Apple working on networked HDTV?

According to the C|Net UK’s  Nate Lanxon, Internet tabloid celebrity Jason Calcanis is going around the Valley telling people that Apple is about to get into the Networked HDTV business.  Beyond the endorsement from Calcanis, who might just be seeking yet another avenue of self-promotion, it does make sense for Apple to be joining this very big market.  They currently make large screen cinema displays, AppleTVs and all-in one units like the iMac.  They also sell lots of TV shows and movies.  Technologically speaking, Apple could probably put together a product in a three day weekend (or 30 seconds with some double sided tape, a cinema display, an Apple TV and a HDMI-DVI adapter)….the question is: is the market big enough to justify building it?  Is it mature enough?  Too mature?  One would think that time is getting close.

Apple, under Steve Jobs, has always been the master of timing, bringing products out right at the cusp of technological maturity.  The iPod and iPhone are perfect examples of this.  When the technology made sense for a product that people would want to use, and not a moment before, Apple released something amazing.  There were MP3 Players before the iPod and smartphones before the iPhone, but when Apple delivered the products, it changed the game.

Apple hasn’t really had the same experience with AppleTV.  While there are many compelling reasons to get one, it isn’t a "must have".  Yet.  Perhaps if Apple innovated up the value chain making some heavy duty equipment with the ability to play videos (please Apple, acknowledge other file formats besides .mp4 and .mov) from a media server.  Or just put a 1Tb drive in the AppleTV model of the HDTV and a H.264 encoder and let me have my way with my media library.   Lots of possibilities here.  From C|Net:

TVs are a huge market. What better way to extend the iTunes Store than by providing an elegant TV that seamlessly integrates with its movie and TV offerings? Apple Computer Inc dropped the ‘Computer’ for a reason, and I have no reason to doubt that this has been on the roadmap ever since.

Or is Calcanis just doing Apple rumors to satisfy his need to be like Kevin Rose (See Netscape vs. Digg)

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