Is Apple Thinking About Mac TV?

John Markoff reports on the potential of an Apple set-top box following the MacWorld Keynote and a subsequent interview with Steve Jobs . As we’ve already discussed, a few modifications or simple add-ons and the Mac Mini becomes much more. Trojan Horse, or just a simple computer… you decide. Our hopes are set high!

But he noted that the giant screen projecting his demonstrations was in high definition, gave a cursory display of several computer video-editing tools and offered an enthusiastic plug for a new Sony high-definition video camera. He also invited Sony’s president, Kunitake Ando, onstage for a brief and cryptic appearance and mentioned that the two companies might find other things to cooperate on in the future.

But if Mr. Jobs is thinking about a future role for the quirky computer maker in entertainment beyond digital music, he is holding his cards very close to his chest.

The Mac mini, which sells for $499, is intended to woo Windows iPod users who have been leaning toward a Macintosh but have been put off by the Mac’s higher prices. That did not stop speculation that, with a minimum of modification, the Mac Mini would make a compelling interactive television set-top box, placing Apple squarely in competition with TiVo and Windows Media Center from Microsoft.

In an interview after his presentation, Mr. Jobs demurred. The problem, he suggested, was not that Mac TV was not a good idea, but that the cable companies are monopolies. But he did not close the door entirely. [NYT]

— Jonathan Greene

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