Is Apple building a 50-inch TV?

A recent $3.9 billion investment in display technology and related components may indicate that Apple is preparing to launch a television up to 50 inches in size.

“While Apple’s commitment to the living room remains a ‘hobby,’ we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster explained in an investors note obtained by AppleInsider.

“And an all-in-one Apple television [may] move the needle when connected TVs proliferate.”

According to Munster, Apple could potentially sell 1.4 million of the (theoretical) TVs in 2012, which would add $2.5 billion in revenue, or 2 percent, to the company’s bottom line.

The analyst also projected that Apple’s TV business is likely to generate  a whopping $4 billion in revenue by 2013 and $6 billion in 2014.

So would you buy an Apple TV? 

Sure, it would definitely cost more – OK maybe a lot more – than your average TV set, but I’m thinking that Apple’s so-called “walled garden” may be actually quite effective in ensuring a seamless “connected” television experience.

At least it wouldn’t be half-baked like Google’s TV, which currently offers no access to the Android market.

In addition, a number of channels, including SyFy (OK, no great loss there), have unceremoniously blocked the device, leaving many Google TV owners frustrated.

In contrast, I think it is quite safe to assume that Apple would actually get it right. 

Access to iTunes and the App Store would be enabled from day one, and you can be sure that most cable channels and online content providers would go out of their way to facilitate easy viewing.

So yeah, a Cupertino-branded TV may be priced higher than a “normal” unit, but I believe there are enough Apple fanbois and enthusiasts (iPad and iPhone, hello?) to help encourage mainstream adoption. [[Apple]]