A better way to position Apple TV: Photo station

June 8, 2007, 9:02 AM UTC

I had some meetings with Canon (CAJ) yesterday about cameras and camcorders, and while chatting with one of their technical guys I realized how Apple (AAPL) could better position its slow-selling Apple TV. Rather than sell it as a device for viewing standard-definition video on high-definition TVs – a substandard experience – Apple should sell it as a beautiful way to view photos and audio slideshows.

The realization came to me after the technical specialist told me this is how he uses his Apple TV at home. He offloads his photos onto his Mac upstairs, then goes downstairs to watch them with other people on his high-definition TV.

Suddenly it all made sense. Photos, even high-resolution photos, can move over a wireless network much faster than video can. And with an Apple TV box, people wouldn’t have to bother bringing storage cards into the living room to share photos with friends; all of the well-organized photos on the computer would just appear on the TV, organized just as well.

To pull this off well, Apple would need to develop and release a Windows version of its iPhoto software, which would be the main conduit pushing images from the PC to the Apple TV box. Right now you can sync photos from a PC using a folder on your hard drive, but that’s a clumsy solution. By bundling together iTunes and iPhoto, Apple could both expand its influence over the PC media management process, and also give Apple TV a nice boost.

Since most of the content that will be available through Apple TV – especially the YouTube videos coming this month – will be in standard definition or lower, there’s no point in mandating that customers have the very best equipment and cables to view it.