Apple’s premium TV plans – the hobby doomed to stay that way

Last week YouTube TV “debuted in New York, LA, the Bay Area, Chicago and Philadelphia,” Faultline writes for The Register. “In 2007, Steve Jobs described Apple TV as a ‘hobby’ when the company first unveiled the fledgling product, but ten years on, little seems to have changed in his absence. To this end, Faultine thinks Apple’s proposed premium bundle is doomed to fail unless it follows through with its explorations into original content.”

“A report from Recode claims to have inside information that Apple is at the negotiating table with HBO, Starz and Showtime, but these suggestions seem flimsy at best, and we see this as Apple taking the easiest possible route to market in a desperate and unimaginative attempt to enter an already crowded market,” Faultline writes. “The financial rewards from this type of bundled service will be nowhere near as rich as if Apple took the plunge by building its own streaming service from scratch, with both original and contracted content – something it should have done a long time ago.”

“YouTube TV meanwhile, is set to launch in the US later this spring with a skinny bundle of 40 channels – combining networks from broadcast and cable, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, Bravo, Disney Channel, Fox News, FX, MSNBC, Sprout and USA Network,” Faultline writes. “It will roll out as a standalone app with six accounts available per subscription, and includes unlimited cloud DVR storage with no fixed term contract, allowing subscribers to cancel at any time.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Listen, it’s not news that Apple is comically confused about television. Just look at Apple TV, from its amateurishly-designed Siri Remote to its UI to its more-laughable-every-day lack of 4K – it’s a shit-show that we’ve covered extensively.

That said, we just bought several more Apple TV devices* as we’ve now all finally cut the cord. These Apple TV devices are on the fabled “Input 1” (the cable boxes are gone) but they are used well over 90% of the time to simply run the PlayStation Vue** app which, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video (we used those via the apps in our Sony 4K smart TVs as they stream in 4K which Apple TV cannot handle – plus there is no Amazon app for Apple TV) and a smattering of specialized subscriptions (MLB.TV, for example), have nicely replaced cable/satellite at a greatly reduced monthly cost. Each of our Siri Remotes are immediately clad in $7.88 Akwox Remote Cases (we don’t use the supplied wrist straps) that allow us to immediately tell which side is up by touch, correcting one of Apple’s many Siri Remote design flaws***.

Now that Apple’s hired Amazon’s Fire TV head to run their Apple TV business, we hope to finally see things move and improve on the Apple TV front.

*We went with Apple TV units because they work the best with all of our other Apple devices (AirPlay, Remote app on iPad and Apple Watch, etcetera).
**Worst-named, but best-featured streaming TV service currently available
***With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth. Only the Siri button attempts to be different, but the slightness of its concavity is too subtle to matter; a raised dot on the button would have been much easier for users to feel. The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A remote with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user.

YouTube TV launches in select U.S. markets – April 5, 2017
Record live TV without a cable subscription – March 23, 2017
Making sense of myriad cord-cutting options – March 17, 2017
The ultimate cable television cord cutting solution for Apple TV owners – February 17, 2017
Sony releases PlayStation Vue app for Apple TV – November 17, 2016

Apple TV trails Roku, Amazon FireTV and Google Chromecast with 5% of all U.S. households with WiFi – April 3, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
‘The Grand Tour’ smashes Amazon streaming record – November 22, 2016
Jeremy Clarkson confirms new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K – November 20, 2015
Apple TV and the 4K Ultra HD conundrum – October 8, 2015
Amazon unveils $100 Fire TV box 4K video support, Alexa voice control – September 17, 2015
Apple made ‘audacious bid’ for Top Gear trio of Clarkson, Hammond and May, but lost out to Bezos’ Amazon – September 1, 2015
Apple’s move into content creation could devastate Netflix and Amazon
Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why would Apple want to make their own movies and TV shows? – September 1, 2015
Apple exploring entry into original entertainment production – August 31, 2015
Top Gear’s Clarkson, Hammond and May sign with Amazon Prime for new show to debut in 2016 – July 30, 2015


  1. myopia |mīˈōpēə|
    • lack of imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight: historians have been censured for their myopia in treating modern science as a western phenomenon.
    SYNONYM: Tim Cook.

  2. it’s just sad…apple had a lot of potential here. i get they were trying to roll out a streaming tv product but they let roku and the firestick take a share of the market when all apple had to do was put some minor innovations in there.

