By Carl HoweI speculated a few days ago that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may buy Miglia to add DVR capabilities to its Apple TV set-top box. Yes, the Miglia TVMini HD+ makes a killer add-on to the Apple TV, but today, I realized that there are three more reasons why Apple should be buying the company, or at least reselling their TVMini product:
1. Today's Register Hardware article entitled Apple to revamp iMac as HD TV? reminded me that since the Miglia TVMini HD+ is a USB 2.0 device, it would be the perfect device to add HDTV to any iMac and turn it into the best small HDTV on the market. Not only would current flat-panel iMacs make wonderful high-resolution TVs to hang on your wall or put in your office, but they'd provide the perfect whole-house DVR solution, since any computer in the house could stream the recorded HDTV shows using iTunes. Such a device would out-TiVO even a Series 3 TiVO device in multi-computer households -- and wouldn't cost much more either.
2. Miglia's add-on HDTV recording solution means that one iMac design could support US, European, and Asian TV standards. Apple is fanatical about keeping the number of configurations of its computers to a minimum for manufacturing and inventory efficiency. Using a USB device to accommodate multiple TV standards means that the iMac would truly be a "world HDTV", something that just isn't possible with today's fixed function HDTVs.
3. HDTV content providers would suddenly have huge incentives to sign up with Apple's iTunes Store. At the moment, Apple only has a few studios providing content for the iTunes Store and almost no HDTV content. But as soon as consumers can start recording HDTV broadcasts and sharing those files in their homes, it won't be long before those same digital files show up on BitTorrent sites. Apple then has a very Godfather-like proposition for the studios: Distribute your content on iTunes and get paid for that distribution, or pirates will do your HDTV distribution for free. While not on a par with waking up to a dead horse, studio executives would understand the message as an offer they couldn't refuse.
When will we know if Apple is going this direction? Well, based upon my reading of the entrails of a recently sacrificed Sony PC, I see strong omens for an announcement in the next few weeks. Apple TV buyers have just received notices that their boxes are shipping, meaning that they'll get opportunities to see what works in their USB ports in just a few days. And we still hear rumors that Leopard, which may include new feature support for Apple TV functions, will ship either on March 24, the sixth anniversary of the original release of Mac OS X, or on April 1, the thirty-first anniversary of Apple Computer's founding by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.