Apple TV speculation chit chat - the mechanics of a new TV model

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by One Bad Duck, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. One Bad Duck macrumors member

    One Bad Duck

    Sep 18, 2005
    Hi people,

    So Apple reckon they have cracked the TV market. I wondered what everyones thoughts were on how they've done this. Here are my thoughts (predictions of sorts)

    1. The Screen panel itself obviously is going to have to be one of the best on the market - are they going to get LG or Sony to build it for them? It will have to be to warrant the price.

    2. Right here is where it gets to the meat of the issue - the content. Obviously the Apple TV will incorporate the functions of the current appleTV box. But as for TV channel content - I don't see Apple putting any form of strategy forward that would mean you would also have set top boxes. Its just not them. Which means 1 of 2 options (I live in the UK). They have gone to the Satellite/Cable providers and said to them "Right we've incorporated your box into our TV you plug your cable/satellite connection into our TV and we provide all the front end. Which means (in my case) no more BSkyB remote or set top box - but - all the channels I subscribe to will appear on my Apple TV channel list. All of Sky's features like Sky Anytime (free on demand) programming would be lost as all this would then go through the iTunes store but that means you're losing some of the value of Sky subscription. This can't work its too complicated, or is it?

    Or Apple have skipped even that step and are now competing with the cable provider directly for programming content which they will provide over internet connection? (Did they get British Premier League Rights?). I mean it has to be internet - they are certainly not going to set up they're own cable companies all over the world. I don't know about you guys but my internet connection is just not good enough to sustain these programs - certainly not during peak times and certainly not in HD.

    Even if Apple provide kick ass on demand TV viewing this cannot make up 100% of their strategy - some live TV you cannot replace like News and Sport and special national announcements. They need live programming. Would this just be the free-to-air digital channels?

    3. Features like Siri is almost certain but this can't be the primary way you interact with the TV it can't be Voice Tech isn't quick enough yet. Do you need an iPhone to control it?

    4. I think the apps that the current appleTV are missing are coming.

    5. What about sound - some people output their TV's sound into an amp and then to surround sound. Would an Apple TV have a surround sound bar along the front like those I've seen on the market or would they leave sound to external connection. But then you would need an amp below it and that ruins the aesthetic

    This is a horrible articulation of my thoughts - but what do you guys think?
  2. jamesvdm macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    You have hit all the major questions there, and I agree with them all except the inclusion of Siri.

    Number 2 is interesting. I hadn't thought of built in cable boxes with an Apple interface for content. Still, it doesn't seem likely as the cable companies are in direct competition with Apple.
  3. ceiph macrumors regular

    Nov 7, 2007
    stopped reading about there.. is this the same sony who sold there manufacturing plants that they shared with samsung, to samsung because they have lost money on lcd tv sales for the last 6 years? and the same guys who based on sales dont even rank in the top 5 anymore and were pushed out by Westinghouse and sharp?

    sorry i thought you said the best but it didn't add up.

    OK i did read more, the tv you described already exists for people with too much money and no brains

    Anyway i would venture a guess that any tv that apple really did bring to the market would be more than the sum of its parts but really all integrated into iTunes. They would have to bring the tv market the same innovation the mp3 market got and that would mean going 1 on 1 with the content providers.
  4. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    I've been advocating a great new screen technology like OLED, a wireless hook-up system and partnership with DirecTv so I can get all those shows I like, from sports to Shameless in real time, when I like hopefully.

    Some might opt for Fox News and a couple of UFO shows...whatever.

    Of course we could get apps, iTunes, movies, etc and they would be beamed down to us almost instantly, rather than downloads over phone wires.
  5. gigaguy, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012

    gigaguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oldtime Sony fan, but Sony does not manufacture flat panels, they use mostly Samsung, and maybe some Sharp. I think they were holding out for OLED, but who knows about that. Apple w/OLED would be killer and cost as much as a cheap car. Sonys first consumer OLED was about 9" and cost $2500 if I remember. currently Sony's 'Pro' 25" Oleds go from $6k to $26k.
    I hope Apple offers a set top or add-on option. Don't need a new panel.
  6. Coldsmoke macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011
    Apple TV, next gen

    While I hope I am wrong, my thought is that you won't actually see an Apple branded TV set this coming year, or perhaps ever.
    I suspect that they will upgrade the existing Apple TV "box" to be a "stick" much like the new Roku stick that was announced at CES and which uses the new MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) enabled HDMI connection.

    If you think about it, one of the business problems Apple will face with selling TV's is that every time they come out with a new processor to support the next generation of IOS features, that would require a consumer to replace their TV set. That just isn't going to happen or at least not without a lot of kicking and screaming.

