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Old Nov 15, 2012, 10:07 PM   #126
arteggio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot24 View Post
Apple left a rather large hole in their release schedule when they moved iPads to Fall (assuming they keep a yearly release cycle from here on out).

Old Schedule:
Spring: iPads
Summer: Macs
Fall: iPhone

New Schedule:
Spring: ?
Summer: OS X & Devices
Fall: iOS & Devices

Given the current state of product updates, what are they going to release in the Spring?

<Queue rampant speculation>
There's also a bigger-picture schedule that it seems Apple has adhered to thus far, and 2013 merits something "big". (Someone may have brought it up in the last five pages but hopefully I'm not redundant.)

1998: iMac
2001: iTunes, iPod, OS X (the Digital Hub)
2004: iPod mini
2007: iPhone
2010: iPad
2013: …

Their annual upgrade schedule does them great for the iDevices, and I think this 3-year schedule for The Next Thing works too, so I don't imagine it being ignore. If done right / better than it's currently done, a TV of sorts would be a great contender for 2013.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 10:43 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
And I also think that each of the "good" channels that remain would be priced around $15-$30/month each.
No way. Look at how much an HBO or ShowTime package costs per month. I think on DirecTv it's like $12.95. Those options are perfect data points because they do not subsidize other channels and do not receive subsidies either. The premium packages are going to be the absolute upper limit on any other channels out there probably by a factor of 5x-10x. Furthermore, if cable companies cannot figure out a way to offer channels a la carte for under $5 each, they will go out of business. Too many channels already offer streaming over internet for free. Maybe that's not as good a picture as what comes straight from a cable/satellite provider, but it is an option nonetheless.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 11:27 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by ziggyonice View Post
I want time shifting.

I want to be able to watch any show I want. At anytime. Anywhere.

I don't want to have to subscribe to cable for this very reason — television companies hate time shifting. They want you to watch TV on their schedule.

I want to subscribe to channels on an a la carte basis. I want to pay a couple bucks per month for an ESPN "app" and a couple others, through my Apple ID. I then want to watch the content live or on-demand, my choice. None of those "package deals" crap. I don't need to pay for 300+ channels I don't watch.

This is the future. Hopefully Apple brings it.
That sounds great. I just hope Apple finds a solution that doesn't feel incomplete or half-baked. So many people in this country are tired of paying for hundreds of channels they never watch in order to watch the 10-15 channels they want to watch.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 11:51 PM   #129
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The world is desperately in need of a reasonably priced unlimited iTunes Movie Store streaming subscription, kinda like a "Netflix premium". I'd quite happily pay £20-30/month for all the latest releases on demand over Netflix's £6. Netflix's model is great, but the content sucks. I'd love to be able to pay more to get more, but digital per-movie prices are a total rip off at the moment.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 12:34 AM   #130
Michael Scrip
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Originally Posted by dampfnudel View Post

That sounds great. I just hope Apple finds a solution that doesn't feel incomplete or half-baked. So many people in this country are tired of paying for hundreds of channels they never watch in order to watch the 10-15 channels they want to watch.
Do people even want the entire channel? Or just certain shows on that channel?

Let's say each channel has about 18 hours of decent programming every day. Then what... you DVR the shows you want as they air in their normal timeslots?

Wouldn't it be better just to buy the shows you want?

I thought people wanted on-demand viewing... any show at any time on any device.

Buying an entire channel seems like the opposite of that.

Sure... you'd get rid of the channels you don't watch... but you'd still be waiting around for your show to air.

And then there's the issue of pricing. Right now you get 500 channels for $100 a month.

But you will never be able to only get 10 channels for $2 a month...
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 12:50 AM   #131
Michael CM1
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If Apple would just open up the TV to apps it would a huge step in the right direction. I'm out unless its a box because I just can't afford a new TV to replace the two good ones I have.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 01:53 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Michael CM1 View Post
If Apple would just open up the TV to apps it would a huge step in the right direction. I'm out unless its a box because I just can't afford a new TV to replace the two good ones I have.
I totally agree. It would be crazy to replace perfectly good tv's every few years, and the biggest thing that could be added to the apple tv would be an app ecosystem.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 03:28 AM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by george-brooks View Post
.....after the way iTunes destroyed the music industry
The music industry was dying BEFORE iTunes came along. Illegal downloading, among other things, was killing it.
If anything, iTunes revived the music industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richdmoore View Post
.....It would be crazy to replace perfectly good tv's every few years, and the biggest thing that could be added to the apple tv would be an app ecosystem.
Absolutely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipedro View Post
My bet is on:

1) New AppleTV 4 box with built in digital cable decoder and DVR.
- Cable companies offer it as an option free to their subscribers for a 2 year term contract or $99 at the Apple Store on no contract.
- Cable companies continue to sell channel packages, Apple takes over the interface and gets to sell iTunes content.

