3 things an Apple TV service needs to succeed

“With Apple reportedly hitting the pause button on its much-rumored streaming Apple TV service, many of us are wondering what’s taking the company so long,” James K. Willcox writes for Consumer Reports. “But an even better question is, ‘What does Apple need to do to make it a success when it does arrive?'”

“Apple was initially looking to offer about 25 local and cable cannels for $30 to $40 per month,” Willcox writes. “According to Bloomberg, which cited an unnamed source, Apple more recently was preparing a package of 14 or so channels for the same $30 to $40 a month, but it couldn’t convince broadcasters and networks to lower their prices enough for Apple to hit its monthly pricing goals.”

Here are a few things we think Apple needs to do to make an Apple TV service a success.

1. Include Local Broadcasts: Finding a way to include local broadcasts as part of its streaming TV package may be Apple’s most formidable obstacle.

2. Launch a New Apple TV Box: Yes, we know—Apple just introduced a new settop box. While the fourth-generation player does include Siri voice, a new remote control, and an app store that’s now open to third-party developers, we think it’s missing two important elements: 4K video support, and better integration with Apple’s HomeKit home-control system.

3. Provide Better Integration with HomeKit: Apple TV already can be used with HomeKit-enabled devices, but you can’t give HomeKit commands to Siri on the Apple TV. It’s possible that this can be addressed via firmware updates, but it’s also probable that if Apple does launch a new Apple TV player, it will include better HomeKit integration.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re still gobsmacked that Apple released the new Apple TV without 4K support. It’s inexplicable and nonsensical.

What Apple should have done is make an Apple TV that is 4K-capable, clearly stating that salient fact in the specs and marketing materials, with a simple “coming soon” regarding the content. They could have easily gotten away with offering a smattering of 4K content à la Netflix and Amazon Prime and they would today be able to sell boxes to those who look at the new Apple TV and its lack of 4K future-proofing and immediately think “this smacks of planned obsolescence, so we’ll wait until next year, thanks.” — MacDailyNews Take, November 20, 2015

– – –

Apple should have future-proofed the Apple TV with 4K capability and no amount of apologists will be able to change the fact that, to the general public, Apple looks to be greedily setting up planned obsolescence with the current Apple TV by omitting 4K capability.

After all, if Ultra HD doesn’t matter, why do iPhones shoot in 4K and why have iMacs been upgraded to 4K and even 5K models?

All that said, the Apple TV is a relatively low-priced device and offers much, much more than just simply replaying video. 1080p is perfectly acceptable, will keep bandwidth demands lower for any Apple streaming service that may someday actually appear, and upgrading to 4K Apple TV units next year shouldn’t be all that expensive (especially if you simply sell your current Apple TV unit(s) and apply the proceeds). For the App Store, the Siri Remote and all it can do, and everything else the Apple TV currently offers, we highly recommend the device. It’s awesome, even in its spotty and unfinished state! We’ll just get our 4K content from the Netflix app built right into our Sony 4K TVs instead.

Now, cue the inevitable “4K doesn’t matter” comments from those who don’t yet own 4K Ultra HD TVs. We remember hearing the same exact type of comments when HD TVs first hit the market. — MacDailyNews Take, November 12, 2015

Hello, Apple? One-third of US households will have 4K TVs by 2019 – December 11, 2015
Jeremy Clarkson confirms new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K – November 20, 2015
Why Apple TV doesn’t need 4K Ultra HD video – November 12, 2015
Apple TV and the 4K Ultra HD conundrum – October 8, 2015
Amazon embarrasses Apple with new 4K Fire TV box or something – September 17, 2015
Amazon unveils $100 Fire TV box 4K video support, Alexa voice control – September 17, 2015
With the all-new Apple TV, Apple changes the game, yet again – September 14, 2015
Analyst: Apple TV streaming service on the way, could cost at least $40 a month – September 14, 2015
Local media streaming app Plex coming to Apple TV – September 14, 2015
What Apple got right in Apple TV’s user interface – and what needs work – September 11, 2015
New Apple TV has the potential to do for television what iPhone did for mobile phones – September 11, 2015
Apple preps to conquer living room with all-new Apple TV – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the all-new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
Gruber: Apple TV will define how all TVs will work in a few years – September 10, 2015
Here’s how much RAM is inside Apple’s iPhone 6s/Plus, iPad Pro and new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
New Apple TV sounds great, but where’s the 4K? – September 10, 2015


  1. The problem is simple: Steve Jobs is gone. With that, the magic is gone.

    Apple TV is missing thigs that Jobs would have had. It’s self-evident at this point that Apple tried to include its own content streaming package but failed. This rests squarely on Tim Cook. What else is the Apple TV missing?