    So, their options would be to manufacture a TV that has a user replaceable processing unit that can be easily upgraded OR just bypass the whole hardware aspect of the TV itself and just provide a device that can enable the TV experience with no need for wires or power supplies, etc. Enter MHL which seems like it was made to enable just such a technological shift.
    This would allow Apple to keep focused on the things they do well.... the user experience (and not so much on picture quality)

    Anyway, as Dennis Miller always says when ending his rants, "That's my opinion but I could be wrong".
  7. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    Why would it require that people keep buying new TVs? I bought an HDTV, then LED came out, then 3D, then Smart TVs... I didn't buy a new TV each time those technologies came out, so why couldn't I buy an Apple TV and use it until it breaks without constantly upgrading.

    A lot of people on computer forums assume that everyone gets rid of there tech when an upgrade comes out, but I use an 8 year-old computer that works just fine for most of what I need. Sure I drool over the new tech, but I don't have to buy it all.
  8. HobeSoundDarryl, Jan 31, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    I'd give that a maybe. An issue with MHL is that it pretty much means that everyone would have to buy a new HDTV anyway (as almost all HDTVs in homes now don't have that feature in their HDMI ports). Right out of the gate, that :apple:TV's market would be limited to people buying brand new HDTVs that include that feature. It would flip the old issue of "batteries not included" into "new HDTV required", making the appeal of the next gen version come with a stiff added cost requirement (and a lot of customer service headaches: "I plugged this into my HDMI port and nothing happened", "Is your HDTV HDMI MHL-capable?", "uhhhhh, what?")

    I do hope that an Apple Television is NOT coming. From my perspective, that is a mess in so many ways... including very simple ones like Apple picking an ideal size or two when consumers show desires for a wide variety of sizes. Ports or no ports (and which would Apple endorse)? Remote choices? Panel type (Plasma vs. LED vs OLED vs. something else)?

    If there is to be a television, I suspect it will come with some kind of slot in which regularly upgradable "brains" can be plugged. However, if there is still also those very same brains in a <$200 (maybe <$100) set-top box that can hook to ANY television (including those we may already own), I find it pretty hard to believe the mass market would buy the Apple-branded TV over the next-gen :apple:TV linked to whatever size/type/priced television they covet/own.

    Note that Apple will source a television panel from someone else and that someone else would very likely package that exact same panel in a case with their own brand on it, probably priced at (much) less than the Apple-branded version. This would be the exact same hardware. If there is an :apple:TV that fully delivers the exact same software experience, there is no incentive to buy the Apple version of the hardware unless one just really wants the Apple logo on the front (instead of Samsung, LG, Sharp, etc).

    What supports the so-called Apple premium is actually the software. In this case, an :apple:TV set-top box isolates the software from the hardware. This might be equivalent to being able to buy OS X for any computer platform or being able to buy iOS and run it on any mobile device... all in an Apple-endorsed way. You can't really do that with OS X or iOS now (at least not in an Apple-endorsed way), but if the :apple:TV survives the launch of an Apple Television so that buyers have a choice of the same functionality built in or via the set-top box hooked to any television, the hardware would have to stand on its own (no software benefits to justify the Apple premium). Most simply, this would be a max literal case where a person would be paying up for just the Apple logo.

    What that means to me is that if there is to be an Apple television, there probably will no longer be an :apple:TV (that works for other televisions). Or, if there is an :apple:TV that brings all of the same functionality to any other television hardware, the Apple-branded one will probably not sell that well. Separate the software from the hardware and the hardware must win the toe-to-toe battle on its own (and a television panel made by- say- Samsung would very likely have to compete toe-to-toe against the exact same panel branded Samsung and probably priced several hundred dollars less). If there is an Apple premium involved, I think this would be very hard to do... especially against the backdrop of Apple choosing (also known as limiting consumer choices to Apple decisions about) "ideal size(s)", ports or no ports, panel type, remote options, etc.

    Personally, it makes much more sense to me for Apple to build the end all, be all :apple:TV with the missing benefits long coveted by those who have not yet purchased one (or begrudgingly puts up with the sacrifices while waiting for the one they really want). What are those missing benefits? 1) 1080p playback matching Blu Ray max playback standards (I think that is actually 1080p up to 60fps and up to a high Mbps), 2) App Store so others can build the functionality that Apple does not want to include 3) normalized USB port(s), so that a) those wanting local "turn the computer off" media storage can attach whatever size hard drive(s) they desire and store their content there and b) so that select hardware add-ons desired by some could be developed by third parties, such as Elgato bringing an option for DVR and/or BD players to the box, 4) Embracing the audio standards superior to DD5.1 (again getting toe-to-toe with the best of what someone can get out of Blu Ray hardware). There are a few other niche desirable features (for example, I'd personally like analog audio out for compatibility with Zone 2 functionality in most receivers) but those are the "biggies" (best I know).
  9. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
    I posted in another thread that they will probably upgrade the Cinema Displays to accommodate the TV functionality.

