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Apple Waiting on 802.11n to Deliver iTV?
Tuesday, September 12th, 2006 at 3:00 PM - by Brad Cook
Apple CEO Steve Jobs broke tradition on Tuesday when he discussed an upcoming product, code-named iTV, months before its release, leading some to speculate why it isn't ready now. After all, it was on display after the event at Yerba Buena Gardens, although no information was given out beyond the basic specs Mr. Jobs covered during his presentation. Daniel Eran, writing for his blog, Roughly Drafted, believes Apple is waiting on 802.11n wireless networking technology before it can deliver iTV.
Why? Because the existing 802.11g standard can handle audio well but doesn't provide a large enough wireless pipe to effectively stream digital video. "In order to stream movies around, users will want at least 100 mbit/s Fast Ethernet speeds," Mr. Eran wrote. 802.11n can deliver speeds beyond that, but the standard hasn't been finalized, despite the fact that some companies are selling "pre-n" equipment now.
In addition, Sony, for example, has technology called LocationFree that wirelessly sends TV video to a computer, but, as Mr. Eran pointed out, the company has to limit the bit rate to 300kb per second, which is "a lower bandwidth threshold than the typical iTMS TV programming Apple was selling ... Yesterday's announcement to boost Apple's iTMS video quality into 'near DVD-quality' with Dolby surround audio means that Apple is now pushing beyond what the iPod displays natively into a higher quality model that brings Apple into the home theater arena."
And while some people have derided Apple's bump to 640 x 480 resolution on its video content in light of how it will look on an HDTV set, Mr. Eran noted: "If all the iTV could do was 640 x 480 iTMS video, Apple would have simply used a VGA adapter or super video connector, just like the existing iPod dock. It is quite obviously designed to play HD content. Apple even demonstrated the iTV playing back HD content."
He concluded by musing: "It would be smart for Apple to encourage electronics manufacturers to support a standard control protocol for wirelessly sharing and advertising their content via Bonjour and Front Row, just as Apple got printer manufacturers to support automatic discovery using Bonjour.
"Imagine home theater components, from TVs and stereos to cable boxes, which all listened for instructions from a Front Row device like the iTV, and could be automated to turn on, record programming, change channels, browse and play stored content using a slick iTV device and a single remote as simple as Apple's."
Thanks to MacDailyNews for the heads-up.
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