ability to dock an iPod and/or iPhone and to use as a remote control," observed Wu,
The analyst suggests these new features could turn up as early as the next iteration of Apple’s "hobby" product. Wu writes that the addition of such features would "turn Apple TV into a real business".
Looking at the bottom line, the analyst notes the device is offering a fractional percent blip to company revenue, he reckons this to be around 0.3-0.4 per cent of revenue or $100-125 million annually. "We believe adding the ability to watch and record live TV could turn this into a billion dollar, if not multi-billion dollar business," he notes.
"We (as well as many others) have been clamoring for DVR and/or TV tuner capabilities since the introduction of AppleTV 1.0 in January 2007 and even AppleTV 2.0 with movie rentals in January 2008. We are pleased to see Apple listening to customers similar to what it has done with iPhone, with adding native access to Exchange server," the analyst then explains.
The analyst believes the cost of hardware for such features would only come to "about $12-15", but suggests hard drive size may need to be increased.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently declared his company to be "as proud of the things we don’t ship as those we do". so a patent filing doesn’t signify a definitely shipping product.
The analyst notes this, writing: "We would like to note that there have been filings in the past that have not come to fruition – yet. Oneexample is Bluetooth stereo headsets which have yet to ship but, we believe will at some point as cost of components declines."
The analyst also claims his sources describe Sony as having reached final discussions with Apple and Microsoft with a view to bringing Blu-ray to Macs and the Xbox 360.
"While near-term trends look difficult with a looming recession and a slow-down in consumer spending, we continue to believe Apple is well-positioned to weather the storm better than most with its strong fundamentals," the analyst concludes.
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