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Is Apple secretly working with Miglia?

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When I was at Macworld Expo in January, I witnessed an unexpected meeting between a Miglia executive and an Apple executive, but didn’t think too much of it until this week.

What happened this week is that Elgato, home of the EyeTV software that Miglia uses in concert with its hardware products, pulled its license from Miglia. This comes on the heels of Apple removing all Miglia products from the online Apple Store. Both strange and unexpected developments made me recall an event I witnessed at Macworld Expo.

While I was at Miglia’s booth checking out their products and talking to their representatives, I saw a Miglia executive approached by a lady who identified herself as being with Apple. She said she was there to introduce him to someone else at Apple who was her European counterpart. Sure enough, another gentleman made his way through the exhibit hall crowd and they all left the booth to go have a meeting together.

Though largely overshadowed by the iPhone, the AppleTV was a big story at Macworld Expo. But one of the criticisms of the product has been that it does not record television. Miglia’s products do. In addition, the Apple TV is designed largely for high definition televisions. And at Expo, Miglia was showing off its HDTV recording capabilities. Finally, the AppleTV has a USB port. When I asked the Apple reps at Expo what it was for, I was told “The official line is that it is for servicing.” Uh-huh. And maybe it could be used to plug in external devices like iPods, digital cameras or … Miglia’s TVMini HD.

31 Responses to “Is Apple secretly working with Miglia?”

  1. Simon

    A what about us in the rest of the world who can’t buy any content from the apple store. kink of makes the apple tv useless to me.

  2. smokeonit

    appleTv processor is not fast enuff for miniTV HD… i have a miniTV HD myself and know what i talk about!

    unless miglia rebuilds the HDTV ATSc tuner with onbaord decoding of the transport stream this ain’t gonna happen!

    and why should apple work with miglia and not elgato???

    elgato and apple have a much longer realtionship than miglia… and elgato products are much better quality!

  3. Scott Young

    “If it won’t record then noone will buy it?” Well the iPod doesn’t record, yet everyone buys it. Apple doesn’t create devices that does everything, it just does 1-2 things that we want the most, to watch our videos and movies on a real tv instead of a computer screen.

  4. Matt Hoult

    I think that the opinion that Apple needs to sell through iTunes rather than simply saying “hey, check out this product” or eve “hey, look how you can get our shows for a one off hardware fee” has been beaten to death, but let me say something about Miglia.

    I don’t have a lot of experience with many of Miglia’s products, but I do with their old MediaBanks and these are simply the very worst Mac product I have ever had the dis-pleasure to use. I hope Apple aren’t getting cosey with them for any reason, I certainly won’t be using a Miglia product again given the choice.

  5. All the Miglia/EyeTV files below play very well on my mac Mini. All I need is a plug-in for Quicktime… Remember that 60 interlaced fields = 29.97 frames.

    NBC HD(1080i)cable QAM file I captured using EyeTV shows this:
    Video Tracks:
    2112 MPEG-2, 1920 × 1080, 16:9, 29.97 fps, 18.97 Mbps, upper field first
    Audio Tracks:
    2113 AC3 2/0, 48 kHz, 384 kbps

    A CBS HD file also 1080i shows this:
    Video Tracks:
    49 MPEG-2, 1920 × 1080, 16:9, 29.97 fps, 65.00 Mbps, upper field first
    Audio Tracks:
    52 AC3 2/0, 48 kHz, 192 kbps

    Fox 720p:
    Video Tracks:
    97 MPEG-2, 1280 × 720, 16:9, 59.94 fps, 19.00 Mbps, progressive
    Audio Tracks:
    100 AC3 2/0, 48 kHz, 384 kbps

  6. Interesting idea, I think it’s interesting that the AppleTV is listed next to the iPods on the Apple Store, it’s no accident that they are grouped together. It seems like a very good way to ensure that the AppleTV has some form of success like the iPod by having a big third party supplier of devices that can plug into and enhance the AppleTV.

    Miglia would fit well as a provider in that area, and if their products are intended to complement the AppleTV then they’ll work well with iTunes (or any other Apple Software) and therefore wouldn’t need the Elgato software.

    That said, the tone of Elgato’s press release of the ‘termination’ of the agreement does appear quite strongly worded.

  7. If Apple could offer a system where I could watch any show on cable on-demand (without having to pay $1.99 a shot) then that would be huge for me. Why mess around with setting up and configuring a DVR if I could just fire up my Apple TV and watch the episode of Lost from last night that I missed? When you stop and think about it, most people who have a DVR are probably recording the same set of shows anyways. My cable company offers movies on demand, why don’t they offer TV shows on demand?

  8. There is a flaw in the idea of using either the Elgato or the Miglia with AppleTV for DVR functionality.

    The AppleTV will not play 1080i60 or 720p60 MPEG2 formats – the only two HD formats used in over teh air digital broadcasts.

    And that is a shame.

  9. Cable tv is less than 20 dollars per month here, why would i even want an Apple TV ?

    i use 3 eyeTV tuners, connected to one mac with the largest screen, that’s a lot better than the Apple TV + a TV.

    using the mac as a TV makes much more sense to me than buying a device that does nothing else than to connect a mac to a TV that’ i don’t even have !

