Apple moves to link TV to the computer

Demonstrating a prototype device called iTV, Apple revealed last week plans to wirelessly stream video and audio from a Macintosh computer running its iTunes media software to TV sets throughout the home.

About the size of a paperback book, the iTV box, set for delivery early next year, connects to a video display through HDMI or component jacks. Via 802.11, it can receive all entertainment content — including movies, video, photos and music — from a Macintosh located in another part of the house. The system also includes Ethernet, USB and optical audio connectivity.

Apple also for the first time upgraded its iTunes software and store to include downloadable movies from four studios. To improve video quality for home TV display, Apple increased the resolution of all of its video content to 640 x 480, which it described as “near-DVD quality.”

Apple said each movie it sold through the iTunes store would consume about one or two gigabytes and take 60 to 90 minutes to download. Users can begin watching a film, however, after only three minutes of downloading.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at a news conference that wireless streaming of digital entertainment was the last missing piece of the home computing puzzle. He noted that Apple was already in the den with the Macintosh, in the consumer's pocket and car with the iPod and is now poised to enter the living room with iTV.