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Consumer Confidential: Apple TV catches on, 3-D TV doesn't, Pfizer recalls Lipitor

December 21, 2010 |  9:53 am

Applepic Here's your two-for-the-road Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Because Apple just doesn't get enough free publicity, here's the latest: The company says it's on the verge of selling 1 million Apple TV set-top boxes, and expects to hit the milestone sometime this week. In case you don't know, Apple TV is a small box that connects to a television, allowing users to rent high-definition movies for 99 cents each through iTunes. Apple says iTunes users are now renting and purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes and 150,000 movies per day. The device also allows people to stream movies from their computer, iPhone or iPad directly to the TV, watch movies through Netflix's on-demand service, view photos stored on the sharing site Flickr and peruse YouTube videos. Remember when Apple just made computers that relatively few people bought?

--Elsewhere on the tech front, looks like consumers aren't quite ready for 3-D TV. Manufacturers who rolled out state-of-the-art sets in hopes of frothy sales have been left disappointed -- and some are slashing prices by as much as 40% to get the things out of stores. Analysts still expect 3-D TV to make a splash with consumers, but clearly that won't happen at manufacturers' desired price points. Also, I suspect a lot of viewers (like me) aren't enamored of the idea of having to put on a pair of special specs to watch TV. Once that problem is remedied, give me a call.

--Heads up: Pfizer is recalling more bottles of its super-hot cholesterol drug Lipitor because of an "uncharacteristic" odor. This is the fourth such recall since August over similar issues. Pfizer says the bottles were supplied by an outside manufacturer and that health consequences appear to be minimal. The latest recall covers about 19,000 bottles containing 40-milligram tablets. The rank smell has been traced to a chemical in wood pallets used to store the product. Pfizer has now recalled more than 360,000 bottles of Lipitor because of the odor issue, but says this will not result in a shortage.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Apple says it's about to sell its 1 millionth Apple TV box. Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press