Is Apple secretly working on a DVR / Video Download Service?

While reading a post over at I caught this:

Here’s what I think is coming…

In the days leading up to MacWorld Apple was aggressively trying to plug a leak of a secret project that was rumored to be announced at the Keynote. Court documents filed in the trade secret suits by Apple referred to the hardware product by code name “Asteroid.” It’s was well believed in the rumor world that Asteriod was an audio break-out box for GarageBand users to connect their home instruments. Asteriod wasn’t released— or announced— but the lawsuits remain. This product is still coming. It’s still a secret Apple want’s to keep under wraps.

Asteriod is going to be far more than a break-out box. Asteriod will be the missing link to provide a Digital Livingroom Macintosh. Asteroid will be a Firewire based media bridge. An external box that inputs and outputs video (HD) and digital audio. Asteriod will provide PVR features much like the Elgato capture peripheral. It will ship with an iApp that allows time shifting of video, slideshows and music on your TV (a la TiVo Home Media Option) and home theatre integration. Sharing of video captures (television shows) via rendezvous (like iPhoto) using Quicktime’s killer new compression codecs- and locked down with Tivo-To-Go type DRM. Being sold as an external add on, Mac users will be able to utilize their existing hardware, even if they don’t own a Mini.

Next logical step— iTunes store selling DVD downloads. Tivo has partnered with NetFlix to provide DVD downloads to your TiVo, there’s no reason why Apple can’t do it with their negotiating power over the entertainment industry. The iTunes Music Store now plays movie previews and is heavily integrated with Quicktime. Apple needs to keep in the forefront. It won’t be long before TiVo type convergence devices (Comcast DVR, Moxie, etc..) are also providing the purchasing of online music and saving it to a local share.

This is all speculation for now, but just consider the possibilities of this type of device and then add in the recent removal of iFlicks by Helixent Technologies.

Helixent Technologies is sorry to report that iFlicks is no longer available, at least for the time being. Due to a situation that has arisen, we have made the decision to halt further distribution of iFlicks.

Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot provide further details as to why we have made the decision to halt distribution of iFlicks. As soon as we are aware of further details which we can make public, we will post the information to this page. If you are concerned or otherwise interested, just periodically check back to the iFlicks web site. []

iFlicks supports all the key video types for an Apple based on-demand / download service

…QuickTime (.mov), MPEG-1, and MPEG-4. If you have additional QuickTime components installed, iFlicks also supports AVI and MPEG-2 formats.

Helixent can’t say why it’s gone but many a bird are whispering of another SoundJam into iTunes maneuver by Apple. This would certainly fill the iApp box when connected with a box to capture and record from a variety of sources. iFlicks had Netflix integration as well which may also add the addition of a download service in the same manner as Tivo plans.

— Jonathan Greene

9 Responses to “Is Apple secretly working on a DVR / Video Download Service?”

  1. The Apple Blog » Is Apple Working on a DVR/VOD solution? Says:

    […] Om Malik points to a post by Jonathan Greene speculating about an alleged upcoming DVR/V […]

  2. Mac HTPC - The Mac Mini HTPC » Computer or set-top box? Says:

    […] HTPC

    Computer or set-top box?

    Jonathan spoke to this in an earlier post, but its well worth another me […]

  3. TVHarmony Says:

    Is Apple Working on a DVR/VOD solution?
    Is Apple working on a DVR solution for the Mac, including an iTunes style download service? has some interesting rumors that something might be in the works. This seems like such a natural progression for Apple after getting into…

  4. Liz Says:

    That would be friggin awesome.

  5. Jonathan Greene Says:

    I hear you! I am very hopeful… though trying to be realistic as well. The next real update from Steve would be at either WWDC or possibly MacWorld Boston – if he attends. This would be a major announcement and I would expect him to do it “in person” rather than how the iPod was released as a press event, but who knows…

  6. Mark Solomon Says:

    I’d love to believe this, but the language in the last sentence (“Unfortunately, the situation at hand has forced us to make this very disappointing decision.”) tends to make me believe that Helixent had a gun pointed at their head by someone like the MPAA.

  7. Jonathan Greene Says:

    That occurred to me as well, but in thinking about the Soundjam deal it was a similar bittersweet note. We’ll see at some point in the near future regardless.

  8. Mac HTPC - The Mac Mini HTPC Says:

    Build your Own DVR
    O’Reilly has a great and easy to follow step by step for building your own DVR with existing equipment you most likely have already waiting to be used. I had never heard of HackTV, the app that does most of the tricks, but after reading the piece and…

  9. The Apple Blog Says:

    Is Apple Working on a DVR/VOD solution?
    Om Malik points to a post by Jonathan Greene speculating about an alleged upcoming DVR/Video-on-Demand solution from Apple.

    I’ve not seen anyone mention DRM as part of the picture. Or has this already been figured out by Netflix through a subscript…

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