Throw Out Them Bunny Ears

We’ve written before about how dramatically the intersection of television and computers — particularly through IPTV and satcom– will transform the media marketplace and the media consumption habits of ordinary people.

That transformation is several steps closer to reality, if news of new gadgets today is any indication.

First up is the DirecTV Plus HD DVR — the result of a partnership between DirecTV and Intel:

[I]n other news to come out of the Intel Developers Forum, DirecTV and Intel are joining forces to produce the DirecTV Plus HD DVR — which we first heard about all the way back at CES — allowing viewers to check out content via the interweb when connected to a Viiv PC. In addition, there will be a new software update for DirecTV subscribers by the end of the year that turns subscribers’ set-top-boxes into digital media adapters, the companies said in a press release earlier today. The new DVR, to be released later this fall, will capture 200 hours of standard definition programming or 50 hours of HD, or whatever combination of the two your little heart desires.

CNET also reports that Apple’s iTV wireless router — connecting TV to PC or Mac — will be coming out soon:

 Apple Computer’s take on the living room became a little clearer… with its preview of a new networking product….

CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple is working on a product code-named iTV that will allow both Mac and PC users to watch movies or television shows purchased from the iTunes store in their living rooms….

The iTV box won’t be available until the first quarter of 2007, but Jobs said it will cost $299 and walked attendees at Apple’s press event in San Francisco through a brief demonstration of its capabilities.

The iTV unit is basically a wireless router with ports for video connections to televisions, including an HDMI port for high-definition digital televisions. The idea is to hook it up to a television or set-top box as another video input device, and access video content stored on a Mac or PC through a special Apple remote control, Jobs said.

And if neither Apple nor DirecTV whet your whistle in anticipation of the coming transformation in consumer media choice, AT&T’s U-Verse fiber-based television service is set to offer some cool options, according to Engadget

 U-verse users, meet HDTV. We just got word that AT&T’s IPTV service is going to be blessed with numerous upgrades within the next few weeks that will include HDTV support, more channels, more VOD, games, personal photos and other unannounced features. This rollout seems to be within the same speculated time frame of October 25th to coincide with the launch of those brand spanking new Motorola DVR’s; whenever it does happen, though, these features will be implemented during the slow viewing times between 11 PM and 5 AM with the hope of minimizing service interruption. On a similar note, AT&T is upgrading DVRs to prep for this rollout, with customers seeing all previously recorded programs erased and all scheduled recordings canceled after October 5th. But keep in mind this is for high-def along with more content, so hopefully the ends will justify the means — you can deal with a few Adult Swim-free nights for the greater good, right?

 The times, they certainly are a-changin’.