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Monday, June 04, 2012, 07:49 am PT (10:49 am ET)

Brightcove CEO expects Apple TV add-on for FaceTime, motion control

In addition to a full-fledged television set, the CEO of Internet video provider Brightcove also expects Apple to release a thin black bar that will add FaceTime video chat and motion control to existing, non-Apple televisions.

The new product would ditch the current "puck" design used by the Apple TV set-top box, Brightcove Chief Executive Jeremy Allaire speculated in an editorial published Monday by All Things D. He envisions an accessory about an inch tall and 3 inches wide that could be easily mounted to the top of any brand of HDTV.

"Like the existing Apple TV, it will have HDMI and power jacks on the back, but it will also include a high-def camera built into its face, as well as an embedded iOS environment that provides motion-sensing and speech processing," Allaire wrote.

This theoretical accessory is based on Allaire's belief that Apple's focus in the living room will not be in selling a full-fledged television set. Instead, he believes Apple will continue to advance its iOS platform and find ways to easily integrate it into users' living rooms.

In addition to a black bar compatible with any HDTV, Allaire believes Apple also plans on "dipping their toe into the actual TV monitor business." He expects that a full-fledged television set from Apple would offer capabilities identical to the hypothetical black bar accessory, but the full TV would also feature Apple's own design and form factor.

"Why would they do this when it is such an established market with such long replacement cycles?" he wrote. "In short, because they can, and it will be gorgeous and include the latest innovations in display technology, and will sell at a premium price that ensures a reasonable gross margin for Apple."

Television


Based in Cambridge, Mass., Brightcove is an online video platform that serves major clients like The New York Times and Time. Its products offer HTTP Live Streaming for iOS devices, and can also allow content providers to convert video available in Adobe Flash to iOS-compatible HTML5.

Rumors of an Apple television continue to persist, and even picked up some steam last week following Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's appearance at the D10 conference. During an onstage interview with journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Cook said that although the Apple TV set-top box remains a "hobby," a refresh of the product to deliver 1080p video content helped sales reach 2.7 million so far in 2012.

"We're going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us," Cook said of the Apple TV's role in the living room.

Last Friday, analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said he believes an Apple television is now a matter of "when," and not "if." He expects Apple will unveil the product later this year and launch it in the first half of 2013, with a price between $1,500 and $2,000 for screen sizes between 42 and 55 inches.