Apple launches full assault on cable box with streaming of purchased TV shows

“An Apple TV update is rolling out today. But this device update isn’t the news. Sure, streaming purchased TV shows to the device is a welcomed, but not really novel idea,” Matt Burns writes for TechCrunch. “Now, post update, users will have the choice to either buy or rent a TV show and stream it to their Apple TV. Great. But this update turns Apple’s little hobby into a full-fledged money-making machine.”

“The Apple TV is a sort of Trojan Horse,” Burns writes. “At only $99, Apple diehards and general consumers alike have been buying up the streamer in mass since it debuted. But it’s always felt, well, like Apple said, a hobby device or rather a side-project with an incomplete feature set and gimped media offering.”

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Burns writes, “Not any more. The Apple TV is now the living room division of what’s sure to be a huge offensive by Apple. TV episodes bought on any device now are now accessible on other Apple devices and vice versa. Spend $2.99 to buy an episode of Community and it’s available on your iPhone, iPad, Mac and now Apple TV. Don’t underestimate Apple’s reach now. TV shows are likely only the beginning.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dominick Penna” and “Ellis D.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple enables redownloading TV shows in iTunes; movies yet to come – August 1, 2011
Apple updates Apple TV with ability to stream TV shows, purchase from iTunes Store – August 1, 2011


  1. Yes, we all see the Apple iPad tsunami now. BUT! Do you see the 2nd tsunami wave behind this one? What is after that one?

    Are you seeing this yet?

  2. I can get community in hi def(1080i) for free off of my antenna.
    I can record it, cut the commercials out and watch it on my Mac.
    I can even stream it anywhere with airvideo.

    $2.99 an episode is way to much.

    1. $2.99 an episode is significantly less than the value of time I would be wasting if I were to:

      1. Set up an antenna for my HDTV / Mac (presumably, some EyeTV tuner)
      2. Open the resultant recorded QuickTime file, search for commercial blocks and cut them out;
      3. Export such work into a format that I can stream out to my HDTV when I want to watch.

      Rather than doing all those when I’m in the mood to watch a show I like, I go to iTunes (or AppleTV), find my show and just watch it. I believe the amount of my free time saved is greatly more valuable (or expensive, if it were billable time) than the $2.99 rental fee.

      1. Don’t you ever need to take a leak while watching a show? I claim you would have to pause your uninterrupted show anyway, probably around the time the commercial would be there in a real-time broadcast.
        So, after you paused, after having rejoined your comfortable couch, you just continue to watch. The only difference with the real-time broadcast is that you would have to manually skip over the commercial. How difficult is that?

    2. “$2.99 an episode is way to much.” —Nekogami13

      $2.99 is ok for an occasional download, but way too much for regular viewing. If you watch every episode of just three network shows, that $36 a month. Apple TV is no threat at all to cable TV with that kind of pricing.

      1. How did you figure that? Say you buy a season pass for all episodes of 3 TV shows. Season passes vary in price, let’s pick $60. That’s $180 for the year. That’s $15:mo, for 3 TV shows, way less that what you quoted.

        Cable TV bills are at least $60/mo, so you could buy 12 full season TV shows from iTunes fior what you pay for cable TV. And if you watch more that 12 TV shows, well then there’s a problem.

        1. Until the industry gets realistic about its pricing I will continue to use Usenet for 9.99 a month and my 42.00 a month cable bill to get all my tv needs fulfilled. I miss no televison shows that I want to watch and they are all commercial free and available in HD. Fantastico!

    3. Spending the time doing that work you’re describing for entire seasons of multiple shows isn’t what I’d call “free.” Netflix Instant is already better than what you’re describing. Apple will hopefully fill in the gaps of what’s not on Netflix.

  3. My reaction to this is “meh” or ” ha!”

    If apple tv it to a huge revenue generator Apple then need to make more content for Asia especially China .

    1. “If apple tv it to a huge revenue generator Apple then need to make more content for Asia especially China” —Zulkifli

      Why should Apple make content for a market that rips off everything they can get their hands on?

  4. Until Apple includes the closed captioning information with their streams, it’s no deal for me and my deaf wife. And the other 40 million people who rely on captions to enjoy television broadcasts…

    Just saying…

  5. As an Apple TV user (love it!) I have to say that this is a good step forward. It takes a long time to download a purchased episode of, say, Mad Men. This way it will be available to watch immediately.

    p.s If you like streaming radio or podcasts, Apple TV is a great environment for audio surfing.

  6. This is big. And will be huge! I see 5 hundy by Christmas. Buy it now while it’s relatively cheap. Better yet use options to compliment those shares. That way you can watch the shares go up daily while you buy and sell options every day ( no waiting ). I love me some AAPL ! No fanboy mind you, just a 25 year user of great products. I retired on AAPL. That’s more than goofy fanboys living in mom’s basement will ever do. Aren’t they funny?

      1. Oh blow me. Geez, what an idiot! If I wanted to manipulate a stock it wouldn’t be on this site dummy. Very few on this site own equities or a car or their own home etc.. Especially you fanboy. You live in mommie’s basement and she has to buy your clothes for you. So please, don’t act like you know what you are talking about. Do you really think AAPL can be manipulated by one person? Dumbass!

  7. why would I pay $2.99 for something that I can get for free over the air? I can record Community in EyeTV from my free antenna, and while I don’t, I could output it for my other devices as well.

    Total cost? $0.00, since the EyeTV has been paid for long ago.

  8. Now, when AppleTV gets first run shows that are currently only cable only.. say… “Treme” for instance… or “Weeds”… THEN they will be really on to something, and I’ll be happy to pony up money for an Apple TV.

  9. I like ATV’s functionality, but it’s hard to compete with free OTA HD broadcast or even paid cable and a Tivo…. Now everything I want to watch is waiting for me on Tivo as soon as it airs — and a lot of stuff still isn’t available on ATV. I think I’m a good year away from cutting the cable cord…

  10. I own an Apple TV. It’s fine. I use it mostly as an accessory to my regular tuner. For instance, when nothing is on regular broadcast (middle package satellite in my case), I cruise Netflix for an alternative. I’ve not used it to watch much of any of the Youtube content, because the quality or experience from the various quality, is poor. I’m not sure adding Vimeo makes the thing any more compelling. I’ve rented a couple of movies not on Netflix from iTunes and watched those upon occasion. Still this thing isn’t replacing my choice of tuner any time soon. When Apple gets to the point where they can negotiate with content providers (channels if you will) a monthly rate for unlimited download (e.g. Discovery Channel for $2.99 or so) then I’ll cut the cable. The ideal for me would be to offer these channels at a decent rate so, that I could each month select an a la carte menu of channels I want to watch.

    The other struggle that Apple is facing here if we all wish to cut the cable is the notion of passive vs. active viewing. For example, over the air, satellite, and cable all are passive. You click between designated channels and watch whatever the broadcaster is broadcasting at any given time. For active viewing, you’ll need to spend time selecting and sorting your own shows. For someone like me, who like many folks, is used to just sitting down and surfing until I hit upon something that is interesting, the latter is too much work. But for others who like to program out their viewing it will be great. Still at my home, the Apple TV is the #2 or #3 TV input, not the #1.

  11. I have 2 ATV2s (no cable, no Sat)
    I record the OTA w/EyeTV via HDHomeRun then serve with VLC Streamer w/AirPlay. Works great. No transcode needed. Plays everywhere. (you still have to skip commercials thou) I think Apple might be addressing the majority of users who aren’t able to configure a dedicated Mac or PC as a video server… who also don’t want to play +$100/month for cable or DaveTV.

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