    I wonder also if Apple have managed to get the picture right to the edge like its just a pain of glass. Not even sure if thats possible.
  10. Coldsmoke macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011

    The one truth about "hardware manufacturers" is that the only way they make money is if you buy their hardware. So, the majority of them build in obsolecence by requiring users to upgrade memory, disk space, I/O cards, graphic adapters, etc as software or even perceived user expectations change. I am not faulting them, I am merely stating fact. Secondarily, technology is advancing at a faster pace than anything else in the history of mankind. Things that were not possible 5 years ago are commonplace today.
    So now extend that to the TV as we all experience the shift from a "dumb device" with no real operating system to the next generation of TV's which we all suspect will have some degree of "smarts" and features to enhance the user experience. These new generation of TV's may be more like your laptop/desktop computer than they are like the TV sitting in your living room today.
    Hence, they will likely be exposed to the same things that drive computer upgrades and replacements.....more memory, more storage, faster processors, etc to complete the tasks being asked of it tomorrow, next year, the year after that, etc.
    THAT is why I think Apple (and other competing companies) have the business problem of trying to figure out how to bring the user experience we the consumers are craving without the need to constantly (or frequently) change out our TV sets.

    Think of it this way.... I own an original Apple TV. It still operates just like the day I bought it in 2008 and THAT is its biggest downfall. It does not play well in the macro IOS technology scheme of 2012 and it cannot be upgraded. Its processor is slow, memory is limited, and it relies on an old vision of how to implement user media options. Further, there is evidence that Apple is no longer going to support the device on iTunes. They already announced in early 2010 that they no longer would provide software updates.

    I also own an Apple TV2 because that is the "current technology" which enables the features/functions of IOS and which is currently supported via iTunes. It has a faster processor, more memory, and is designed with a completely different architectural vision than its predecessor, (streaming versus local storage).
    If Apple were to build the equivalent of the current Apple TV into an actual TV, then you the consumer would be faced with the difficult decision to replace it (the TV) more often or lose features/functions you were accustomed to. Hence, the thoughts expressed in my original message that they have at least two options: Manufacture TV's where the guts are user upgradeable (i.e.: plug in module or similar) OR just bypass the manufacturing of the TV altogether and do something like the MHL device on the outside of the set.

    Again, these are just my thoughts on the topic. I enjoy reading others viewpoints as well as we all go along on the ride to the next generation of TV's.
  11. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Well, it can be upgraded much easier then the atv2 but you have to hack it.

    Faster processor .. yes ... more memory .. no. Both the atv 1 and atv 2 have 256 mb of ram soldered onto the mother board. In fact its the main reason that a jailbroken atv 2 still cannot output 1080p to display. A hacked atv 1 running linux with a chd chip can actually output 1080p right to your 1080p tv.

    Not arguing your points, but worth noting the difference.
  12. RichyB macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2010

    The apple tv doesn't even need to be high spec to compete because the tv industry has been on the wrong path for years.

    I think steve jobs realised that tv manufacturers put the least amount of innovation into the all important interface between the user and the tv i.e. remote control; instead they focus on gimmicky rubbish e.g 3dtv, samsung smart tv, panasonic viera cast yadda yadda. Then theres the xbox motion gimmick and the ps3 that could've been a game changer integrated into a tv.

    Its funny that some manufacturers are even coming out with touch screen tv's when that is the last thing you want in a living room environment.

    With an apple tv they will capitalise on the huge take up of the iPhone/ipad/itouch and use those as an interface between the tv and the user. This is why there is talk of using siri, you won't talk at the tv but into your phone to interface with the tv etc. Then will come a load of apps allowing you to do all kinds of things with your tv.
  13. pearvsapple macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2012
    Just gimme a 50" iMac with IPS display + full array LED + 4k resolution and I'll die a happy man.
  14. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    But, in general, you don't lose functionality, you just don't gain new functionality.