    -Apps as channels that you can subscribe to, like magazine subscriptions on the iPad.
    -Better integration with HomeKit.
    -Podcast like ability, where people can actually create their own television network. Imagine people creating a news network, for instance, and then being able to charge a subscription fee. Self-published TV. This is foe the artists, the creators. This is Jobs’s humanities intersecting with science.

    This is just a taste. The new Tim Cook Apple is devoid of the magic that was once at Apple. In a few years, after u’ve all run out of excuses for Cook, his bell will toll.

    1. I would posit that if Steve were still here he’d be saying that those focusing on 4K are missing the big picture (oh look, a pun).

      4K looks great up close. But who’s going to watch an 8 foot screen from 3 feet away? No one. Remember that 4K PPSI is the same as HDTV. It’s just a larger panel that hasn’t been cut into four pieces. Until OLED comes on line, the underlying technology is the exactly the same. Spec junkies don’t want to hear it or believe it but 4K is to HDTV as SACD and DVD Audio were to CDs.

      Steve would remind everyone that in real life use cases the benefits of 4K are minimal.

      Don’t get me wrong. 4K is the future of television, for a variety of reasons. But I can’t fault Apple’s logic for not including it in AppleTV right now.

    1. Internet speed does not have to be a limitation for viewing 4K content. It would be perfectly feasible to download files at whatever speed is available, store it within the Apple TV and then view it whenever you want, after which it would be automatically deleted either immediately or within a pre-set timeframe. It would be easy to incorporate DRM to keep content providers happy.

      1. With slow internet speeds how long would that take and not really the idea for a streaming device is it? I think they are correct in not supporting it until the Internet infrastructure can support it. Better support for dlna and nas drives is a bigger priority imho.

    2. So, because someone can’t … then no one should?!?

      I’ve got everything I need for 4K – a nice 75″ 4K set, and internet speeds that will happily support 4K streaming (150kbps avg down). Because AppleTV doesn’t support 4K, my go to Netflix app is the one built into my set that supports 4K. If ABC, HBO, NBC, etc., etc. release 4K apps on my set I might stop using my AppleTV all together. I’ll let you know when that happens, I’ll sell it to you cheap so you con continue to enjoy 1080p streaming with your DSL service.

  2. Apple Tv is a good platform…
    But sorry to say its totally half baked… And to me there is no excuse for it!
    They have been working on this for years now.
    Omitting 4k is the least of my concerns…
    Its the functionality of the TVOS and total lack of ability for organization and user customization of favorites …. And notifications.. And halfbacked remote and Siri integration .
    Why Tim and Team? Why ???

    Ps.. Bright side of it , i believe, is that all is software fixable.. And maybe 4k is a locked feature.?!

    1. In fairness, Apple has a long history of this. It’s not so much “half-baked” as it is limited to the things they could get (mostly) right at the time. Then they add to it.

      1. I hear you.. But to me this a bit too half baked on the OS feature side.. Some truly essential functions are missing..
        I rather see it released with more thought into it .. Rather than release and think later..
        There is no magic deadline for release of this particular device …..

  3. This concern about local TV broadcasts seems misplaced to me .Almost all urban areas in north American have good over the air(OTA) digital broadcasts which can be captured by a homemade $5 antenna and the picture quality is actually better than cable .

    1. You mean like watching something only in real-time with commercials? Yuck. And yes, I know there are OTA DVRs, but then you’re going outside the ATV box.

      I think the whole thing is misplaced to me. I’ve been saying this for years now. It’s a crappy business and a mess to deal with in terms of trying to bundle a set of channels that consumers want and to do so in a way that makes sense in terms of pricing. Apple is better off doing what I thought they would do all along, that is provide a platform for any content provider to be a “channel” via app development.

      1. most people only want local service for news and maybe sports that isn’t broadcast widely and of course for local information during emergencies.
        Doesn’t seem to me to be a big deal to switch sources on your TV rather than waiting for an app for ATV

  4. Really annoying how mdn won’t let go of 4K. 4K ~ 3D TV. Much hype about nothing important. Enough already, you are wrong.

