Bloomberg writers claim Apple’s TV deals, like the Time Warner Cable pact, fail its ambitions

“Apple has had grand dreams for its Apple TV, a Web-connected streaming receiver that first shipped six years ago. Customer dissatisfaction with rising cable costs offered the iPod and iPhone maker a chance to upend the economy of pricey channel packages with apps that could stream programming on demand,” Adam Satariano and Alex Sherman write for Bloomberg News. “Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson he’d ‘cracked the code’ on television, and Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook declared his ‘intense interest’ in the company’s TV projects earlier this year. For years industry analysts have speculated that Apple might even roll out a full-on TV set, and the set-top box was a logical first step.”

“So Apple die-hards may be disappointed with the deal the company is close to reaching with Time Warner Cable,” Satariano and Sherman write. “It saves little more than a click of the remote, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who aren’t authorized to discuss them. Right now, the $99 Apple TV box serves mostly as a hub for well-known online services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo. While the deal would add a Time Warner app, that just means viewers won’t have to switch from Apple TV back to their cable box: They’d still need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable and wait around for a technician to install it.”

MacDailyNews Take: The writers of this piece fail to note that this deal also removes the shiteous TWC user interface and replaces it with Apple’s. That is the big deal, not removing a video input change.

Satariano and Sherman write, “That’s a far cry from Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue’s vision of a master menu of network TV apps, on-demand shows, and a handful of live channels, primarily news and sports.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, no, it does create a master menu of TV apps, on-demand shows, and live channels within Apple TV. Those can all be found within the TWC section of Apple TV, with other cable companies likely to follow.

Full, rather negative and ill-conceived piece that based on the writers’ idea of what Apple TV should be, not necessarily Apple’s, here.

MacDailyNews Take: Straw man construction is lazy “journalism.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple partners with TV industry on ‘grand vision’ – July 18, 2013

17 Comments

  1. TV is not like music. They could launch a music store with only a subsection of songs because if you couldn’t buy something you’d just get the CD the same as before. With TV people don’t want to be paying fortunes, but they definitely don’t want to be paying money to lots of different people mixing and matching content across multiple services for very little benefit. The perfect solution would be for Apple to have a solution offering everything people want, but that’s just not going to happen, there are too many companies involved, too may rights, and that’s just America.

    BT are trying to get into the pay tv sports market in the UK and they’re paying billions to do it with no real sign that they’re going to make a big splash, it will likely take years to pay off if they’re lucky. ESPN, Setanta and ITV have all failed before them. At the moment I pay for sports with SKY and with my multi-room package I get that on 3 boxes. With BT I get it free on one box because I have broadband, but to get exactly the same it would cost more than SKY, or the same for less content.

    I can see some logic to getting all the networks and channels on Apple TV as a hobby, then once everything is available and people is using it they can maybe start moving to a new way of doing things.

    1. Long ago I cancelled my cable TV service. installed a digital antenna and subscribed to Hulu+ and Netflix.

      I miss just about NOTHING, and the whole setup cost $85 for antenna and $16/month for Hulu and Netflix (via AppleTV). Except for the digital channels, gone are all those annoying/irrelevant commercials, and about $80/month in cable TV expense.

      Do something like the above and the consumer can break the back of current distribution stategies of the networks.

      1. @greggthurman, just out of curiosity which digital antenna did you purchase? I’m looking to cut the cord as well but not sure what antenna to go with. Thanks!

        1. The terms “HDTV” or “Digital” antennas is just a branding gimmick. I’m using an older antenna with a booster and am receiving over 70 channels. So, if you have a big older antenna from yesteryear, they work, too.

          1. Here’s a good tip:

            If you have multiple televisions and thus require a splitter, I can highly recommend buying the RadioShack 3Ghz 4-way splitter. This splitter is the best splitter around (lol! Not kidding.. I checked around.) Digital television is in the 5Mhz to 900Mhz frequency spectrum, so this splitter is more than fine. The splitter I was originally going to use before I did more research maxed out at 600Mhz (an aged 8-way splitter).

  2. Well even if Apple were to offer up a TV it would have to be the “next big thing” as in Ultra HD 4K and large 4K sets won’t be cheap enough for a couple years so Apple TV would need some improvements to keep consumer interest. An interim solution. A solution it would keep for years afterward for those won’t immediately upgrade to 4K when they are available or are perfectly happy with HD. Heck we’re talking about a vision-challenged populace who could barely discern the difference between DVD & Blu-Ray, let alone HD & Ultra HD. Even I noticed at a certain distance Ultra HD looks about the same as HD. That’s why bigger is better for Ultra HD though that translates into a higher price tag.