    As an example, HD was such an improvement that I bought an HDTV when I could afford one, but 3D is not a compelling feature for me so I haven't bought a new TV with 3D, but my TV looks as good and works as well as it did before 3D was introduced.
  15. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
  16. takeshi74, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Of course not. You're comparing apples to oranges. The TV tech doesn't matter because you use your TV as a monitor and change out the boxes that supply content to it as needed. When you integrate a box into the TV then you're stuck with whatever the TV came with until you upgrade. Generally, people don't upgrade their TV's as quickly as they do their IOS devices but integrating these features into a TV set will make it much more IOS like.

    Sure, you could just connect a newer external box but then why did you buy a TV with the integrated features to begin with? It's the same issue I have with other integrated appliances. You're stuck with what came integrated. That said, a lot of consumers are apparently happy with such solutions.

    That's what happens when you get cut or stabbed by glass. Pane of glass, on the other hand, is a sheet of glass.
  17. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2007
    No, that's not what I mean. When 3D came out you couldn't just attach a box because you needed a 3D compatible TV. So I took a pass on the technology like a lot of other people did. Same with Smart TVs, though you can circumvent that with a smart box like the aTV2.

    TVs are already adding new tech all the time, without Apple, 120 hz, 240 hz, LED, etc., so I don't see why you couldn't buy an Apple TV and use it for the life of the product, ignoring the fact that new features will be added to newer models. The bulk of the population don't follow tech with the rabid need to have the newest version of everything.

    As I said, new features are already being added to TVs all the time, but that doesn't mean that the TV you already bought, because you thought it was great, now is junk.
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    My wild predictions.

    • Always on. Apple's TV will be always on (but sleeping when unused), whose screen will wake up on push notification or when someone initiates AirPlay from portable iOS device.
    • NFC. Both new generation of portable iOS devices and TV will use NFC for easier AirPlay (just slide contents from portable iOS device toward the direction of TV).
    • TV that almost disappears into the wall. No bezel, very thin. Very high quality wallpaper that mimics the look of real wall papers to make the TV disappear.
    • Camera for FaceTime and gesture based UI (it will also respond to portable iOS device and Siri).
    • Multiple users. Since TV is shared by many folks, Apple will finally roll out multi-user support to iOS. User switching will be done via camera, portable iOS device, or voice authentication (with UI prompting for more information when multiple users are present).
    • iCloud improvements for syncing and sharing contents with multiple iCloud accounts, such as easier sharing all or groups of contacts, calendar events, reminders, etc (some of these tasks can be done today by logging into, but the process is clumsy). And merging iCloud purchases, too.
    • Content agreement with producers (e.g., ABC/Disney, HBO), traditional providers (e.g., Comcast, Time Warner), and online providers (e.g., Hulu, Netflix) with UI that integrates them all for seamless experience.
    • Competitive price. $2999 for 60", $1999 for 50", $999 for 40".
    • Need breed of apps for collaboration (e.g., meetings, family bulletin board).
  19. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Multi user is an interesting thought. Customized dashboards for everyone in the family to get to their channels and personal content. I would also like to see some kind of personalized ticker or sidebar so you can get more unique customized info relavent or otherwise to what you're watching. Right now to see a news ticker I have to switch to a news channel. Seems pretty stone age.
  20. MJLavelle macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2012
    Charlotte NC
    What if everyone is thinking too small on all of this? What if it is not a TV at all?
    Stay with me here. Look at the music business prior to the release of the first iPod in 2001. The majority of music was sold in music stores. You were limited to what the major music stores carried. You had to work hard to find more obscure groups. And you had little to no exposure to foreign music. Worst of all, you had to buy an entire CD, just to get one song you liked. There were MP3 players, but they were certainly not a mainstream item. And for the most part, you had to convert your existing media to MP3, or get pirate copies. But then Apple introduced the iPod, and iTunes. Without iTunes, the iPod may have died. But iTunes was a new way to buy music. You got a clear, consistent copy of the song you wanted. And you could buy a single song, not the entire album. There was no more physical media to get damaged. The studios and artists did not like it at first, but suddenly people were buying music that had not sold for years, and almost anyone could get a song on iTunes. You can access almost any niche music you want now. And the studios and artists are happy, music stores are almost gone, and iTunes is the number one source of music for most of the world.
    Now, think about the TV industry now. The average person gets their TV from either cable or satellite. You purchase a programming package with dozens if not hundreds of channels you don't want, and never look at. You have to step up to a higher price tier to get just one specific channel. You have to subscribe to a premium service like Showtime, just to see Weeds and Homeland.
    But what if the new Apple TV is not a TV at all, but a new box, and a new service, with á la carte pricing, where you can either subscribe to just the channels you wanted, or even just a season of the show you wanted? The Big 4 networks don't really produce shows. They buy them from studios. They are just middlemen, making decisions for the rest of us. But what if you just bought from the studios themselves? They could take more chances and produce shows the networks would not touch. There would be more niche shows. And you can finally cut that cable or take down that satellite dish. Time Warner, Comcast, Dish Network, and Direct TV could be pushed out of business, along with broadcast networks. It would take time, and the pricing would have to be right. Studios could offer the first 2 episodes of a show for free, and then charge for the rest of the season. You could have what you want, and nothing more. I have read stories about Apple having issues securing rights with some studios. What if this is what they are working on? What if it is a fundamental change to the way you get TV? The cable and satellite companies would have to be scared. In 10 years, the whole way we get TV could be turned on it's head, just like the music business changed. No one really saw the way the music business would be changed. There were some attempts to do what Apple did, but Apple did it right. And there are some companies offering á la carte TV, but it is pretty marginal. So, what if Apple is about to do the very same thing to TV? What if it will be the combination of hardware and content that will change TV forever?
  21. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    yes, but that's what everyone wants and has wanted for a decade. It's not a new idea in any way. If anyone could do it it would be Apple but nobody's been able to do it yet.
  22. class77 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
    I thought the new Roku sticks would only work with the new kind of HDMI plugs designed to bring power to the HDMI ports.
  23. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    That's correct. Those ROKU sticks don't work in the HDMI ports we have now. So the sale of that kind of solution is an asterisks-oriented sale:

