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The HDTV Industry Could Use Apple's Help

The HDTV Industry Could Use Apple's Help

by , 3:10 PM EST, December 21st, 2006

The HDTV industry is having some problems. Profit margins are being squeezed by plummeting prices, and consumers remain frustrated by the complexity. As a result, Apple could be in a unique position to breathe new life into the HDTV industry according to a column at the SeekingAlpha retail news site published Thursday.

Using an analogy, the author points out that, ten years ago, the PC industry was in trouble. "PCs had just fallen below $1,000 (causing immense consternation to the dedicated computer retailers), Windows 95 was out, and the World Wide Web and email were intriguing consumers to try out the Internet. But just as with HDTV, the standard three piece PC required a rat's nest of cables to connect, and then the consumer was left to configure dial-up numbers and accounts, set up PPP and DNS tables, and figure out how to log into their POP email accounts. Most consumers threw up their hands."

In a similar situation today, Circuit City just announced a 3Q loss brought on by rapid declines in big-screen TV prices. Lower prices mean more consumers, but the technical issues surrounding HDTV have not been explained to customers adequately.

The author made a strong case for Apple to enter this market: "They [HDTV industry] need a company who can sell the benefit of an elegant, all-in-one flat-panel HDTV and guarantee a unique product experience. They need a company that will not only market the product, but also a lifestyle brand. They need a company who can deliver HDTV content to play on the product and will manage the brand experience end-to-end. And they need someone who recognizes that they can command and share higher profits with retailers."

Apple's venture into the living room with the "iTV" suggests that Apple is interested in that market. How interested they are in making life easier for HDTV customers remains to be seen.

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