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The era of Internet-capable HDTV-sets is here and shortly television sets with access to the Internet are likely to become standard in the next several years. Being a company on the leading-edge of progress, Apple may plan to enter the market of such TVs, according to an analyst.

"For over a year, we have believed that Apple will enter the television market by the end of calendar year 2012 at the earliest. While Apple’s commitment to the living room remains a 'hobby', we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate," said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, in a note to clients, reports Tech Trader Daily.

Sales of Apple TV set-top-box are simply disappointing nowadays and Apple will have to completely re-make its approach to the television in particular and living room in general in order to successfully connect against established players like Samsung or Sony. But maybe Apple has other trumps up in its sleeve: it has always been on the forefront of high-quality display technologies (e.g., first to release a mass 30" display with 2560x1600 resolution, etc.) and theoretically it could become the first company to introduce an ultra high-definition television and/or display.

"Recent developments in Apple’s strategy, including the component deal we believe could secure up to 50" LCD displays, bolster our confidence that the company remains serious about the connected living room," believes the analyst.

It is a known fact that Apple has been saving cash for (a) "massive strategic" acquisition(s) and also reserved several billions last quarter to pay for a technology that barely exists right now. It is absolutely clear that Apple is indeed either going to enter a new market for itself, or offer something completely unexpected on updates to its existing products, such as Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad or others.

Although Apple has a huge experience in offering certain technology a little ahead of other companies, on the market of HDTVs it will have to rival not only well-established brands, but also against emerged and emerging platforms, such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network or Google TV. Moreover, when entering its own TV platform, Apple will have to consider the interests of content providers, who sell their products via iTunes, a money making machine for Apple.

"We estimate that of the 220 million flat panel TVs sold in 2012, 48% or 106 million units will be Internet-connected, of which Apple could sell 1.4 million units. We believe an Apple television could add $2.5 billion or 2% to revenue in CY12, $4.0billion in CY13 and $6.0 billion in CY14," concluded Mr. Munster.

Tags: Apple, HDTV, Google TV, iTunes, Xbox, Playstation

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