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Apple's iTV Intriguing but Not a Core Business

Indeed, in some ways, existing technology is cheaper, easier and better than what iTV or other digital living room products can offer. Downloading a single feature length movie from iTunes will take at least 30 minutes -- under optimal conditions.

Many consumers may find that their local Blockbuster (BBI) or Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) is a lot closer than that, and they can get a selection of DVDs at the same time.

And consumers get a lot more with a DVD that they won't get with an iTunes movie. Most DVDs include extras such as documentaries and outtakes that don't come with digital downloads. And while DVDs work on every DVD player, iTunes-purchased movies will only play on Apple's iPods and iTV, as well as on computer's via Apple's software.

Then there are devices that offer similar functions at a cheaper price. Want to play your digital music and view your digital photos in your living room? Apple itself offers a cable that plugs into your iPod and does just that for just $20 -- or less than one-tenth the expected $300 price of iTV.

iTV also could see significant competition from Sony (SNE - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). Both companies have new video-game consoles that can be used as living room media hubs.

Unlike Apple's iTV, both devices will be on store shelves this holiday season, and sales of both are expected to be in the millions of units, if only for their video-game functions.

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