Opinion: AV PowerBooks: Is This What Apple Needs?


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Digitimes notes that Dell and Asustek will launch 'AV' notebooks shortly to compete with Toshiba's range of Qosmio portables, The new notebooks will feature 'TV and audio' functionality, as well as DVD recording.

The question is whether Apple needs to match this in its PowerBook line. Desktop Media Center PCs have become increasingly popular in recent quarters, reportedly having some impact on the sales of notebooks.

No PCMCIA/CardBus TV solution for the PowerBook exists to my knowledge, although EyeTV and other USB solutions abound. Although an Apple-developed internal or CardBus TV card may not be a deal-clincher, it would add considerably to the PowerBook's already formidable array of multimedia support. With FireWire DV and DVD burning, plus DVDSP, iMovie and iDVD, Apple already leads the industry in many respects.

Looking back to the Quadra AVs, Quadra 630, various TV-equipped Performas and even the MacTV, it's always been a popular option. The market may be the iBook customer, rather than the PowerBook, but it's still something Apple needs to consider seriously. On CDRW burners, Apple largely missed the boat, although it was first and foremost in the market with the DVD-R-equipped Power Mac G4 733.

Given that AV options are becoming more widely available for PC notebooks, Apple needs to respond to this growing market. Moreover, an 'iTV' app - copyright issues notwithstanding - makes sense, given the burgeoning demand for home DVD video recorders. Some slick editing functionality borrowed from iMovie and iDVD for recorded TV programs would make for a killer app. Then there's the education market. Rather than recording in VHS (usually at the wrong speed) and then taking it into school or college only to find it won't play correctly, a well-edited, easy-to-navigate DVD would be just the ticket for classes.

And it would be just one more thing which would make the Mac the perfect digital hub. What do you think?