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04-28-2012, 03:48 PM #1
Why Apple or Anyone Needs to Disrupt the Boring World of TV Technology
Internet connected televisions suck. No two ways around it. Their interfaces are slow, poorly designed and hampered by allegiances to the antiquated satellite and cable television industries.
Today The New York Times published an article exploring the lack of television applications, let alone well made ones. While there are number of companies attempting to fill the void like Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, and others, they still are beholden to the networks, studios, and cable providers. Apps like ESPN 360 on the Xbox 360, and the different sports league apps on set-top boxes, mimic their cable counterparts, and often act as complements to traditional TV viewing instead of stand-alone solutions.
The NYT interviewed numerous network execs that realize the future of television will be based in app-like environment. However, most of these execs offered their views under the safety of anonymity fearing their comments would disturb their cable and satellite partners. The a la carte future many describe, where the consumer chooses what channels or apps they want to pay for instead of purchasing bundles, won’t be met without resistance from both network executives and consumers according to analysts.
“But many analysts caution against predicting the near-term demise of cable and satellite delivery, pointing out that the spending and viewing habits of consumers are also firmly entrenched.
“The model we have is the model we have, and while it’s tempting to imagine an app for TNT and an app for ESPN, that’s not the likely outcome,” said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. À la carte apps might seem like a bright idea, Mr. Moffett said, but it is unlikely consumers would pay $20 a month for individual channels when the traditional cable bundle provides a bargain price.” — NYT
Even if consumers and content suppliers are satisfied with current “business” models, the way content is delivered and interacted with needs improvement. Television technology itself has been on a race to the bottom price wise for the last 10 years. Every single innovation has been along the lines of image quality, and appearance (thinness and screen size) of television sets. There hasn’t been a single television maker to release a television set with an SDK, or capabilities outside of support for a few apps at the manufacturer’s discretion. Consumers don’t get excited over 1080p, LED, LCD, True Motion, OLED, or any other tech-marketing buzzword any more. The anti-success of 3D solidified that.
This is where Apple’s entry into the television arena could propagate a fundamental shift within the industry. Apple has the operating system, dedicated following, and most importantly money to produce televisions that change the way viewers interact and consume their content. Apple doesn’t need to upend the industry in one fell swoop by changing the way consumers pay for the content, thus changing the way distributors make money. The movie studios, cable providers, and satellite providers are a completely different beast than the recording industry. All apple needs to do is change consumers expectations of what the viewing experience should entail.
Why hasn’t there been a television that allows users to simultaneously look up IMDB information watching a movie? Why can't I look at a Rotten Tomatoes score and reviews while scrolling through the viewing guide? Why is the remote control still a remote control? Sony tried to have live-chats with Blu-ray and make the viewing experience more interactive, but the implementation was clunky and all but abandoned by studios and consumers. In an networked society that is obsessed with social tech why is the television viewing experience anything but? Sony again tried it with their PSN home, but not enough people own PS3’s, and who wants to go to a virtual movie theatre, this isn’t Second Life.
Television operating systems need to exist. But, the cable providers, and satellite providers want control over the viewing experience, even if it’s detrimental to their bottom line. There are a ton of technical hurdles, and the implementation would be rough no question, but there is so much information broadcast to our television sets and hardly any of it is utilized in a truly engaging fashion. You can’t tell me that the service providers have the best ideas on how consumers should interact with and consume content.
Open up set-top boxes like Roku, and Apple TV, and OS-based television sets (if they ever exist) to developers. The executives can still distribute the content, but let developers do what they do best when given a new medium with which to play.
Hopefully Apple or someone does something to change consumer expectations and forces the rest of the industry to reevaluate what television should be.
Last edited by Phillip Swanson; 04-28-2012 at 04:38 PM.
04-28-2012, 04:52 PM #2
I don't expect the iTV (or whatever it is called or IF it is ever to even exist) to necessarily innovate a whole lot. Let's be honest, Apple's current displays aren't terribly innovative either. They are PRETTY, but that's about it. If anything, the software on the device will be awesome. THat said, I prefer running software on something like an Apple TV.
04-28-2012, 04:58 PM #3
04-28-2012, 05:45 PM #4
It's a TV. All you do is watch stuff on it. But a Siri TV will be cool. No need for a remote.
04-28-2012, 05:53 PM #5
04-28-2012, 07:14 PM #6
04-28-2012, 07:21 PM #7
04-28-2012, 07:35 PM #8
Apple have never innovated. They simply get existing technologies, wait until they're good enough, or develop them till they're good enough, then refine the software and drivers that use the technology.
They are, by no means, innovators.
04-28-2012, 08:03 PM #9
"The remote control, and cable television user interface feels ancient by comparison". And yet we still use them?
04-28-2012, 08:58 PM #10
04-28-2012, 09:57 PM #11
I love the "appearing future direction" of how we all get entertainment, and I would like to see Apple make a bigger impact on that future. I am all for a Siri controlled TV and I personally rather have my home entertainment bundled into as few devices as possible.
04-28-2012, 10:06 PM #12
If Apple puts out Internet tv the way it's meant to be they will lose money because people like me will use it to find links to watch movies for free, tv shows, etc. It is redundant, all you they would end up with is a snazzy flat-screen with an AppleTv built into it. They need to get into gaming consoles for that idea to even work imo, a tv with Internet capability that has a console built in it or something along those lines because it's really all about a take-over of home entertainment centers. They already have music, communications, media -- apps are cute but no serious gamer is going to put aside his/her PS3 or XBox360 to play Angry Birds on a big screen. If they want to completely take over people's living rooms they have to come up with something that can compete with Playstation or Microsoft/pc games. I say this because thats exactly what I would need to turn my living room into a Apple shrine. As for Siri control, that's just stupid lol, you would still need a remote to trigger it otherwise you won't even be able to speak while watching it, how lazy have we gotten!? We have remotes so we don't have to get up to change channels manually, now lifting a remote is too much work? Good lord, smh.
Last edited by iDuddits; 04-28-2012 at 10:10 PM.
04-28-2012, 11:57 PM #13
I don't understand why people watch TV anymore when it's easier and free to just torrent their favourite TV shows. Rest assured, all live TV will be on the web the next day anyway...
04-29-2012, 02:08 AM #14
04-29-2012, 06:03 AM #15
I actually prefer TV the way it is. I only need "apps" like Hulu or Netflix. If I want YouTube or Angry Birds or Google or something, I prefer to use a phone or tablet, it's quicker, easier, and something I can use without interrupting what I'm watching on TV.
I don't want some interface telling me what my friends are watching. I don't want anything on my TV requiring a Facebook login. I don't need tweets scrolling across the bottom of my screen.
3D tried to change TV technology and failed. It's because it's the available content on TV that needs changing.
Last edited by brodimus; 04-29-2012 at 06:10 AM.
04-29-2012, 07:01 AM #16
When we sit down to watch a film on TV or DVD, we don't want to be interrupted with inactive lists of actors and all the films they have been in, we want to actually enjoy the movie
What happens to all those channels that have low viewing figures, that can't standalone without being part of a larger package or are we going back to the old days of only having a few channels that provide programs for the great unwashed masses?
04-29-2012, 07:13 AM #17
04-29-2012, 08:47 AM #18
A lot of TVs now come web enabled with apps. Not sure what Apple thinks they can do. Plus, PS3s and XBOXs bring even more to the TV scene besides games.
04-29-2012, 05:55 PM #19
04-29-2012, 06:07 PM #20