Apple's iPhone is making some big waves this week. An editor at one of the papers I work for just told me that they will feature it on page three tomorrow. You heard it right: That in-depth, feature of the day page three that previously was reserved for global conflicts and portraits of world leaders ...

The iPhone hype overshadows the introduction of the AppleTV a bit. Rightfully so, I think, because a home media device without an integrated TV tuner and Tivo-like DVR capabilities just doesn't cut it for me. Of course people will buy it nonetheless. It's an Apple product, after all.

appletv

And there is one feature hidden in the AppleTV that could prove to be quite revolutionary. From the Apple website:

"Apple TV puts your iTunes library — movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts — plus movie trailers from Apple.com on your TV."

I'll give you a hint: it's not the movie trailers I'm excited about. No, of course it's the podcasts. Syncing your RSS-automated downloads with your TV will be a great feature especially for video podcasts. Finally you'll be able to watch shows like Rocketboom, Ze Frank or Ctrl-Alt-Chicken on the very same device that gives you Lost, Heroes and The Daily Show.

I think bringing video podcasts into the living room will have a huge impact on both podcasters and the TV world. Some video podcasts already have more viewers than your average cable TV show. Now they'll be competing head-to-head for the attention of the tech-savvy couch potato. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some cross overs, with cable shows expanding to podcasting or tv show producers leaving the networks behind them alltogether.

And it's not only Apple who is bringing RSS into the living room. Tivo has been experimenting with podcasts for a while now. Sony just this week announced a device called the “BRAVIA Internet Video Link” that will make use of podcasts and user generated video as well. Their press release quotes Sony Electronics SVP Randy Waynick with the following words:

"Internet video will clearly be the next step in the evolution of high-definition television, giving users more control over the content they view."

The Sony device will apparently just be a small module that connects your TV to your home network. So it won't be another set top box that comes with yet another remote control, but more like a small network adapter that, according to Sony, "is easily attached and concealed behind the TV for a clean, integrated appearance – even when hung on the wall."

RSS is coming to your living room, and TV viewing will never be the same again. I can only hope that Tivo is understanding where this is going - and that the only chance to compete will be to open the device instead of trying to establish yourself as a a new gatekeeper.