[opendtv] Re: Why Apple doesn't sell televisions
- From: Craig Birkmaier <brewmastercraig@xxxxxxxxxx>
- To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:10:14 -0500
On Feb 11, 2016, at 9:33 PM, Manfredi, Albert E
Craig Birkmaier wrote:
This is a very interesting article...not a Apple "Fan Boy" piece.
It is about technology leverage and the future of TV.
Just another company potentially looking for royalties, Craig. Nothing
unusual at all.
Leave it to Bert to miss the forrest for the trees...
What was RCA Bert?
What did Sarnoff do that allowed RCA to prosper from consumer electronics for
most of the 20th Century?
The author of this piece is trying to find a role for Apple, or it could have
been anyone else but he seems to be an Apple fan, and thinks that Apple could
buy up the HDR intellectual property to obtain some sort of leverage in
UHDTV, without actually building anything.
Exactly. That's what Dolby does Bert. They invent critical technologies then
license them. It is a very legitimate business model, not the rip-off version
of IP blackmail associated with Patent Trolls.
But Apple DOES build things, and pays out healthy sums to license Dolby
technologies. HDR will be a critical technology for every device Apple builds
in the future that has a display, or processes pixels. TVs are but one
Sarnoff managed to get all kinds of standards adopted in the broadcast
industry, starting with AM radio. Color TV may have been the last major RCA
achievement - royalties on color TVs were a huge cash cow. Sarnoff Labs
continues to operate using a business model almost identical to Dolby.
Dolby has done quite well with its licensing model. Their logo is at the end of
every motion picture. It is on almost every consumer electronics product that
processes audio. Their technology is essential to the audio codecs (AC3) in the
ATSC standard, and the audio sub-systems of DVB.
Dolby is pulling in about $1 billion annually licensing their inventions. As
Cringely points out, control of their patent portfolio creates significant
leverage. I believe he is correct, stating that control of the standards for
HDR will be as significant, possibly more significant than RCA's color TV
We're not just talking about TVs. This will impact every display in every
device manufactured in the future - smartphones, tablets, computers et al. One
can argue that HDR is more important in these devices than TVs, given the size
of the markets involved.
No more interesting that what Zenith did with 8T-VSB, is it?
Far more interesting - without the FCC mandate on ATSC tuners, the VSB patents
would have been of little value. Both Zenith AND Dolby benefitted from the
VSB is now almost worthless, as the patents are expiring and the world has
moved on to OFDM based transmission systems. Zenith is now the U.S. research
and licensing subsidiary of Korea's LG Electronics.
I agree with Cringely that acquiring Dolby makes a lot of sense for Apple. Even
if Dolby does not win the standards battle for HDR, the audio patents fit well
with Beats, and the Dolby R&D team would be a huge asset, not to mention it's
headquarters are located in San Francisco.
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