CUPERTINO, California: Apple Computer is curiously coy as to whether it has already started to ship its latest hoped-for killer product - Apple TV, a device that will enable owners to download internet content (via iTunes), then store and play it on their TV sets.

Apple will admit only that it is "on-track to begin shipments in mid-March". Customers, however, report they have received emails notifying them the product has been shipped.

Some Wall Street haruspices are optimistic about Apple TV's prospects, predicting it will capture a quarter of the digital living room market. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is one such PollyAnna, believing the product's market could grow to $4.8 billion (€3.61bn; £2.45bn) by 2008.

Josh Bernoff at Forrester Research, on the other hand, disagrees, arguing that the limited selection of movies available for download via iTunes could limit the device's appeal. Microsoft, he avers, is "way better positioned to succeed".

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff