Apple TV networking with YouTube for video content

Site's full catalog will be available

YouTube content is coming to a TV near you.

Apple Inc. said Wednesday that users of its new Apple TV will have access to YouTube videos that they can wirelessly stream directly from the viral-video site to their television set when the software update is made available in mid-June.

The announcement was made at the All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, the event gathers those at the forefront of the digital world and features panels focusing on the latest topics in digital technology.

"YouTube is a worldwide sensation, and Apple TV is bringing it directly from the Internet onto the widescreen TV in your living room," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said.

YouTube will add thousands of videos each week until the site's entire video catalog is available in the fall, and Apple TV users will be able to search for specific videos using the Apple TV interface.

YouTube members also will have the ability to sign in to their YouTube account through Apple TV.

Designed in the form of a set-top box, Apple TV serves as a network device that plays digital content from any Mac OS X or Windows computer through iTunes and onto newer TV screens. Apple is reaching beyond iTunes content by collaborating with YouTube.

Some observers see Apple TV as a future threat to the cable and satellite television model where users can pay a la carte for TV and movies and, soon, enjoy Internet video free and on-demand on a big screen. An Apple TV-YouTube hookup is a step in that direction.

"It's competition in the sense that all leisurely Internet surfing is competition for TV," said analyst Phillip Swann, president of TVPredictions.com. "But don't assume people will want to see YouTube on TV if, to accomplish this great thing, you have to purchase a set-top box."

While Internet content on TV is expected to be prevalent some day, Swann sees the usual gatekeepers making it happen, perhaps led by Comcast and DirecTV, not Apple TV or TiVo, which also is aggressively trying to make it happen.

TiVo recently announced its technology for searching out Internet content much in the same way its users seek TV programming.

In addition, Apple plans to introduce a 160 GB version of Apple TV, with four times the storage of the original version.

Apple also introduced its DRM-free, higher-quality digital music store in an update to the iTunes service, called iTunes Plus. The new iTunes tier will feature music with no DRM protection technology and 256 kbps file sizes for $1.29 per track, compared with the DRM-protected 128 kbps files sold on the existing iTunes service for 99 cents per track.

Billboard's Antony Bruno in Denver contributed to this report.
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