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Apple TV was a thing before Apple TV was a thing

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  • Apple introduced a device called the ITV
  • The product went through several prototype stages
  • ITV was discontinued a year later

The Apple interactive television box (also known as ITV or S-TB) is a television console that Apple was developing back in 1994, before the launch of the Pippin platform.

The ITV was mostly based on a Macintosh LC 475 and was running a customized version of macOS System 7.1.1. The software included support for MPEG-1 playback for QuickTime software. Also included was a C-Cube CL450-P160 decoder. This machine included a wide range of processors from Brooktree, Motorola, Phillips, Texas Instruments, VLSI Technology, and Xilinx. There are three different types of this computer — with all three of them being prototype models. The first one is the STB1: which was an early prototype designed by Apple in 1993. The device was assembled in Austin Texas, with the generic case containing a 25 MHz Macintosh LC 475 logic board which was connected to an audio/video board with SCART and RF ports. One hundred of these units were produced. The second prototype is the STB2: which was the interim prototype this one did not go into mass production. Nothing much happened during this process other than a few minor changes.

The third and final stage of production was STB3: This was a near-complete final design prototype that was assembled in Ireland. Multiple changes happened including added support for a faster 33 MHz 68LC040 processor, quite a few ports and software changes, and other minor things. Around 2800 units were produced for British Telecom and Bell Atlantic.

Discontinued only one year later, the ITV was deemed not commercially viable, as there was pretty much no consumer demand.

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