Future Apple TV May Be An Oculus Rift-Style Headset [Patent]

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Could Apple’s revolutionary re-imagining of Apple TV not be a set-top box at all, but rather an Oculus Rift style headset?

A patent published Thursday hints that this might be the case, as it refers to a head mounted display (HMD) capable of providing a personal media viewing experience for users.

The patent describes how data processing circuitry could feature optical component capable of adjusting left and right images to display 3-D media, or else to account for a user’s eyesight limitations.

While the headset could couple with a computer or existing television set to display media in an Oculus Rift-type virtual theater environment, the patent also notes how users could have the option of displaying media streamed or downloaded directly to the headset — so that people could take their Apple TV experience on the go.

Some readers may note that this is patent is a continuation of one that Apple filed back in 2008, although it was freshly filed in December 2013. The company has been actively pursuing HMDs since at least 2006 — long before Oculus Rift appeared on the scene. Although nothing has been released in that time, today’s refreshed patent shows that this continues to be an area of interest for Apple.

(Or else that they’re desperately trying to mislead their rivals into thinking this is what they’re doing.)

Still, with the news that Apple TV has been overtaken by Amazon when it comes to streaming video stats, this would certainly be a way for Apple to differentiate itself in the marketplace. Combined with Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense — the company behind the Xbox Kinect — and rumors that future Apple TV iterations will focus heavily on gaming, a wearable pair of goggles that let you watch your favorite shows in the comfort of your own personal movie theater would open up a plethora of new possibilities.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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