Steve Jobs's last great gadget: the all-purpose 'iTV'
It's a one-box-fits-all solution that could eliminate the need for multiple devices, yards of cable and numerous remote controls cluttering up the living room.
Technology guru Steve Jobs planned to revolutionise our television experience by releasing an 'iTV' as early as next year, a new biography claims.
Gone would be a DVD player and television with accompanying wires and cables. Instead, just one device would offer tv, the internet, music and video feeds and allow viewers to watch television, email their friends and update their social network pages all at once.
"I finally cracked it," the biography quotes the late Apple founder as saying. He added that the planned device was "simple and elegant", much like the iPod and iPhone, and would be launched as early as next year.
Home entertainment has come a long way since families waited for the box in the corner of the living room to warm up before getting a fuzzy signal.
The roll-out of the video recorder in the 1980s allowed movies to be rented and favourite tv shows to be taped. Then came the higher-quality DVD player and Blu-Ray, while the introduction of DVR (digital video recording) means that live programmes can be paused and favourite shows recorded, without the need for a separate box.
And Apple isn't the only company looking to improve our television experience.
Google plans to launch Google TV next year, allowing viewers to watch shows or movies of their choice on demand via a subscription service.
Personal radio stations could be created with music videos streamed from websites such as Napster (but probably not Apple's iTunes store), while videos and pictures from smartphones could be viewed on the big screen.
Some experts believe that TVs of the future will be operated by voice commands, meaning remote controls could become a thing of the past.
Aertv.ie, which offers free Irish channels on computers and smartphones along with Facebook and Twitter feeds, says the future will see just one box in the living room which will give viewers the ability to comment in real time on big TV events like the X Factor, sports and news.
"Ireland is leading the way in this stuff, in that TV channels are available free online," company director Philippe Broduer said.
"One of the things is that tv has always been a social event. We talk about it with our friends, and we found that when people watch shows like X Factor they like to talk about it in real time. They tweet and are on Facebook while the show is on. In Aertv we allow this to be done on a single page on your PC, laptop or phone.
"It makes tv interactive. In the future televisions will simply plug into the wall. The likes of Xtravision will modify their delivery system. Rather than having to give out a physical DVD, they'll lend it online."