TV done right: Still a dream

“As the strong reactions to even the slightest Apple TV rumor demonstrate, there’s a vigorous appetite for a simple, modern Internet TV experience,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “The technology is ready but carriers aren’t.”

“In most locations, cable companies have little or no competition, so there’s no reason for them to do anything more than milk the most profit from a cheap infrastructure. As AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes reminds us, the user experience isn’t a priority for cable providers. Indeed, as I write this from Paris, I have to juggle set-top box restarts and malfunctioning secondary content subscriptions only reluctantly allowed by the main provider,” Gassée writes. “It doesn’t have to be that way. No miracle is required to make our Cable TV experience easy and gratifying.”

“Some day, the status quo will break, perhaps as the result of a patient encirclement and infrastructure buildup — a better, vertically integrated Content Delivery Network, both very much compatible with Apple’s playbook,” Gassée writes. “As the reactions to the (possibly planted) Apple-Comcast rumor amply demonstrate, users are becoming increasingly aware of the disconnect between the experience that the cable companies offer and TV Done Right.

Much more in the full article here.


  1. “milk the most profit from a cheap infrastructure”

    This guy has absolutely no idea.

    Also, his dream box is already being built by several companies using MoCA and should start deployment this year

    This isn’t to say there aren’t other issues the Cable Cabal needs to address or that Apple shouldn’t jump in, but these lightweight anal/rapist are the equivalent of a populist politician promising the moon because he thinks it is made of cheese…

    1. Mr. Tone, I do hope your being sarcastic about your “these lightweight anal/rapists” comment In regards to the author of the article your referencing. If not, perhaps you may want to brush up on Mr. Gàssee’s previous experience. We’re not talking about some random tech blog speculator here.

      1. I saw no previous experience in ISP, cable or telecommunications.

        He may have gobs of knowledge about many subjects and experience running many types of businesses, but that doesn’t make him an expert on everything.

        His infrastructure comment is so off base I doubt if he has any idea what is involved in overhead, fees, broadcast agreements or delivery.

        Kind of like watching a physics professor lecture folks on global warming….

  2. “there’s no reason for them to do anything more than milk the most profit from a cheap infrastructure”

    Well, the infrastructure isn’t particularly cheap, but true, all utilities are regional monopolies with inadequate consumer-protecting regulation.

    “Some day, the status quo will break, perhaps as the result of a patient encirclement and infrastructure buildup…”

    Ha! Now that is funny. The world can’t even figure out how to displace ash-producing, acid rain-producing, super toxic polluting coal-burning power plants in favor of natural gas or renewable energy. What makes anyone think that data networks are going to change anytime soon? Hell, most of the world doesn’t even have DSL speeds delivered to the door nor any remote possibility of viewing a real-time 1080p or better video stream.

    The interwebs just aren’t ready for everyone to have instant on-demand TV gratification — at least, not at any price you and I can afford.

    All that could change if citizens would lobby congress to finally write legislation to 1) require the option to un-bundle channels (including opt-out of undesired channels!) and 2) to provide OTA broadcasts on cable/fiber without DRM encryption and 3) achieve reasonable minimum throughput standards coast to coast, without artificial limitations intending to gouge the customer. But it won’t happen because most people seem more interested in paparazzi garbage than how their republic is run.

    It’s also past time that copper telephone lines go the way of the dodo bird. That too will require federal legislation — which won’t happen while citizens remain disengaged and allow corporations to dominate government policy.

    1. “all utilities are regional monopolies with inadequate consumer-protecting regulation.”

      No, they aren’t. Gas, water sewage and electricity are. They are about the only place you can get those services and are either run by the municipality or heavily regulated.

      Phone is in between, and is now allowed more freedom to compete with cable and satellite with fiber and twisted pair to offer phone, internet and video.

      Cable is not a regulated utility, but it is a highly regulated carrier by the local municipality, state, and federal agencies.

      Some of your points-
      Unbundleing is not the choice of the cable companies (I get so tired of explaining this, so I won’t). It’s the broadcasters.

      Once a cable company has to pay rebroadcast to locals OTA, it is their right to recover those cost.

      Your throughput argument is pretty silly. That depends on updating those ‘cheap infrastructures’.

      Also, that copper twisted pair is owned by a company. It is no one’s business what they do with it (even though it is regulated).
      The most effective way to rid areas of that is to let it die on the vine. Also, what do you propose to replace it with for rural areas? Fiber? Hah!!!!!

  3. We had a lovely setup. Cable box, DVR set to record our favourite shows. Come home, turn on, fast forward through commercials.
    It was all well and good, but;
    We were paying through the nose, almost $1000 a year for innumerable channels like The Golf Channel and garbage like Logo and so on.

    I’d love to go à la carte but I also have a fear that the fabled Apple system will be $2.99 per channel, and we will end up paying about the same amount. That said it might be acceptable if the UI is good enough. Your thoughts chaps?

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