  3. MDN is so busy defending Apple against criticism that it’s missing/obscuring the most important part of this article:

    “Apple’s is the latest set-top box, like Roku and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox, to hit a wall of resistance from cable companies and Hollywood programmers as it tries to change the model of TV delivery without severing viewers’ connection to the TV itself. It has settled for incorporating cable-subscriber-only apps such as HBO Go and WatchESPN into its Apple TV menu … [says] analyst Benedict Evans, who works for market researcher Enders Analysis. Like Roku and Microsoft, Apple is trying to appease and partner with studios, programmers, and pay-TV operators instead of disrupting them at a cost of many billions of dollars, says USA Networks founder Kay Koplovitz, who now advises entertainment companies.”

    Evans & Koplovitz are spelling it out, plain & clear – Apple is trying to appease & accommodate, not disrupt & innovate.

    mxnt41 said above that “TV is not like music”. That point of view (which Apple is subscribing to) is 100% wrong-headed, and is the major reason why Apple isn’t ‘cracking’ this problem, and likely never will.

    The template for solving this is the iPod & iTunes. When Apple introduced them, they did not lean completely on the good graces of the record companies – they introduced a device & software that allowed you to first and foremost use the music you already had. It put no impediments in the way of your getting music any legal way you could, importing it to iTunes, then to your iPod. Re-recording your collection, or recording what was aired on regular radio, or grabbing a song off a friend’s CD … all is legal & all was allowed on your iPod. And, of course, your iPod was the revolutionary way you played said music – on your jog, in your car, in your home over the stereo you already owned, etc …

    Now lets compare & contrast to AppleTV and the software & features available through it.

    1] iPod/iTunes let you buy (now rent/stream) content from the record companies, but also let you use content you already had (CDs). AppleTV lets you buy/rent content from the movie/TV studios … and that’s it. All those DVDs & BluRays you already can be played best using the same equipment you already have. This is like Apple giving us an iPod that you couldn’t rip a CD to.

    2] Once you have content on an iPod, it goes where you go. Music is pretty much playable everywhere, all the time with an iPod. Is that the way it is on AppleTV? Of course not. You have these beautiful retina displays on these incredible handheld devices, but there’s no Roku-like features in AppleTV. And since you can’t use AppleTV for ripping & storage of media you already own, all those DVDs on your shelf pretty much just stay there. Certainly there is no built in ‘AppleTV Way’ of accessing it easily.

    There are some differences in the particulars of how it could be done, but the sad fact is that Apple is so busy sucking up to the video studios that they are completely missing the boat on what could legally be done with video content in ways they NEVER would have when Jobs gave us iPod/iTunes/iTunesStore.

    Why doesn’t the AppleTV allow pushing of shows to any device I own, no matter where I am in the world (with an internet connection)? Why doesn’t it allow me to rip & store & download to my iPad or iPhone my current video collection? Supreme Court decisions going back to the 70s & 80s say that’s completely legal, so long as I don’t try to make money off it myself. Why won’t AppleTV record over-the-air broadcasts, if not cable? Again, it’s completely legal and paid for content that I’m allowed to access for personal use. Yet, in all these examples, Apple desire to not ‘offend it’s partners’ is the only thing holding up the production & sale of an AppleTV that really would revolutionize how we watch video.

    User interface, user interschmace! That’s the LEAST important aspect of this, yet the one MDN & everybody else seems fixated on!

    I don’t want to rent, I want to own. I don’t want to stream, I want to record. I don’t want to be locked into using a set-top box in my home, I want my video on demand, wherever I am. I don’t want my current collection to be forced into obsolescence, I want a pathway provided to I can take it with me over the next technological horizon. Just like the iPod did with music.

    Anything else is a waste of my time & money – exactly what I would expect from a toady for the cable companies. Not what I expect from Apple.

    1. Why doesn’t the AppleTV allow pushing of shows to any device I own
      Because the AppleTV is a receiver, not a source. You push to the AppleTV, not from it. Do you understand what the AppleTV is?

      Why doesn’t it allow me to rip & store & download to my iPad or iPhone my current video collection?
      Because that’s iTunes’ job. Again, do you really understand what the AppleTV is?

      Why won’t AppleTV record over-the-air broadcasts, if not cable?
      Because every household has other devices that already do a decent job of that. You may have heard of them: DVR, TiVo, even old VCRs. Once more, do you really understand what the AppleTV is?

      I’m guessing you don’t. So let me clue you in. AppleTV is a digital streaming receiver. It’s meant to play back digital content stored on servers on the Internet or on your own local network. That’s all. It’s not meant to receive broadcast signals. It’s not meant to rip DVDs. It’s not meant to push content to other devices. It’s not meant to fold your clothes and cook you breakfast. It’s a playback device. Got it?

      ——RM

  4. As a content Time-Warner Cable subscriber (I don’t think any cable subscriber is “happy”), I’m looking forward to the TWC app. I presume the app will offer the same functionality as the apps on my iPhone and the web. If so, it will allow me to watch HD channels on my bedroom TV without having to pay for a second cable box. HD channels on a second TV, without having to pay anything extra? What’s not good about that?

    I understand a lot of you want Apple to “FIGHT TEH POWAR!!!!11”, but honestly, not everybody wants to cut the cord. And for us, this is going to be a pretty sweet deal.

    ——RM

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