apple-tv.jpgApple may have started with the wrong foot, but it is determined to turn the tables this month! It recently revealed its new strategy for the device: a significant software update that will unhitch it from the computer, coupled with online movie rentals that will be available in high-definition as it heads into the family entertainment room!

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs admits, the “digital living room” has been a tough nut to crack. “All of us have tried. We’ve all missed. No one’s succeeded yet,” Jobs stated at the Macworld conference last January 15.

The idea of finding a way to move video from the Web and from the PCs in consumers’ home offices to the big-screen TVs and home entertainment centers in their living rooms is intriguing but is indeed very challenging. After all, Apple has released several innovations in the market including a number of new products at Macworld such as the Macbook Air (the “world’s thinnest laptop”); upgrades for the iPhone and iPod touch; and a new backup device. Its latest effort to crack that nut will probably prove most important for the company.

The Plan

“We think it’s a revolution,” Jobs said. “We think we’ve got it all together.”

First off, Apple will begin renting digital movies effective next month. This includes high definition films. Owners of the Apple TV set-top box will be able to rent movies directly from their living rooms and begin watching them within minutes. By moving to a rental model, Apple is recognizing that consumers generally don’t want to buy videos, although the company will offer that option. This is perhaps the most important since a bit chunk of the US market consists of couch potatoes that would not want to waste time getting the show on the road.

1,000 movies, 100 of which are in high definition, will be released on the list of choices. These HD offerings should boost the service, given the growing popularity of HDTVs.

What the Market Says

Mixed emotions greeted the idea. Some analysts agree. “It will do for movies what iTunes has done for music,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.

While others think Apple is not yet ready. “It’s an incremental step forward,” said Aram Sinnreich, managing partner at Radar Research, a media and technology consulting firm. “I don’t think this is going to single-handedly make the digital living room a reality.”

Apple’s new video strategy has a number of things in its favor. A total of seven million movies have been sold and/or rented. That’s more than everyone else put together. But Jobs is confident that this number can still improve.

Apple TV: Trying to Make Itself Comfortable in the Living Room

Image Credit: Apple Inc.