Would You Buy an Apple Brand HDTV?

You've heard of Apple TV, the $99 set-top box that allows you to rent movies and TV shows, watch Netflix titles, and stream photos and music from your home network to your living room television set. But what would you think about an Internet-connected HDTV built and branded by Apple?

According to online chatter, this is exactly what Apple is working on, with a potential release date set for sometime before the end of 2011. And why not? The LCD TV market is a $100 billion industry, and with Apple's ability to mass market trendy devices, would it really be so difficult for Apple to infiltrate our living rooms next?

This could all turn out to be much ado about nothing, but according to analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities, there were several "data points" dropped at an electronics trade show in China that point toward Apple releasing a full-fledged TV set.

"Our research suggests this Smart TV would go well beyond the miniature $99 second-generation Apple TV that the company released last fall and provide a full-blown TV product for consumers...The combination of Apple's powerful ecosystem, industrial design savvy, powerful brand, and ability to reinvent product categories could make Apple a powerful force in the TV world over the next few years."

Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, has been saying for some time that Apple would eventually introduce an Internet-connected HDTV, with a likely starting price of around $2,000. If any of this turns out to be true, it will be interesting to see how Apple proceeds, and whether or not the planned obsolescence model would be part of the package, as it is with many of Apple's products.