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Analysts predict all-in-one Apple TV in 2012

Apple inks deal with TV listing company Rovi, a sign that Apple is getting serious about televisions, say Piper Jaffray analysts.


Apple inked a deal with Rovi today that could potentially see the firm's TV listings guide make its way to future Apple products.

Rovi, which was formerly known as Macrovision before the company officially changed its name in 2009, provides TV guide listings to hardware vendors. The company's technology allows users to sift through programming, find shows, and record programs to a DVR.

Exact details of Rovi's deal with Apple are unknown, but analysts at Piper Jaffray believe the licensed services will be making their way to the Apple TV and eventually, an all-in-one Apple television.

According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and two other analysts at the firm, Apple's deal with Rovi provides "further evidence that Apple is developing live TV and DVR features for its Apple TV product." The analysts went on to say in their note to investors that the deal makes Apple "clear to add live TV, DVR, and guidance features to its Apple TV product."

However, the recently revealed Apple TV does not boast any onboard storage. Some sort of local storage would be required to add DVR functionality to the device. Andrew Murphy, one of the analysts who worked on the note, said in a phone conversation that the functionality could potentially be added to "a future Apple TV product."

But the new Apple TV is a stepping stone for something much greater, Munster and his cohorts contend. They said a more capable Apple TV "is another step in the direction of an all-in-one Apple television." In fact, over the next couple years, the analysts believe the company's new Apple TV, which boasts television show and movie streaming, as well as Netflix content, will attract more customers than its predecessor, potentially setting the stage for a television.

The Piper Jaffray analysts estimate that Apple has been selling about 400,000 Apple TV units since its launch in 2007. Going forward, the new Apple TV will sell 1.5 million units during its first year of availability, they said in the note.

Using those sales to justify its future plans, Apple will finally release an all-in-one television during the 2012 calendar year, the analysts said. They believe that the company is waiting on consumers to "gain comfort with connected TVs and apps on their TVs." At that time, it will deliver its "all-in-one philosophy to the digital living room like it has with the iMac and the iTunes ecosystem."

But before all that can happen, Apple needs to get its set-top box onto store shelves. The Apple TV is scheduled to launch later this month. It will retail for $99.