2) New Thunderbolt display with AppleTV built in: 27" + 42" + 52" ($999/$1499/$1999).

3) iMac update with AppleTV built in (Fall 2013).
Hmm, I like the sound of that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by danranda View Post
Although I mostly agree with the viewpoint that it seems unlikely that apple would be able to enter the TV market and be successful while probably maintaining high price points and few model options... the same could easily be said for when they entered the Cell Phone market. Back then, there were hundreds of various phone models, at prices staggered from free to $300, or more even. Then apple sold boat loads of their non-subsidized $500 phone and proved everyone wrong.
I'm skeptical, but I'd love to see it happen. GO !!
Cable companies are, for the most part, not content creators, but content distributors -middle men- effectively, who are not willingly going to give up their revenue streams, unless some revolutionary concept came along, that would alter the entire marketplace, and that would either replace them, or be financially beneficial to them in the long term. Another possibility would be, content creators uploading their shows directly to satellite, and dishes replacing our cable modems, for both broadband internet AND cable tv. Probably cheaper than the billions, the cable cos spend on cabling infrastructure, as well as maintenance and upgrading thereof. The savings of having eliminated those cable cos/middlemen, could make a cheaper alternative for consumers a reality, while preserving, if not even increasing, profit, for the creators of worthwhile content.

I'm hopeful, like you are, and I'm cautiously optimistic that APPLE may have an ace up their sleeve, somewhere down the line. Only time will tell.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 03:41 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
Did you know that last year, about $650 per U.S. household in OPM (other people's money) flowed through the system "as is" from commercial revenue, the vast majority of that from commercials none of us ever saw... most running on those hundreds of channels we never watch? That's $54/month for EVERY HOUSEHOLD that someone else (the companies paying for those commercials) is subsidizing for us... money that motivates the creation of new shows and contributes to the quality of the shows that "I" would like to retain in this new model. Kill that off and it either gets made up for by who- Apple or us- in this new model OR the quality of all production must come way down to meet the new revenue flows we think we collectively covet. Again, think!
If you're saying that by paying another $54 per month per household, we could eliminate TV commercials entirely, I'd happily pay. However, perhaps it would be less than that anyway, since all those channels that no-one watches but account for some of that amount could just disappear, and no-one would miss them.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 05:34 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
The music industry was dying BEFORE iTunes came along. Illegal downloading, among other things, was killing it.
If anything, iTunes revived the music industry.
I partially disagree. Doesn't have much to do with TV but I'll just say that the music industry wasn't dying because of piracy, it was dying because you were either a pirate or you were extorted by the industry.

Anyway, I'd happily pay for and watch an Apple television, if it included a subscription service that exempted me from ads. I don't mind sponsored messages too much, but commercial television is awful to watch with 5-10 minute ad 'breaks'.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 05:57 AM   #136
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It will probably be a rip off. For example, I have comcast and if I want to actually use Tivo....tivo charges me their monthly fee and comcast charges me as if I am renting one of their DVR's...wtf is that!
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 06:07 AM   #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post
And then there's the issue of pricing. Right now you get 500 channels for $100 a month.

