iTunes-NBC=AppleTV+DVR?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by G4R2, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. G4R2 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Just a thought- If NBC and other networks are reticent about putting their TV shows onto iTunes, due to whatever reasons they might have, would Apple be compelled to fill the content gap by incorporating a DVR function into AppleTV?

    It may be the case that Apple was reluctant to add a DVR to AppleTV in order to appease television networks. Without their partnership in iTunes Apple might no longer feel that constraint. If that were the case, this would be a rare win due to corporate greed.
     
  2. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #2
    Won't happen, the apple TV isn't a replacement, it's an addition, they've said that already.
     
  3. G4R2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    It might very well have to happen if Apple fails to get television networks and movie studios on board iTunes. Apple has been developing a video centric focus across its entire product line and consumers expect content to be delivered to these devices. They are even willing to pay $1.99 for TV shows that they could get for free for the convenience.

    Without network shows and movie studios in Apple's pocket the ease of use advantage that iPods have over their competitors will be greatly diminished when it comes to video. Without some method of getting commercial video content onto their devices, the video feature on iPods could turn into the same sort of conundrum that MS faces with Zune's social- A feature nobody uses.

    This situation also has consequences for AppleTV for similar reasons. Will consumers really buy AppleTV's if they don't have access to commercial content?

    Incorporating a DVR into AppleTV would resolve both problems. It would permit the growing base of video capable iPods to have content available to them and it would also give AppleTV a better defined role in Apple's digital hub strategy. Coincidentally, Sony is doing something similar with the PS3 and PSP.

    At the very least, now that the iPod line is almost entirely video capable (with the exception of the Shuffle) Apple could very well use the threat of a DVR function to get studios into the negotiating room. Eventually all iPods are going to be video capable as consumers slowly replace their older non-video iPods with newer ones. This will represent an enormous opportunity, at $1.99 for television episode, for studios to neglect.
     
  4. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

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    #4
    I wouldn't consider a DVR as a barganing chip. It would be more like burning the bridge if they all pull out.
     
  5. powderblue17 macrumors regular

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    Mar 16, 2007
    #5
    Apple might decide to turn the Apple TV into an IPTV device and it would act as a DVR for that content but I don't think you're going to ever see the Apple TV as a DVR for cable or satelite signals.
     
  6. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #6
    Here's why I think the aTV will not get DVR capabilities (via Apple) anytime soon.

    1. Without CableCard, the aTV would not be able to record HD shows from most channels. It would likely be limited to the ClearQAM channels (ABC, NBC, etc). Adding CableCard will require CableLabs certification and that will likely drive up the price, besides, I think CableLabs would be reluctant to certify something like the aTV, prefering to certify a whole new system, complete with an OS that handles the DRM that is likely to be required.

    2. Pretty much useless for Satellite subscribers.

    3. Too much churn in the entire industry (i.e. Satellite going to MPEG-4, Cable going to SDV, etc). Whatever Apple releases would likely be obsolete in a year or two. Look at the current TivoHD which may be obsolete for many cable systems, unless they come up with a SDV solution.

    4. DVR capabilities are better off on the Mac/PC, with connectivity to the aTV via iTunes.

    5. aTV is currently unable to handle HDTV content as provided by the networks (720p, 1080i). So a conversion is required for aTV to play the video ... at the expense of time.

    ft
     
  7. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #7
    That would be a good solution for non-mainstream content, but it's doubtful that you'd see that for mainstream content. You'd need the blessing of the networks and hollywood. And maybe that's a good thing. An increase in original IPTV content may be what's necessary to break Hollywood's stranglehold on content.

    Look at the popularity of YouTube (and friends). If more and more people watch YouTube, at the expense of watching network TV, then maybe Hollywood will re-think their current distribution schemes.

    ft
     
  8. G4R2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    The way Apple is positioned it's doubtful they would need to include Cablecard compatibility with a DVR product that was integrated into either AppleTV v.2 or a Mac.

    The reason for this is that Apple has almost the mirror image of MS's problem with their Media Centers. Whereas MS needs Cablecard compatibility in order to get their MC's into the living room, Apple needs to drive content not only to a TV but, more importantly, to the millions of video enabled iPods.

    This is especially more pressing with the iPod Nano. That little thing is hot and it's ideally suited for watching 1/2 hour shows. Anything more and Apple will have blinded their user base.

    Since Cablecards are only good for recording shows on the device on which they are installed they would be useless to Apple which would seek to transfer recorded shows to other devices. Those shows would be unwatchable due to the encryption.