    Now HomeKit, that is something worth talking about. Current HomeKit status is quite immature. Devices definitely do not “just work.” I want and need this in my house badly.

    I think apples long term plan is to disrupt the tv channel and network model with Apps. A program is the app. Local tv’s days could be numbered if this takes root. I still love flipping channels even with ads but I was born in the 60s. I would do almost anything to ditch Verizon.

    1. Simply saying “you are wrong” doesn’t make it so. You must be an Obama voter.

      You can plainly see the difference between 4K and mere 1080p. With Apple TV, Apple looks like they’re trying planned obsolescence instead of delighting customers with the best they can offer.

      1. First, Let me congratulate you aon your astute observational powers. You made the Obama reference because you’re a bigot, right? You are indeed superior to everyone who doesn’t exercise the brain power you exhibit. “You are Wrong” was indeed the rallying cry of the unwashed masses who elected Mr. Obama in the first place. I heard that he was conspiring with Tim Cook to invent an app for people like you and your superior understanding of the world. I hear that it will bore into your skull and inject a brain. You wont feel anything. After all, the space between your ears is lonelier than a parking lot after the lasdt car has pulled away.

        Merry Christmas

    2. Again… You either don’t own 4K are are so consumed by false perceptions that you don’t care about the truth. I’m so sick of seeing all you idiots talk down on 4K as if it were a gimmick. If you want to keep old outdated looking tech with low grade resolution, go for it, but don’t arrogantly speak against progress because it just makes you look stupid.

  5. Needs 4K, live tv (sports) and al a carte channel selection. I only watch sports and movies. At 40 dollars cost more than tv portion of my Verizion bill. Currently getting 200+ channels of which Inwatch less than 10. If I drop TV, Verizon’s internet cost goes up.

  6. The main thing needed to make boxes like AppleTV succeed is not listed, and that is customers willing to pay more for broadcast channels via subscription that they did through cable.

    Broadcasters want that money, including the locals.
    And until that business model has evolved more, it won’t get much better than it is now.


  7. Sadly MacDailyNews is just as ignorant about “4K UHDTV” as most of the market.

    There are NO STANDARDS for these services. NONE. It makes perfect sense that Apple hasn’t included 4K in their hardware – there’s no way to know what to include.

    In fact, the final 4K standard is likely to be less about more pixels (which aren’t visible to anyone) and more about high dynamic range and better colorimetry And with Dolby/Movielabs/Warners along with a SMPTE President under investigation for secret, illegal meetings (revealed in the Wikileaks/Sony breach), these standards aren’t likely to be published anytime soon.

    Click to access Movielabs%20Dolby%20meeting%20notes%206-19-13.4.doc.pdf

    Apple can’t support non-existent technology.

  8. Apple is a world company but TV has a very national structure.

    ATV has always been US centric – ATV 4 is no different.

    ATV is only going to work if there is either workable system of micro-payments and/or national broadcasters and world sports look to making money by selling their content abroad via ATV – HBO, BBC, FIFA etc

  9. The lack of 4K (useful or otherwise presently) buys into many ‘haters’ let alone techies negative view of Apple and it really is incumbent upon Apple to do their best to give as little scope for such negativity as possible and ensure they are seen as being at the forefront of new (at least the practical ones) technology.

    Even worse in a way is the lack of true Homekit integration. before launch one of its prime functions was seen as the central hub to this platform and the devices that are part of it, yet barely anything has been mentioned since so i truly wasn’t aware as to whether it even was able to play a part. So it seems it can but without true siri integration. How half assed is that when this should have been in the planning for years. Homekit really can’t afford to treated like a hobby like the Apple TV itself has for too long. Someone really needs to sort out the focus at Apple now that it is spreading its wings so wide or at this rate the car will be launched with no ability to go round corners.

  10. ‘What does Apple need to do to make it a success when it does arrive?’

    Customer GOUGING prices. That’s what the media oligarchy demands. Oh and nonsensical bundles of services, whether the customer wants them or not.

    IOW: To hell with reasonably priced à la carte media streams. I don’t like that and Apple don’t like that. Antiquated old fogy execuTards still living in the 20th century like that.

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