Is An App Store-Equipped Apple HDTV A Game Changer?

Last night, I was sitting in my living room thinking about what I should watch, and I decided to browse Netflix. But rather than fire up my Apple TV or turn my PlayStation 3 on, I simply clicked over to it from the apps marketplace available through my HDTV. I then started sifting through its library of content.

As I did so, I started thinking about Apple. In that split-second decision about which device I would watch Netflix on, I chose my television over the Apple TV, even though the latter's Netflix app is just as good. It was a decision based solely on the fact that I didn't want to change inputs.

Although this was just a single event, it was awfully telling. The Apple TV isn't the solution for the living room that Apple needs. Quite the contrary, the proper solution is the company's long-rumored television, complete with access to Apple's App Store.

The way I see it, having the App Store available in a television would be enough for Apple to reign supreme in the living room. The television would undoubtedly feature high-quality specs that should put it on an even playing field with some of the other top televisions in the market. But the addition of the applications marketplace would be the trump card Apple would need.

See, many of the top TV vendors in the industry have applications available for their televisions. But in the vast majority of cases, worthwhile programs are few and far between.

Apple has the ability to change that. Its App Store is the favorite of developers around the world. And there's a good chance that after just a few months, the company could easily bring a slew of worthwhile apps to its TV App Store that would put all other marketplaces, including Samsung's, which has been seeing stable growth over the last several months, in the junk heap.

Right now, TV makers are only doing enough to bring some apps to the television market. The time has come for one company to dramatically revolutionize the use of applications in the living room. And the way I see it, the only company capable of doing that will be Apple.

Of course, I will fully admit that there will be pitfalls along the way. And content providers might be loath to deliver programs to the App Store for fear of hurting their traditional business model. But Apple has a tendency to get content providers to do things they seemingly don't want to do. And that can't be underestimated.

If televisions are going to live up to their role as the center of our living room experience, they need to have better (and more) apps. And although companies like Samsung are doing a fine job, I'm a firm believer that Apple might be the only company that can really deliver what consumers are really after.