    Roku (or rumored Apple) Stick*

    *New HDTV required

    I predict practically dead-on-arrival and a customer-service nightmare ("I bought your Roku stick and plugged it into my HDMI port but nothing happens"; "You need a new HDTV with HDMI MHL ports")

    I think Roku would have been much smarter to make it work with existing HDMI ports by- perhaps- drawing power from other ports (maybe USB?) on existing HDTVs. "New HDTV Required" is going to be a transaction killer & high volume returns motivator.
  24. HobeSoundDarryl, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    This "cut out the middlemen" concept is a dream many of us share. We dream of buying just the shows or channels we want and NOT the shows or channels we don't want. We buy into a perception that if we get 200 channels for $100/month now but we really only watch- say- 10 of those channels, 200 channels at $100 month is 50 cents per channel. So the 10 I'd buy al-a-carte should cost only $5 per month.

    We're sick of those commercials too, so we want our $5 al-a-carte subscription via iTunes where everything can be commercial free.

    Here's the problem with that: First the content production people beyond the existing middleman depend on much more than around $5 each month from each of us to pay all the people that are involved in the making the shows we want to watch (including the shows we don't know we want to watch yet). So, switching the revenue model from $100 per month plus what they can make from the commercials to $5 per month will pretty much put almost all of them out of business. Thus, no more professionally-done programming.

    Just the revenues made on commercials alone was $49 Billion in the U.S. last year. 300 million US citizens divided by about 4 per household equals about 75 million households. $49 billion divided by 75 million households equals about $654/yr in revenues made from the commercials alone. 654/12 months = $54.50 per month to just maintain the same level of revenues made from the commercials alone. The vast majority of the commercials that flow that revenue to these content producers are the commercials we never see as individuals (because they run on those 190 channels we never watch... or when we are asleep or at work, etc.).

    The solution to make an Apple Television or next-gen :apple:TV make sense cannot be based on other companies cutting their revenue throats. Just like Apple, these other companies want to make MORE money this year than they made last year. They don't want to cut the flow of revenues from around $154/month from each home down to around $5 from each home... just to make Apple's new proposition be very successful for Apple.

    To some degree we already have Apple's cut at al-a-carte. We've had it for years. In that version, the content creators still get what they want even without the commercials helping to pay for those productions purchased via iTunes. Obviously, that version of al-a-carte- where we consumers pay up to make up the difference- hasn't worked incredibly well at motivating the masses to switch from cable/satt to Apple's version.

    Second, one must not forget that even if Apple could pull off some cable/satt killing arrangement with the content producers, who owns the broadband pipes through which that new kind of subscription programming must flow? Where I live, it's 2 companies that both like their cable subscription revenues flowing in "as is". Should someone like Apple start biting into those revenues in any big way, I fully expect the broadband gatekeepers to increase the price of broadband to make up the difference (and then some). Why do you think they buy out all competition in the broadband space (and even lobby hard to kill off municipal free wifi/internet initiatives)? While the bulk of us get our Internet- on which ANY solution from Apple will depend- from the middlemen currently selling us our cable/satt subscriptions too, there is no money-saving angle to be had by cutting those middlemen out of the video distribution subscription business.

    Love the concept. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to ever happen. The above aren't even all of the reasons why- just 2 of the bigger issues.

Share This Page