But you will never be able to only get 10 channels for $2 a month...
People may be willing to pay $50 a month for 20 channels. Still saving money.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 06:12 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by SBlue1 View Post
People may be willing to pay $50 a month for 20 channels. Still saving money.
That already happens in Australia. Except it's $32 for 72 channels /w advertising... I'd happily pay $32 for 20 channels with no ads. Maybe even 10 channels. Although then again, the money I spend on advertising is $0, so I probably shouldn't complain too much.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 06:18 AM   #139
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For me personally TV is a waste of time.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 06:50 AM   #140
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No way. Look at how much an HBO or ShowTime package costs per month. I think on DirecTv it's like $12.95. Those options are perfect data points because they do not subsidize other channels and do not receive subsidies either. The premium packages are going to be the absolute upper limit on any other channels out there probably by a factor of 5x-10x. Furthermore, if cable companies cannot figure out a way to offer channels a la carte for under $5 each, they will go out of business. Too many channels already offer streaming over internet for free. Maybe that's not as good a picture as what comes straight from a cable/satellite provider, but it is an option nonetheless.
Good concept but there are also channels like Hustler or Playboy. On my system Hustler- a single channel- is priced at $39.99/month by itself. Playboy is $19.99/month by itself. So if we're trying to claim HBO (current) pricing as some kind of precedent, we shouldn't look over the fact that there are other channels that do charge much more than $10-15/month in the current model.

If you believe that $5/channel is the limit in the new, al-a-carte, commercial free dream model, then you believe the quality of the programming itself will need to come way down OR that the programming will need to shift up into a small window so that there can be nearly continuous advertising running around the sporting event or show. Somebody has to pay up to make up the difference if quality & breadth of programming (so that we all get our favorite shows) isn't sacrificed.

Again the math is not "what I pay now" divided by "the number of channels I can get now" times "the number of channels I would actually want to get". The business goal of the transition would be to at least maintain the current cash stream. So if we all went from 200 channels to- say- 10 "best" channels the target bill would go from $100 (we pay now) to $100 or more we would pay then. Nobody in the chain beyond us consumers has any motivations to cut the average revenue per household down from current levels. Everyone else- Apple included- wants to make MORE money, not less.

Did the cost of cell phone service come way down for "minutes I never use" when Apple innovated the iPhone? Wouldn't iPhone sell much better than it does if we had unlimited everything for about $10-$15/month? Wouldn't it be much better for Apple if that part of the iPhone purchase was much more affordable for the masses? Innovating a new bit of Television hardware is not so different than innovating new smart phone hardware, where both are heavily dependent on other parties to deliver their primary benefits. Just as the arrival of an iPhone didn't lead to 80-85% cheaper cell phone service plans, the arrival of an Apple Television is unlikely to lead to 80-85% cheaper television service plans.

A new model where we all pay about 10-15% of what we pay now is probably something like youtube +: very low cost of production content to fit the small fee (we think we all want to pay in this new model). We are not going to get high quality production from the studios if they have to cut their costs by 85-90%. Apple is certainly NOT going to make up the difference as some kind of subsidy. In the new model it's just production companies + Apple + us.

Even more simply: if the cable/satt companies believed there was more money in al-a-carte than there is in the existing model, they'd be all over it... years ago. Where the "more money" is... is generally where "greedy" businesses go. The main fuel for the al-a-carte concept is us consumers thinking we'll end up with exactly the same experience (every show we want to watch) for a fraction of what we pay now. We just pretend to ignore things like the $54 per household subsidy paid for by others (buying commercials that we mostly never see on channels we never watch). We also imagine that our broadband bill will remain approximately static even though most of our broadband connections are owned by the same companies that like us paying them for cable/satt subscriptions too. Etc.

I'd like to pay 10-15% of what I currently pay for electricity, gas, all insurances, taxes, etc too but there's about as good a chance of getting that wish as getting this one.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Nov 16, 2012 at 08:50 AM.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 07:32 AM   #141
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Show us a 27" iMac, then the telly
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 07:37 AM   #142
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I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I am very close to cutting the cord with cable tv. I'm in Jersey and my cable (Cablevision/Optimum) was out for two weeks before our last hurricane resulting in me not having tv for almost an entire month. I have returned DVR's only to have them replaced with another failing DVR. I've put up with shoddy service for 3 years since I moved into this house. I've had a tech out to my house at least 9 times in the past 3 years. I've had a new line run from the curb to the house, new lines run in the house, splitters checked, boosters checked, and I still have crappy service.

Cable is not worth it. I feel like an idiot channel surfing and wasting my time. I've lost so many shows that I'm into because of failing DVRs. After this recent episode of no cable TV for almost a month I began getting used to not having it and using my apple tv and roku for most of my television with the occasional torrent or purchase from itunes or amazon. If I wanted I could go crazy with torrents but I prefer to be legal.

