Cook: Apple television is an ‘area of intense interest’

NBC’s much hyped interview with Tim Cook is scheduled to air today at 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific time. The network has posted a preview of the show containing Cook’s interesting comment on the state of the elusive and long-rumored Apple television set. In it, Apple’s chief executive likened the Apple TV project and the living room to an “area of intense interest”, but refused to provide any more details.

Remembering how Steve Jobs had insisted on describing the $99 hockey puck as a hobby business, it’s certainly interesting that Cook now positions the living room as a business opportunity Apple is keen on taking to the next level. Perhaps the rumored Xbox TV project from Microsoft has forced Apple to re-consider its “hobby” stance?

According to the NBC News web site, Cook told journalist Brian Williams:

When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years. It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.

Apple analyst Gene Munster, perhaps the biggest proponent of a standalone HD TV set from Apple, thinks it will run between $1,500 and $2,000, will come in sizes between 42 and 55 inches, have features like FaceTime, voice control and an innovative remote and be able to run third-party apps distributed via the Apple TV App Store.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes earlier in the week speculated Apple could tap its “good interface and navigation skills” to solve a fundamental problem with the television business.

Despite everyone and their brother calling for such a product, no credible supply chain leak has surfaced  yet to indicate Apple is field-testing or even running trial manufacturing of any kind of a new television product of its own.

The full interview with Cook airs tonight, December 6, at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.