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On the Apple iTV lookout: Best Buy surveys customers about a 42-inch, $1,499 Apple HDTV [UPDATE: Best Buy explains]

customer surveyThe Apple iTV has become something of a controversy: while its existence has yet to be confirmed and Tim Cook wrote off the Apple TV as a “hobby” in the company’s latest earnings call, pundits and fanboys have joyfully been debating its hypothetical impact.

But now some hints [via The Verge] about the product have come from a fairly unlikely source. A recent Best Buy customer interest survey teased something that sounds a lot like what we’ve collectively all begun to believe the Apple iTV will be:

“Be one of the first to get the all new 42” Apple HDTV at Best Buy for $1,499. Apple finally reinvents what the TV can do.”

The survey, meant to gauge buyer interest for the electronics chain, also includes a list of specifications. Here’s Best Buy’s description of the Apple HDTV:

  • 42-inch, 1080p LED flat panel display
  • Runs iOS
  • Supports iCloud and the App Store
  • Use iPad or iPhone as remote control or to purchase content
  • Built in iSight camera and microphone (for Skype)
  • iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, Flickr

Like we all suspected, it’s the Apple TV set top box integrated into a television set, with a few Mac-esque features (in the form of the video chat applications – although it’s strange FaceTime isn’t the video call service de facto) to boot.

So does Best Buy have early, insider information or is it just asking hypothetically? It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if after analyst Gene Munster said iTVs were in the works, Best Buy decided to get ahead of the game with a customer survey.

That said, many of the details and the price tag sound about right – and concerning the latter, we don’t mean comparable to industry prices. We heard that the iTV would be far more expensive than other TVs in its size and feature department, but that’s not exactly novel for Apple. Just to give you some perspective, a 42-inch 1080p LED Smart HDTV Panasonic Viera costs $600 on Best Buy right now.

For just a little more perspective and to add to our argument that Microsoft will beat Apple in the living room, you can get a 55-inch 1080p Insignia LED HDTV and an Xbox with Kinect for a total of $1,200. With that, you’ll get more content to boot. And that’s one of the early hurdles Apple will face: a high price and less content, and a name that isn’t synonymous with home theater. There remains a disconnect between personal electronics and home entertainment, and that’s created the race to invade and conquer this space. 

[Update]

Best Buy responded to questions about the leak saying: “The customer survey was a routine offer effectiveness survey conducted by one of Best Buy’s research partners. Any brand reference was hypothetical. The survey is no longer available.”