  10. Matthew

    It is $50 a month for cable TV in my area. $50 a month = $600 a year to watch anything. I don’t watch everything though. So for the same $600 I could by 17 season passes of iTunes TV shows. Further ad to that, ABC gives away their news shows for free over podcast. I think that is compelling. Not for everyone. I am not a channel surfer, and I spend little time in front of the TV. I am out, on the internet, reading, far more than I watch TV.

    Now add to this device, the streaming of music, and photos. You will see this is a compelling device. It is not for everyone, just as a iPod with video is not for everyone, but I will be very surprised if in a few years this is not a huge success.

  11. Tyler Lemke

    I like having a lot of channels to surf. I stumble upon shows I enjoy without knowing ahead of time they even existed. This morning I watched a great documentary about the Spartans.
    Yes, I could save $xx per month by not subscribing to cable and then spend the money on iTunes subscriptions for the shows I like to watch. But I would be missing out on shows that are not on iTunes and only on odd ball cable channels.

    My cost could easily get out of control. $xx for cable per month, $xx per show subscription on iTunes/AppleTV, and now a DVR subscription to Miglia/El Gato. I need to simplify my life, not make it more complicated and expensive.

    Apple is heading in the right direction, but it will be a couple of years until all of the pieces full into place.

  12. I thought it was Apple buying out El Gato. If memory serves me right, did not the former CEO of El Gato become the head of Apple Germany back in late 2005?

  13. Gary Allen

    Ah…maybe it’s the other way around: Apple is buying El Gato. That seems to make more sense to me, since they have both pieces of the video puzzle.

  14. Bill Mac

    From The Mac Observer…

    Miglia Announces TVMax+ TV Tuner and Recorder
    by Jeff Gamet, 8:35 AM EDT, March 16th, 2007

    Miglia Technology announced the immediate availability of the TVMax+ TV tuner and recorder on Friday. The TVMax+ supports analog cable and antenna signals, captures programs in real-time as MPEG-4, records content to iTunes for transfer to an iPod or AppleTV, digitizes VHS tapes to DVD in real-time, is compatible with tvtv and TitanTV, includes coaxial and Composite S-Video inputs, and connects to your Mac via USB 2.0.

  15. I WANT cable. Millions of channels of junk for $50 pm. Man, if I got only the shows I WANTED to see, I wouldn’t watch so much TV, and I would have to get a life.

  16. Tedious

    ATSC tuners for AppleTV, much like FM tuners for iPods and Parallels for Mac are the security blankets people need to buy Apple Gear.

    Sounds to me like Apple is buying Elgato and wants to discuss
    Front Row / AppleTV compatibility with Miglia.

    Let’s speculate more!

  17. Stefanov

    Apple wants people to purchase shows from the iTunes stores – period. AppleTV gets those shows onto your TV, helping to sell more shows at $1.99 a pop. It’s really a new paradigm in how we consume television – instead of buying a cable subscription at $50/month, you could buy season passes to just the shows you want and save a bundle of money. In internet terms, Apple is disintermediating the cable companies. While it makes sense from a consumer standpoint that Apple would allow a third party TV tuner to attach, if you put yourself in their extremely well focused business shoes it doesn’t make sense.

    I’m with Joslyn as to the Elgato/Miglia rift. Having some history with software companies, my guess is there’s some very delinquent monies owed, nice words got nowhere, threatening legal letters got products pulled from Apple and terse public statements say the rest. I know the Elgato team are good, old time Mac guys, so it must be something fairly serious for them to go down this path. Hopefully the 2 companies will resolve their issues.

  18. Harry Haller

    While I agree with the statement that the real beauty of the iTV is the bypassing of broadcast TV I’m pretty confident that they’d sell a lot more of them a lot faster if there was DVR functionality. I’ve heard this out of many of my friends who are pretty tech savvy. It’s still a bit hard to convince people that we’ll soon be getting all of our media as a la carte downloads. Adding DVR would help bridge that gap. However I don’t believe Apple will do it officially because they have to try to keep big media happy. That said a allowing little 3rd party add ons seems like a very cunning and Steve-like way to increase the functionality of this product, much like with iPod accessories.

  19. The removal of Miglia devices from the Apple Store came prior to Elgato pulling the license.

    As regards adding DVR functionality to Apple TV being “looking backward,” I don’t consider high definition television “looking backward” And there is currently no way to watch high definition television using the Apple TV. The shows purchased from Apple are in a resolution lower than DVD quality.

  20. I’m not sure you aren’t connecting unrelated events. First of all — if Miglia lost the Elgato license to the software, there’s a good chance it would have to be pulled from Apple stores. So, those events are one and the same. (One caused the other, not some imagined event.)

    As for the meeting, who knows. People meet up all the time at those things. They’re in the same industry.. People always want to schmooze, meet, trade business cards. No big deal.

    I’ve heard a lot of people hoping for Apple to add DVR functinality to Apple TV, but I don’t see how this makes sense at all. That’s looking backwards, at old delivery systems. Apple TV is forward-looking — oneo f the first great examples of “over the top” delivery and cable-bypass programming.

    It’s a step up, not a hack for old technology.

    – Joslyn