But I'm fed up with their service, and sadly they are my only choice around here. The cord is getting cut soon.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 07:48 AM   #143
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You are holding it wrong....

Guys, Apple will not compete with Cable on content, what cable is doing is implemeting the IPTV architecture. AT&T, Verizon and BCE are already using it, but old school QAM cable company need to impletment it. Once the IPTV architecture is done, live TV broadcast wont required more broadband capacity. Live TV and on demand wont even used any of youre internet data plan, it will be complety free and included in the packages prices or in the renting price.

What Apple will do is team with Cable and offer the iOS ecosystem using cable boxes and a TV set. In adding to hardware profits, Apple will only get a cut on apps and video on demand, the live TV channels packages are still 100% cable control. Apple will not try to make you drop cable... its goal is to enhance the experience.

If you dont like it sell youre stocks, because this is whats coming.

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Old Nov 16, 2012, 08:03 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by arteggio View Post
There's also a bigger-picture schedule that it seems Apple has adhered to thus far, and 2013 merits something "big". (Someone may have brought it up in the last five pages but hopefully I'm not redundant.)

1998: iMac
2001: iTunes, iPod, OS X (the Digital Hub)
2004: iPod mini
2007: iPhone
2010: iPad
2013: …

Their annual upgrade schedule does them great for the iDevices, and I think this 3-year schedule for The Next Thing works too, so I don't imagine it being ignore. If done right / better than it's currently done, a TV of sorts would be a great contender for 2013.
Nice catch. You're reminding me of one more possible twist here.

Let's amend my previous thoughts and include what we know about recent org changes at Apple:

New Schedule
Spring: ? (Eddy Cue)
Summer: OS X, Devices (Craig Federighi)
Fall: iOS, Devices (Jony Ive)

Presumably any TV-related product would be a cloud service, which falls squarely into Cue's purview. Or the big blockbuster could be th rumored iTunes streaming service we've heard about (Pandora/Spotify killer)?

Food for thought...

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
<snip>
Nice try, cable guy.

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Old Nov 16, 2012, 08:05 AM   #145
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If I could view the channels I want, that would be great. Choosing the show I want to see when ever I want to see them. Sunday all shows for the week are available and I watch them when I want.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 08:22 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by steve-p View Post
If you're saying that by paying another $54 per month per household, we could eliminate TV commercials entirely, I'd happily pay. However, perhaps it would be less than that anyway, since all those channels that no-one watches but account for some of that amount could just disappear, and no-one would miss them.
You appear to be among the minority. Often when this "dream" of the new model is thrown about, the high for out-of-pocket seems to be about $30/month. Most posts seem to imagine Apple will somehow work this so that we can spend about $10 or $15 per month based on the naive math of "Cost I pay now"/"number of channels I get now"*"number of channels I actually want". For example $100/200 = 50 cents times 10 (channels I want): My new bill should be $5/month. If all of our bills go from about $100 per month to about $5 per month, something has definitely got to give.

Someone is watching those channels "no one watches". Why? Because it takes eyeball counts to sell the commercials on those channels. No viewership at all = no eyeballs = no appeal to those who buy commercials. Thus, even on the very worst of those channels that we- as individuals- can be sure no one watches, someone is watching. In fact, it has to be enough someones to justify the commercial-selling efforts by the channel owners. If no one was really watching a channel, our tiny little contribution to those channels (that slice out of what we pay in our cable bill) would not be enough to keep the channel going. And we witness this when channels we hardly ever watch get killed off (if they made money just from a slice of our cable bill, they wouldn't get killed off).

If we consumers are going to make up for the loss of commercial revenue in this commercial-free "dream" of a new model, our monthly bill starts at $54/month per household. On top of that we need to buy our channels and Apple will want to make it's cut too. If we want to imagine that each channel would cost only- say- $5 each on average and we would buy 10 of them (our 10 favorite channels)- our bill is $104/month in this new model.

I seriously doubt the channels would average only $5 each in an al-a-carte model. I think they would be much higher. But even when we dream about $5 each, if we also dream about commercial-free, we can easily turn our $100 cable bill into $105 new model bill. Net result: 10 channels instead of 200 and probably a higher monthly broadband bill to boot.

