How Apple could reinvent TV

Today “we have hundreds of channels to choose from, DVR technology to make sure we don’t miss any show we really want to see and, more recently, a plethora of OTA (over the air) TV shows and video podcasts popping up on the Internet,” Tim Bajarin writes for TIME MAgazine. “And while we’ve had major advances in TV technology that includes color TV, cable and satellite programing and apps related to TV at our disposal, the actual means for finding the shows we want to watch is about the same. In my youth, it was the TV guide that helped me find what was on TV, while today it’s the interactive programming guide.”

“While the interactive programming guide is much better then the analog TV Guides of the past for finding what’s on television, its user interface is mediocre at best… As someone who has followed Apple for 30 years, tracking Steve Jobs and watching the way he thought close up, my experience from years of scrutinizing Apple and Jobs makes me think that there are probably three key goals behind his strategy to reinvent TV,” Bajarin writes.

• Create and maintain a very large database of content
• Employ Siri to make content easy to find
• Use iCloud to seamlessly sync all devices

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.


  1. I DVR’d the Grammys last night and they cut off right in the middle of the last act because 3 1/2 hours was up. That’s insane. You’re telling me the DVR can’t figure out when the program actually ends? It’s ridiculous! TV is totally ready to be redone.

    1. My DVRs both Tivo and Comcast tell me if a show is live and ass how much time I wish to add. Works on season pass shows ss well. Surely you can figure that many live events run long. You would probably be unhappy if it automatically taped extended time instead of the beginning of some show you had really wanted. Nobody can read your mind, not even Apple

    2. The program was scheduled to end a specific time and it didn’t. How could a DVR “know” that?

      For live events such as those, use your DVR’s “add time” feature to extend the recording beyond the scheduled completion.

    3. Actually the technology to do that has been around for a few years but for some reason it was not widely adopted. The broadcaster would send a signal when each programme started and finished which your DVR would use to start and stop the recording. I remember when digital tv first came out in the UK we had this but now it’s gone. Can’t remember what it was called and I don’t know why it didn’t take off.

  2. They are going to need live and/or original content.
    Apple needs to outbid DirecTV for NFL sunday ticket next time around.
    Every NFL game, live on iTunes. Siri commands to go from one game to the next or to put multiple on the screen at once.

    1. Apple should not be wasting money on the NFL or even NBA. These fans are Android users, Apple users are outside doing something interesting. Same thing with wrestling shows, droid fans!

      1. BS…The ONLY things I’m interested in on TV that don’t appear on the air for free are NASCAR and a few select NFL teams. I’d subscribe to those if I could. Otherwise, my antenna pulls in 27 digital HD channels for free. And BTW, I own 6 Apple computers and a small herd of iPods/iPhones, and my whole property has Apple Airport coverage. I wouldn’t touch an Android device.

      2. I disagree as well. I watch next to no TV, but when I do watch, it’s live sports. For example, Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Midwest, and ESPN. I could easily dump DirecTV and/or any cable company if I could reasonably subscribe to those channels through an Apple solution.

          1. Superbowl ads are less about advertising an actual product, and more about creating a buzz. Since when did Apple need to do either?

            Yes, they do know who their customers are, and that’s everybody. There’s no need for them to advertise at any one specific event. Oh, and by the way, I have seen Apple commercials air during sports broadcasts.

      3. Pretty sure I watch literally no tv except on Sunday’s when football is on. Or an occasional weeknight to watch some nba. That’s the only time I have for tv. Other than that I dont watch tv. Guess my loyal iPhone 3GS is equal to a droid now. Poor guy, he’s been through so much. Guess I should stop watching sports huh. Maybe go out and do something interesting. Stupid me for thinking I deserve an apple product cuz I watch dumb sports.

  3. It is about content and not sources. Apple has to get the content providers onboard and ditch the channel model and ditch the complexity of the multiple in-home sources. The interface should hide the complexity of matching video and sound devices by auto detecting your sources and amplifiers.

  4. DircTV’s search capability is not worth a lot. Their program descriptions are just about worthless, so you have to select “More Info” to get basic information, such as when a listed game was played, if taped. Their new online listing is actually a major step forward, but it doesn’t say much for the company’s vision that I have to get up, go to the next room, and get on my trusty Mac to search the listings.

  5. “While the interactive programming guide is much better ~ its user interface is mediocre at best”

    Wow. Yet another tech journalist has made this stunning observation but hasn’t done one whit of research to find out why programmers can’t simply create a guide full of only our favorite shows. (Hint: It’s because the TVguide is viewed by media and ISPs as the best advertising space they have. They provide the info and also restrict what UI programmers can and cannot do with every bit of their information or how it’s linked. They demand royalties too.)

    IE: When iTV first arrived on the AppAtore, it was wonderful. It had the ability to alter the guide “by show” and by channel. Within weeks they were threatened legally and forced to reduce the capability to “by channel” only.

    Apple cannot simply cut the moguls and ISPs out using Siri or they would face losing all their precious content. Steve Jobs said “TV is a big bag of hurt” but went on to say he’d “cracked it”. I am incredibly curious to find out what he meant. So far nobody has guessed anything credible and with MicroSoft’s Mediaroom getting industry blessing, it’s beginning to look more like a bluff.

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