By Richard Menta 1/6/07
On CNet's January 2, 2007 article The Other Guys in Digital TV Michael Kanellos found that newcomers to the television space are doing quite well at capturing market share. For example, who thinks of Polaroid when they think of a TV set? Well, right now Polaroid is in the top 10 of manufacturers with 4.3% of the market. Following Polaroid at number 10 is Vizio with 4.1% of the market and number 11 Westinghouse at 3.6%. The market leaders are Philips and Samsung, each with 12% of the market. As the article points out "New and small entrants to TV manufacturing...have managed to establish themselves fairly quickly as forces in the market for LCD and plasma sets."
So what does this have to do with Apple? Look no further than iTV.
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When Apple introduced iTV last September they only gave enough information to tease us with what the company has in store in the digital TV space. With the relative success of Apple's TV and movie download service the need to bridge Internet delivered content to the home entertainment system seems a logical next step for the company. So if you are going to build this bridge, as Apple is doing, why not also offer your own TV set too?
If this suggestion sounds spurious - and this is all speculation mind you - it is based on a couple of facts. First, Apple is clearly the leader in the digital TV space as far as content distribution in concerned. Second, iTV appears to be a component of a larger puzzle that will expand Apple's presence in the field. Third, CNet's article suggests the TV market is ripe for new entrants. As the plasma/LCD market is in major growth mode and the price of the average set is in the thousands of dollars (though dropping fast) the environment offers a potentially golden opportunity for an Apple branded product.
The top manufacturers presently in this space barely have double digit market share and an Apple TV that's part of a wireless system would prove attractive to high-end users as well as the average consumer. This doesn't mean Apple has one in the works. Just keep an open mind as they very well might.
Other MP3 stories:
The Digital Media Winners of 2006
The Digital Media Losers of 2006