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What's Coming in the Apple iTV? Online Video Insiders Predict

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There's a good chance that sometime between now and the end of the calendar year, Apple will debut its long-awaited iTV, blending Apple functionality with the living room television. Apple is tight-lipped about future plans, so we don't know what it will offer, but expectations are high since Apple has a history (iPod, iPad) of transforming markets overnight.

To get a better look at what the iTV might look like, we corralled seven industry experts. We asked them their predictions for what the iTV will look like, as well as their wish lists of features.

David van Eyssen

Director and producer, creator or RCVR

Prediction: A 42-inch Cinema Display with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as the controller(s) providing very high levels of interactivity. The apps and camera will be there. The total redefinition of the TV experience it won't be, but iTV 1.0 will take us a full step closer.

Wish List: As the iPad was to the iPhone, iTV will be to the iPad. Gesture and voice controlled entertainment, communications and computing on an ultra low-profile Cinema Display that makes Jonathan Ive fans shed tears of joy. Fulfills the prediction that TV is just the biggest screen in the house.

Eric Quanstrom

Chief operating officer
Sorenson Media

Prediction: I think the iTV will likely be a "greatest hits" of Apple's current products: retina display, Siri, Airplay, FaceTime, likely completely iTunes compatible with easy interaction with other Apple devices. As with most things Apple these days, it will likely have a massive launch, massive hype, and inevitably be loved (and loathed -- or at least envied).

Wish List: I'd like to see what I've wanted in any big-screen TV for a while -- a massive repository of all content that's contextually interesting to me: broadcast, cable, internet videos, movies, home movies, podcasts, pictures or inputs and games -- all without five remotes; good search and recommendations algorithms; and a much better HD storage option than most DVRs have today.

Gene Munster

Senior research analyst
Piper Jaffray & Co.

Prediction: We continue to believe Apple is preparing to launch a television and is likely targeting a late CY12 launch. We recently spoke to a major TV component supplier who has been contacted by Apple regarding various capabilities of their television display components. While we are confident that Apple will enter the connected TV market, timing remains uncertain. More specifically, the hardware could be ready quickly but the timing and scope of a revamped TV content solution is unclear.

Wish List: Whether the company partners with MSOs or rolls up its own content solution (more likely the former), we expect a fully integrated hardware/software/content solution that works seamlessly across iOS devices, an App Store on the TV for games and other functions, as well as Apple's full technology portfolio (including Siri) built in.

Herb Mitschele

Co-founder and chief executive officer

Prediction: While there is no company whose design capabilities combine simplicity and elegance better than Apple, the TV experience is more than just design. We know Apple will get the design right, but whether or not they get the engineering right remains to be seen.

Wish List: We would like to see a strong processor combined with some innovative ways to control the TV, whether it be through voice recognition, smartphones, and/or tablets.   

Peter Scott

Vice president of emerging media
Turner Sports Interactive

Prediction: I think, like every other Apple product, it will revolutionize the way we watch TV.  

Wish List: The iPhone will become a remote that will control the TV and allow you to move content from one screen to the next.

Ross Rubin

Executive director and principal analyst of NPD Connected Intelligence
The NPD Group

Prediction: Apple's voice-driven Siri assistant helped drive the iPhone 4S to be the best-selling handset in the U.S., according to NPD's Consumer Tracking Service. Apple could employ it to help with navigation and TV show discovery. An Apple television would also likely include multiscreen support. With the tremendous success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple could put a sophisticated user interface on these devices for a rich presentation of available programming, supplemental content, and remote control.

Wish List: An iTunes TV subscription service would create tremendous differentiation for an Apple television. Without a packaged broadband subscription service, Apple is on the same terms as other companies in competing against incumbent cable companies. For an integrated broadband TV to have compelling value, it would have to serve as a cable alternative, not as a supplement.

Teg Grenager

Co-founder and vice president of product

Prediction: I think Apple is likely to create an awesome user interface that makes it easy to browse video -- owned, rentable, and buyable -- as well as other "apps" from your couch, using some intuitive gestures, probably on the iPhone.

Wish List: My hope, however, is that they do something as revolutionary for the TV industry as they did for the music industry in iTunes: actually getting the content owners to participate, and open up pay-per-view or ad-supported streams of the same content that they're currently broadcasting. This would be in the best interests of the content owners, the users, the advertisers, and, of course, Apple. Unfortunately, however, I think it's unlikely to happen, given the networks' deep commitment to, and fear of threatening, their existing distribution channels.

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