Here's how to accomplish the same in the current model: Use your set-top boxes "Fav channel list" feature to build a channel list of just the channels you watch. This will effectively block out all of those channels "I never watch" so the net result from an experience standpoint is exactly the same as the dream. If you only watch 10 channels, build a fav list of those 10 channels and only those 10 will show in your guide. Meanwhile, in the now invisible background, 190 channels you never watch (and no longer clog up your on-screen guide) can keep making revenues from commercial buyers on those channels (commercials you'll never see) to subsidize some of the "good" programming that probably appears on the channels we do watch.

In this arrangement, your experience is likely pretty near to the al-a-carte dream but you don't lose the OPM subsidy, you could still get to those 190 other channels should one of them decide to show something you might want to actually watch and your television bill can stay at $100 instead of $105+... and your broadband bill can stay at about the same level it is now.

What about the commercials? Yes, they're still there (that's how we get other people to subsidize the cost of what we watch) but we can use skip features on our DVR to record the shows we want to watch and skip over the commercials during playback. DVR will also meet the on-demand desires of the dream.

Else, if we are going to pay the premium for commercial free and we want about 10 channels in our guide, even the conservative pricing of $5 per channel can yield more than what we pay now. And again, broadband will almost certainly go up in price if we are going to quit our cable subscriptions to download everything we watch via broadband (typically owned by the same companies).

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Nov 16, 2012 at 08:52 AM.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 08:39 AM   #147
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Nice try, cable guy.
Not at all. I hate the current arrangement. I see the cable/satt business just like I see the cell phone service providers. I love the fundamental concept of the "dream" of this new model. However, I'm also a realist. I have no interest in helping the existing model win this contest but I do know that any new model has to show the various players how they are going to make MORE money- not less- to motivate them to play ball. This particular dream replaces players so that only Studios + Apple + Us remain. If Apple is not going to take the hit to give us our super-cheap television subscription model replacement, who's left?

If the Studios take the hit, the quality of programming must go down to reflect the new reality of their cut of the cash flows dropping by 85% or more so that we can pay a cheap monthly rate. If so, we get something more like youtube programming (where the "artists" work for free/cheap and as non-profits). You don't get million-dollar-per-episode quality if the budget is cut to $150K per episode. You don't get that quality(?) of writing or that quality of acting, directing, producing, special effects, etc if all those names in the credits see their paychecks cut by 85% or more. Etc.

If the Studios are going to still make theirs (to keep the quality of their work at the level it is now) and Apple is not going to take the hit to deliver us this super cheap rate, who's left?

And again, even if Apple would take the hit (just think about how ridiculous that is for a minute), Apple's replacement still depends on what is probably your cable company's broadband pipes. How can we imagine that if Apple ate up the cable subscription revenue model from the likes of Comcast, Time Warner, etc that those players wouldn't just make up the losses by raising broadband rates? And where you going to go if they do that? Isn't the other broadband player in your area- if you are lucky enough to have more than one- also in the video subscription business too?

I'd love to see the dream come true in its most ideal incarnation: a bill we pay gets cut huge, Apple makes theirs, the Studios can maintain or improve the quality of what we get, all Sports can continue to work, local news and similar continues to be available, etc commercial free, on demand, anywhere.

It's really easy to dream it. The hard part is pulling it off. Like iPhone, Apple can definitely make a "wow" piece of new hardware (maybe the rumored television). The trick is how to deliver the real benefits of that new hardware. Just as Apple's iPhone didn't cut cell phone SERVICE rates for all of us by 85% or more, I just don't see how Apple developing a Television is going to yield Television programming at 85% off of what we pay now. I get how we can imagine it. But if you dig in just a little deeper, the real problems reveal themselves.

Last edited by HobeSoundDarryl; Nov 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 09:14 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post
Do people even want the entire channel? Or just certain shows on that channel?

snip
TV viewing is for the most part, a passive activity. People turn on the TV and see what's on. Sure, there are times that people will tune in to a particular show (appointment TV), but most of the time, the TVs on and you flip around to see what's interesting.

Buying individual shows is an active activity. You have to know the exact show that you want to watch. Then you watch it. There's no discovery in this model ... other than algorithmic recommendations.

An iTunes a la carte model doesn't quite work out for the content providers in the sense that a new, less visible show won't be able to gain a steady audience. In the end, this could be bad for viewers/consumers in that we'll be fed steady doses of the "same old *****". If you like "police procedurals", "vapid reality stars", "formulaic sitcoms", and "cooking competitions", then you're all set. However, if you enjoy smartly written serials with a does of Fantasy, SciFi, or Horror, then you can forget about it.

