TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Personalized Service May be Key to Success of Internet-TV Links

Personalized Service May be Key to Success of Internet-TV Links

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 18 Sep 2006 00:05:20 -0400

By Scott Kirsner

Ever since Steve Jobs began prefacing Apple's product names with a
lower-case 'i', with the introduction of the turquoise iMac desktop
computer in 1998, the company has been on a tear. The iPod upstaged
every digital music player that preceded it, and the accompanying
iTunes Music Store made it cool to purchase music legally online.

But was Apple's disclosure of iTV last week the first step toward
reinventing television? The company's $299 set-top device, designed to
wirelessly connect the television with a Mac or PC, won't be available
until early next year, but expectations are high that Apple will
create a new viewing experience by linking the TV with the digital

Plenty of other companies have tried to forge that link, without much
success. Microsoft introduced its Windows Media Center Edition in
2002, a version of its operating system designed to turn a PC sitting
next to the television into a DVD player, digital video recorder,
music library, and gateway to the Internet. Akimbo Systems of San
Mateo, Calif., introduced an Internet-connected set-top box in 2004,
and TiVo has made video from the Web available on its devices, in part
through a partnership with Brightcove, a Cambridge start-up.

But consumers may not feel like there's something lacking on the small
screen. Apple is proposing to deliver primarily new and old TV shows
and movies like NBC's 'The Office' or Disney's 'The English Patient',
but that's content readily available at video stores, via Netflix,
recorded on a digital video recorder, or purchased from a cable
video-on-demand service.

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