How I Think Apple Can Dominate Home Theater

With the new iPad behind us, seems like we may as well start speculating about the next big thing.

It seems like every year, the analysts tell us that Apple is about to go front and center in the home theater space with their own TV. My big question has always been, how does Apple think they can own this category? The market is crowded, prices are low, and generally, people seem relatively lukewarm on the whole smart TV thing.

I don't know when Apple is going to do it, but after giving it some thought, I think I know what they're going to do. In fact, I think they've been laying the groundwork for a knockout punch for years.

So how is Apple going to get you to buy their TV?

People keep saying the wow factor is going to be some implementation of Siri. Really? When someone says that, I feel like a parent of a mediocre student that's just been told their kid got accepted to Harvard. Really? Our Siri? Are you sure?

Don't get me wrong. Voice control could be great, but is that really enough to make everyone go out and buy a new TV?

Here's the thing: Apple doesn't play for the love of the game. They play to win.

Also, Apple isn't going to enter a new market unless they can make something that adds incredible value to their existing hardware ecosystem.

Here's how I think they'll do it with in Home Theater..

iTV Will Be the Home Theater PC You've Always Wanted

With the exception of the extreme geeks or the extremely wealthy, the HTPC has been pretty lame, pretty expensive, and far from user friendly.

Here's what everybody wants whether they know it or not: Live and recorded TV (cable and OTA), on demand TV and movies, rental and subscription services, and all of the TV, movies, and music you already own all in one place everywhere you go.

Right now, if you work really hard, spend lots of money, and are willing to live with some pretty clunky interfaces, you can almost make this happen. Almost.

Apple already has most of the devices, software, and infrastructure in place to make this happen in a much more elegant way and they only have to add one device to give us the HTPC we've always wanted: the iTV.

Picture this:

A gorgeous, iTV that serves up live and recorded TV and all of your other media to all of your iDevices (Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV) all the time wrapped in an elegant , integrated interface that only Cupertino can deliver.

Your Macs all become TVs. Your iPhone becomes a TV. Your iPad becomes a TV. Want to add the best cable box ever to any of your existing HDTVs? Just add a $99 Apple TV.

Who wouldn't buy this?

How easy would this be for Apple to do?

Goodbye TiVo, goodbye Slingbox, goodbye crappy cable company cable boxes. Hello iTV.

Maybe someday we can even say goodbye to the cable providers and pay them to be the big dumb data pipes they were always meant to be. A guy can dream.

What do you think?

UPDATE #1: To all the cable haters. I hate them too. Whatever the technology, I think that the first Apple TV will elegantly integrate your existing cable and/or OTA TV. I don't see any way they can get the content providers to turn their backs on cable without the installed base.