I wonder if a show like Battlestar Galactica could have made it through 4 seasons in an On Demand model.

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Old Nov 16, 2012, 09:29 AM   #149
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For me personally TV is a waste of time.
I generally feel that same way about television. I ditched cable (and my TV) in 2004. But, I do sometimes download seasons of shows from iTunes. I just park a video-capable iPod in a speakerdock in the kitchen and half-watch these old TV shows during meal prep.

The key there is "half-watch." My kind of TV-watching doesn't lend itself to an investment in cable or Apple TV or even any kind of subscription streaming. If the whole medium disappeared tomorrow, I'd just go back to listening to audio tracks.

I do buy digital versions of movies, if I like some film I saw via my Netflix disc rental subscription. But again, that's for an option to view a particular movie multiple times over a period of years. It doesn't lend itself to a monthly cable subscription with pay-per-view option.

Advances in tech for people who do like to use video consistently for their entertainment (or education) are great, especially when the advances are focused on user-friendliness. But I think the market might be softer for this than for audio-related tech. Apple sold me on a smartphone even though I live in a dead zone, because I can take the iPhone with me to someplace the carriers feel like delivering a signal, because I can use it on WiFi or without a connection, and because it can provide me so many single-purpose apps I like to use, in a box that fits in a shirt pocket. Selling me Apple TV to use just to watch my digital purchases? No. I don't even have a separate monitor. All my gear is laptops and mobiles. Selling me Apple TV to use in conjunction with cable service? That rests on a whole raft of other considerations, including the major stumbling block of turf-related cable TV's blasted monopoly pricing and anti-consumer tier construction.

Using video does constrain to some extent people's ability to do other things at the same time. In a soft economy, that's something people are more aware of when they make purchasing decisions. It's part of the cable industry's problem right now. That, and the issue of refusal to make an honest, full-blown, long term experiment with a la carte content tiers. Maybe whatever Apple's coming up with is an attempt to minimize that problem, or maybe even just highlight it. "Pseudo a la carte cable content selection" ? Bring it on. First let's hear what it costs every month beyond the hardware and setup.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 09:37 AM   #150
The Bulge
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Originally Posted by LizKat View Post
I generally feel that same way about television. I ditched cable (and my TV) in 2004. But, I do sometimes download seasons of shows from iTunes. I just park a video-capable iPod in a speakerdock in the kitchen and half-watch these old TV shows during meal prep.

The key there is "half-watch." My kind of TV-watching doesn't lend itself to an investment in cable or Apple TV or even any kind of subscription streaming. If the whole medium disappeared tomorrow, I'd just go back to listening to audio tracks.

I do buy digital versions of movies, if I like some film I saw via my Netflix disc rental subscription. But again, that's for an option to view a particular movie multiple times over a period of years. It doesn't lend itself to a monthly cable subscription with pay-per-view option.

Advances in tech for people who do like to use video consistently for their entertainment (or education) are great, especially when the advances are focused on user-friendliness. But I think the market might be softer for this than for audio-related tech. Apple sold me on a smartphone even though I live in a dead zone, because I can take the iPhone with me to someplace the carriers feel like delivering a signal, because I can use it on WiFi or without a connection, and because it can provide me so many single-purpose apps I like to use, in a box that fits in a shirt pocket. Selling me Apple TV to use just to watch my digital purchases? No. I don't even have a separate monitor. All my gear is laptops and mobiles. Selling me Apple TV to use in conjunction with cable service? That rests on a whole raft of other considerations, including the major stumbling block of turf-related cable TV's blasted monopoly pricing and anti-consumer tier construction.

Using video does constrain to some extent people's ability to do other things at the same time. In a soft economy, that's something people are more aware of when they make purchasing decisions. It's part of the cable industry's problem right now. That, and the issue of refusal to make an honest, full-blown, long term experiment with a la carte content tiers. Maybe whatever Apple's coming up with is an attempt to minimize that problem, or maybe even just highlight it. "Pseudo a la carte cable content selection" ? Bring it on. First let's hear what it costs every month beyond the hardware and setup.
You just basically described what i do :.) Impressive.
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