Is Apple Building a Smart TV?

Happy Friday, cable gang. We end this week's industry roundup with a rekindled rumor that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) may be building a smart TV.

  • Apple may be building a "full-blown" broadband-connected TV, aiming for a cut of the $100 billion LCD TV market, according to a report from Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, who discovered "data points" that hint at the move during a recent electronics show in China. (See Apple Prepping Cloud-Based Video Service?)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Xbox 360 users can now tap Kinect motion-control technology to navigate Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) content with hand gestures and verbal commands. It's a score for motion-control company PrimeSense Ltd. , which licenses its motion-control tech to Microsoft and has some cable MSO ambitions. (See PrimeSense Makes a Cable Kinect-tion.)

  • Soon after Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced that its 105Mbit/s wideband tier is now in front of 40 million homes, the MSO posted a brief blog that The Slowskys would be returning to the boob tube after a two-year hiatus to reveal "some big news." Any guesses? Lamenting the limits of DSL seems so 2009. Here's a relative oldie from the tortoise duo:

  • Comcast is also gearing up on the wireless end for the NHL and NBA playoffs, announcing that the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers, is now an Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spot. Comcast is offering free access through June.

  • DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) bought an equity stake in targeted advertising firm Invidi Technologies Corp. , which raised $49 million in its fourth round of financing. Invidi has some key players as investors, including Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), GroupM, Motorola Ventures , Experian, NBCUniversal LLC , Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and several venture capital firms. Invidi's raised $111.5 million so far.

  • Comcast insists that it has a bigger share of the digital movie market than Netflix, disputing a report from NPD group that found Netflix had a 61 percent share of that business versus just 8 percent for Comcast. If you include all views for its free and premium VoD movies, its share would've been 54 percent, Comcast said.

  • Eat your heart out, Donald Trump. Three University of Denver graduate school students from the Daniels College of Business won the fifth-annual CTAM of the Rocky Mountains "Cable Apprentice" competition last week for their examination into how cable can handle satellite, telco and new over-the-top video threats using fresh forms of pricing, packaging and alternative video offerings. The winning trio -- dubbed "Team OnDemandos" -- split a $1,500 grand prize and can each select a paid internship among four positions being offered by Sand Cherry Associates, Starz Entertainment LLC (two slots), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s National Division.

    Check it out

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable, and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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