Why Apple Should Create Next Generation LED Display

June 3, 2010

Pete Cashmore wrote today his thoughts on Apple TV and whether we will be seeing the Internet truly invade our television screen. I will admit, I am one of the very few who have purchased an Apple TV and live by it as a seamless device that centralizes all of my media in a single home entertainment center. For me, Apple TV is perfect, completing my ability to access media anywhere and in the most ideal fashion (whether through my shuffle while working out, via my iPhone in the car, through my iPad at work or through Apple TV while lounging at home).

Pete makes a number of great points on why Internet enabled television (whether powered by Apple TV or Google’s new platform) will be more mainstream in consumer households (bringing apps to your living room, centralizing all of your media, etc.). However, the mass market of consumers probably will not see the value in spending more money on an additional set top box when they can play their apps on a brilliant iPad or stream their music from iTunes to their A/V receiver through airport express.

With that, what will be the needed catalyst to bring Internet to the TV for the masses of consumers? Pete mentions Apple looking to potentially partner with cable companies to integrate into the set top box is a possible angle. Rather than buy a new device that connects to your television (on top of a cable box and potential game console you already have) why not integrate it all into one?

I think there is a totally different angle that Apple (or others) could take as it relates to bringing Internet to the television and developing great competitive positioning. We are now seeing television displays offering wifi connectivity and apps straight out of the box. Hmmm…What would I do if I were Steve Jobs (and not a measly expansion capital investor)?

1. Abandon Apple TV product and development (though I love the device, it will never get mass market adoption – partnering with cable operators sounds like a nightmare)

2. Look at creating a killer LED display with wifi connectivity powered by an Apple OS that gives consumers the benefits of Internet functionality on their television while playing nice with cable and satellite operators. It would just be a large non-touch version of an iPad to hang on your wall that brings the best of both worlds! The controller could be your iPhone/iPad, a wii type controller or basic remote.

I am sure whatever Apple management teams have planned for this segment will be revolutionary as they continually deliver exceptional products to the consumer market. Looking forward to seeing what’s ahead!

General Partner

<strong>Kobie Fuller</strong> is a General Partner at <a href="https://upfront.com/">Upfront Ventures</a>. Previously he was the Principal at Accel Partners in San Francisco where he helped identify and work with entrepreneurs who were building category-defining companies. He has more than 10 years of experience in funding and building software companies.