    1. Apple could have done what Amazon did with their Amazon Channels product which integrates listings of premium channels (HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, etc.) into the main interface. One search across all content I think was what SJ wanted and probably meant by ‘cracking’ tv, but for some reason Apple continues to fail to do.

  3. I have been cutting on and off the cord for a while now.

    My internet cost goes up when I drop the cable tv bundle price.

    Then if I add a third source “tv bundle”, I am about at the same cost of me getting the internet and cable bundle.

    I have been playing with Kodi lately. But the streaming quality is still just “SD” and buffers a lot. Not to mention “live tv streaming” on Kodi is very awkward.

  4. Please roll the Cue ball out the front door and give someone else who has a clue have a go at making something out of this endless piddling around with TV.

  5. Apple design the best hardware and software combo then sell it, support all file and video formats, then get out of the way, Hollywood, Cable, and the Internet companies will never do anything other than keep asking for more money for doing less….

  6. I bought the original Apple TV. I also bought one a generation or two back. I lost count. I didn’t use them all that often. But I do use the current generation version (we have three: two bedrooms and the living room), with the horrible remote control that is made partly of glass. It’s in a case. But I left it in the chair and sat on it. It didn’t break, but it did bend, so now the top pad clicks really easily, which I kind of like. I thought it was too stiff before. I wish I could reliably bend the other two remotes. I tried DirecTV Now and hated it because it was unreliable and didn’t have NBC, PBS, CW, CBS or a DVR. Sony’s PlayStation Vue has NBC and CBS and the DVR. Still no PBS or CW and the DVR sometimes disables transport controls. PS Vue also crashes if you skip forward or back too fast. There are a lot of Apps on Apple TV and PS Vue lets you sign into a lot of them, albeit not easily. I’m looking forward to Hulu’s live service. I hope they did their homework. Ideally, I wish Apple would do a service with DVR that got the channels I’m getting from the others with the app sign-ins. I don’t understand how EVERYONE ELSE can do it (Sony, AT&T/DirecTV, Dish/Sling, Hulu, Google/YouTube). I’m sure others are coming. I would not be surprised if Comcast releases their service to everyone. Or Verizon. I’d be surprised if Amazon isn’t thinking about their own bundle TV service. (I refuse to call them skinny bundles because they aren’t skinny, or else I’d be able to get a line up that didn’t have ESPN but did have TCM.) I think it must be a problem with Eddie Cue and Tim Cook that they can’t get this done. An Apple service is needed so that the integration with Siri would be useful and so their TV app would have a point to it.

    Apple changed the default of their home button to activate their TV app, but honestly I see no need for it. It doesn’t contain any programming from streaming services like PS Vue, Sling, or DirecTV Now. When I had DirecTV, I had to have the CBS service too, and it interacted with the TV app in an unpleasant way that always put CBS shows at the top of its NEXT list, even if they were episodes from several seasons ago. They shouldn’t have bothered until they had their own service.

    And this idea of premium bundle is pretty worthless without the basic bundles. If you wait long enougt, your streaming service will have their own premium bundles or discounts, without Apple’s help.

  7. Bundle Schmundle! The legacy thinkers still stick to the tired old 20th century method of screwing customers. If Apple has a problem in this market it’s that its a FUTURIST, wanting to provide the customer with what they demand.

    But the media corporatocracy continues to detest and loath both the FUTURE and their CUSTOMERS. Therefore, they hold the future at bay in their stodgy way.

    DIE old generation corporatocracy doddering dolts! DIE!

    1. It’s hard for Apple to be a futurist in the TV arena when they can’t or won’t provide anything the media companies want or need that isn’t already offered by at least one competitor.

  8. Apple TV is so far behind than roku and other similar devices, price they charge for new ATv without 4k is outrageous even at $100 it is not worth it, it will interesting to see when they bring new ATv with 4k, I have 3 already, I thought these will be updated to 4k but boy I was wrong, apple laptops even lost it appeal and came 5th, they have owned that title for years.

  9. I bought the original Apple TV as well, waaaaaaay back when Apple had the jump on the whole industry. How they managed to fail so spectacularly is incredible. A true amazing spectacle of total incompetence. From arrogant negotiations to the worst remote ever designed to apps that require all kinds of signing in pain in the ass gateways. Chalk up another FAIL. Almost as bad as the fail of the Mac Pro. Its time to for Tim Cook to go back to operations.

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