iTV Hardware speculation

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by AuricBlue, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. AuricBlue macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2007
    We'll probably find out soon what the iTV runs on, but I was thinking about some things. What are it's guts? What is a "slimmed down OS X"? Here are my ideas...

    Hardware - (basically a slimmed down Mini):
    Core (2) Solo - plenty of power for high def video (especially with assisted video acceleration)

    128 - 256 MB RAM (maybe less, maybe none, see storage)

    Simple 2D accelerated only or maybe mini style Intel GMA950 depending on price

    Small firmware for bootstrapping and updating over a network.
    1 - 8 GB flash storage (for slimmed down OS X and maybe even RAM depending on speed, and size dependent on how big the OS is)
    Probably no hard drive (content is streamed from Mac or maybe even PC iTunes)

    These seem pretty much well known, ethernet, video, etc...

    Ok, now to the slimmed down OS X:
    Keep the kernel, Darwin (Driver kit, Network stack, etc...), Window Server, and Cocoa and/or Carbon, QuickTime, CoreImage, CoreAnimation, CoreVideo and possibly WebKit.

    Lose Java, maybe Cocoa or Carbon, Spotlight, Dashboard, Speech services (even though voice activated movie control would be cool), tablet input, accessability, handwriting recognition, and all the standard apps. Basically toss everything not involved with GUI, graphics & video, networking, basic foundation classes, and simple input (i.e. remote control, keyboard and mouse.)

    I'm not too intimate with the OS's underpinnings, so I probably forgot to mention something. The trimmed OS would only be a couple of GB, a T1600 "Yonah" Core Solo 1.6 GHz cpu is only $135 at, so Apple would surely pay less. I think that $300 is an easy target with the specs I've listed.

    Of course, I could be wrong, it could be a beefed up iPod design (iPods can play H.264 video) or an entirely new platform.


  2. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
  3. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

    Jan 29, 2006
    Also, the Disney president I believe said that it would have a small harddrive for local storage so keep that in mind.
  4. Daveway macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2004
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    A slimmed down version of OSX like you're speaking of could probably come in under a gigabyte.

    The iTV would likely have more horsepower than intel's cheapest video card. Apple "plans" for this thing to be pushing full 1080p over HDMI. I think Apple will use a simple ARM processor as the CPU and just dump heavy video processing, which is all this thing does, to the video card.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You've listed some very high specs. Apple's cost to built this will have to be in the $100 range if it is to retail for $300. I think it will more resemble a scaled up Airport base station router then a scaled down Mini Why an Intel "Core" processor? I'd expect them to use an ARM. That's what's inside the iPod and the routers.

    Think of iTV as a video pod with a user supplied screen, very limited storage (only enough to buffer of some video) and a wireless link replacing the USB cable.

    As for reduced sized Mac OS X. Mac OS is just BSD UNIX. Back when BSD was new (How many MR readers remember that?) a computer with a megabyte of RAM was unreasonable, RAM was measured in kilobytes not MB, not GB. So yes BSD can fit in a small space no "new magic" required. There is loads of crude you can compile out of the kernel. For example all of the file systems HFS+, FAT, NTFS, UFS, NFS, ..., much of the network stack A stripped kernal could run in a couple megebytes of RAM.
  6. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    if were going to speculate then

    cpu - intel xscale 624mhz (iirc thats the fastest) - if needed
    memory - 2gb-8gb (possibly more than one version maybe)
    gpu - nvidia goforce 5500 with 32mb vram - it can manage h.264

    the rest is connecting it all together and fitting in wifi, psu, audio/video connectors and any heatsinks etc required

    Obviously running on a custom os, maybe the slimmed down version which would be stored on a solidstate memory similar to current windows mobile pda's.
  7. AuricBlue thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2007
    iTV Hardware Speculation

    Ok, to reply to some comments...

    Daveway wrote:
    IIRC even the GMA 950 has plenty of horsepower to drive Apple's 23" monitor. To quote apple's mini spec page on the mini: "DVI video output to support digital resolutions up to 1920 by 1200 pixels"

    High Def video is 1920x1080 so this shouldn't be a problem, but I'm not an HDMI video expert.

    ChrisA wrote:
    Wow! a 200% profit margin! really? I don't know the exact details, but Apple's profit margins aren't what they were in the 80's. I thought (and we're dealing with an unreliable :) memory) that profit margins on the lower end macs are more like 5-15%. Mac Pros might make 20 to 30%. It seems more reasonable that Apple's target manufacturing price would be closer to $250. Then again, I'm no expert.

    That said, I could see how it would be easy for Apple to use the iPod video as a framework for the iTV. Using a low power processor and not even a chipset from ATi or nVidia. A special ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) chip could decode the digital video stream and turn it into an HDMI or NTSC video signal. Similar to how the iPod video contains acircuitry to have a video out port.

    The iTV seems similar to the Roku PhotoBridge HD which runs on a modified Linux, plays video over a network and outputs 1080i via component cables. The PhotoBridge worked for photos just fine but had problems. They don't seem to sell it anymore, but it used be around $300.

    I'm just hoping they make it upgradeable/customizable so other developers can write software for it or Apple themselves can add unseen future functionality.

    Anyway, I am excited about the iTV, and I don't have money for one, so I'm just gonna roll my own HTPC outta used parts I have.

  8. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    That's not exactly how profit margin is calculated. There are a lot of other things that have to be accounted for, not just for the price of the parts. Things like R&D, labor, facilities, bribes, kickbacks, etc.

    When all of these things are factored, I would speculate that the iTV's margins would be somewhere between the iPods and Macs.

  9. AuricBlue thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2007
    Hehehehe :D I hope not!

  10. Mac'Mo macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2006
  11. joshwest macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2005
    I can't seem to find the picutres online but I have a catalog that has the "LinkTheater™ Wireless A&G Network Media Player made by BUFFALO" in it with some screenshots. It has the same idea as the ITV minus a few cool apple like things but the screenshots of the Interface on the TV is the exact same interface as Steve show'd on the last Keynote for iTV pretty weird.

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