Apple plus Google equals big returns for TV makers

Just the market presence of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) TV and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV should be good news for TV set makers like Samsung, who for years have built and sold units that resemble the Alaskan bridge to nowhere: They had network connections but no network content.

Of course, the dynamic duo are probably just door openers. Apple TV, for instance, uses yet another set-top box, and there is no reason to believe the consuming public wants another box. Apple also has a past history of going it alone--literally--which makes it tough for those who might want to be a little iNdependent. Google TV offers more opportunity for the TV set makers, but in the end Google is based on an Android operating system and that's getting some heat from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) that might make set makers take a second look before jumping.

Once Apple and Google have paved the way for consumers to see the value of apps on their televisions, "smaller vendors who have been considered marginal now have a chance to quickly expand and possibly snatch a new market away from the giants," argued Erik Sherman in a BNET item. The question left unanswered is if those applications will be enough to drive a new media segment or will just be TV set features like the ability to watch photos via a flash card.

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