How Bluetooth can make Apple TV more than a ‘hobby’ device

News that the Apple TV software will support Bluetooth could make the streaming device largely viewed as a “hobby” into something more. Much more. More than simply replacing the Apple remote with a keyboard, the new software potentially does for video what the iPhone did for grainy phone snaps.

While speculation is rampant (and likely quiet wrong) about when Cupertino will enter the television business, the Apple TV box is a gold mine just gathering dust, here’s why…

For years, the device has been relegated to streaming videos from your Mac or tablet to the living room television. But while debating when Apple will get into the TV business is like arguing when horses will replace SUVs, Apple TV – particularly one with Bluetooth – can take advantage of the movement away from live TV toward time-shifting and place-shifting entertainment.

The growth of Netflix and Hulu are not accidental.

Both are side-effects of a culture that has grown up with an interactive Internet.

Among the possible ways Bluetooth could expand vistas for Apple TV is as a low-cost home theater device, serving up movies and videos from an App Store directly to a home screen – no AirPlay stop-gap needed.

Of course, an App Store for the Apple TV could give Apple a fourth revenue stream.

Then there are games.

As TechCrunch‘s Darrell Etherington points out, games for the iPhone and iPad are quickly “approaching console-quality”.

Imagine a $99 Apple alternative to the Xbox or Playstation that comes with a ready connection of thousands of low-cost games. As for Microsoft, recent reports suggest the company is prepping an Xbox TV to challenge Apple TV.

Bluetooth also opens the door to Siri.

Imagine telling your home theater “play it again, Sam” or conversing with your games.

Apple TV could indeed quickly stop being just a “hobby”.

In your view, can Bluetooth (and how) elevate Apple TV to a real product?