Apple TV and the death of the cable set-top box
Those annoying set-top cable boxes may soon be a thing of the past. But, like it or not, they'll be replaced by a different kind of device.
By Richard Siklos, editor at large May 30, 2008 Fortune
LOS ANGELES (Fortune) -- The announcement this week that Sony plans to work with other television makers to eliminate the need for set-top cable boxes could not have gained more affection at Fortune magazine's Hollywood digital test lab - also known as my living room.
Under the auspices of a cable industry standard called Tru2Way, Sony's plan is to sell TVs that will allow consumers to access interactive services like video-on-demand without renting and hooking up these bothersome cable boxes. (When was the last time you saw a cable box on top of a set, anyway?)
Last weekend, it so happens, I ventured into the newfangled world of gizmos designed to bypass the cable box - and cable altogether. These devices aim to bridge the computer and TV and, finally, allow people easily to download movies and shows directly from the Internet to their big screens. I decided to give the year-old Apple TV a whirl, and, as is often the case with things from Steve Jobs' elf-works, I was tickled to see that it arrived as a perfect little shiny white box with a wee remote. Hooking up the little guy was a little trickier, mostly because of the confounding array of inputs and controls on the LCD TV. (Truth is, had we not had a houseguest who happens to specializes in hooking up Apple networks, the Apple TV box would have been packed up and sent back - thanks John.)