    Adding a DVR option for Mac's is unlikely (although it is already possible to record HD streams onto a Mac via Firewire or via 3rd party like eyeTV) for two reasons. First, it would essentially make AppleTV redundant. And second it would effectively shut out Windows users who need to fill their iPods with content unless Apple decides to make a deal with MS and get iPod compatibility into Media Center- I doubt that would happen when there's an easier solution available to Apple that doesn't cost it anything.

    More likely, if Apple were to release a DVR product in order to feed content to its devices it would follow what Sony is trying to do with the PS3 and PSP. Sony is essentially faced with the same problem that Apple may have to confront if more TV networks don't renew their contracts. Clearly, Apple would prefer to charge for content and get into favorable deals with networks to increase its influence. But should it fail to do so it may have to consider a DVR option in AppleTV in order to fill those millions of tiny blank little iPod screens.
     
  9. milo macrumors 604

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    #9
    It may be the case that the networks absolutely insisted on not including DVR in any apple product, and made it part of the contract.

    We'd probably only see it if apple lost all contracts with all networks. Not likely.
     
  10. G4R2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    It may happen well before that. NBC represented 40% of iTunes TV show downloads. The NBC contract included affiliates like the Sci-Fi channel. It's not the number of TV stations but rather the number of quality shows that are important. NBC was especially important to Apple because the new Nano is ideal for 1/2 hour sitcoms which NBC is loaded with. Not many people are going to be able to sit through one hour shows or movies without Dramamine.

    The problem Apple faces with network TV is it's kind of an all or nothing deal. Imagine a world where manufacturers sold TV's that could only play a handful of stations. Own a Sony and want to see something on NBC? Out of luck. Try a Sharp TV instead, which maybe doesn't play ABC. That's the scenario Apple faces with its iPod's and AppleTV. Clearly Apple is better off charging shows. But whether or not it charges, it needs to get those shows onto iPods to help drive sales.

    Fans of NBC shows who are Mac users and want those shows on their iPod are probably going to end up either buying a DVR for their Macs like EyeTV, figuring out how to stream HD through Firewire which isn't so simple, or turning to some filesharing solution which isn't so legal. Maybe some will buy Media Center PC's, which ironically are now better suited for getting NBC shows onto the iPod then a Mac is. Many of them who can't be bothered will just be turned off to the whole situation and maybe switch to a different media device.
     
  11. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

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    #11
    All I have to say about that is.......

    Yar...!:cool:

    They'll be back. Revenue is revenue.

    Until then enjoy it in real HD Via VLC.

    See how they like them apples!
     
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    #12
    I don't think that Apple will integrate a DVR/Tuner into the ATV at any point, but I do think they will allow El Gato to sell a special version of their USB tuners for the ATV. I think it will be one of the hardware h264 converters with a tuner (NTSC/ATSC/QAM) built in so it will record anything you throw at it into an ATV compatible file. Would still be useless for satellite users, but they could offer an analog-digital converter unit as an alternative to take composite SD video and digitize that in realtime (which would be cheaper and useful for satellite as well as people without HDTVs).

    I also think they will (software) update the ATV to improve performance just a hair and support 720p30 (not just 720p24) and MAYBE a slightly higher bitrate, plus actual 5.1 support.

    A price drop to $199 and $299 and slight upgrade (go to 80gb on the low end, 160gb isn't too bad, but if they could go to 200gb without killing the price) to the hardware, plus the above mentioned software change would be nice, but if there was an official plug and play HD tuner with realtime hardware h264 encoding for another $149 or so would make it a really nice option, especially if Apple/El Gato provided the TV listing data free, or at least really cheap (like $15 per year or something).

    The new HD TiVO is $300 plus $15 or so a month, so this would be close in price, and have an even better interface (which is saying something because TiVo rocks) and a better "on demand" video store (the Amazon Unboxed on TiVo works, but could be better). h264 video at 720p30/5mbps isn't bad, and is certainly good enough for HDTV shows - I'd only really want more for movies and sports, and even then it's certainly better than DVD.
     
  13. savar macrumors 68000

    savar

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    #13
    That's an awesome idea. The way I see it now, the DVR industry is horrid.

    1) Most people use the DVR provided by the cable company...ie SA or Motorola boxes that completely suck. Lack of features, very buggy, slow response time, crash frequently, and terrible interface. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong with these boxes.

    2) Some people own a Tivo. Tivo is the Mac of the DVR industry as I hear it. I've never owned one myself...it's too expensive. Why would I pay hundreds for a dual-tuner HD DVR when the cable company rents me one for $5 a month? Sure, mine sucks, but that's a lot of beer I'm losing by ponying up for the real thing.

    3) Apple has more UI experience than anybody. Sure, they're just scratching the surface of the 20-foot interface, but there's no reason that they can't do as good or better than Tivo. And once they bring the box, it magically works with a network of other devices. Watch on any computer or laptop around the house. Copy it to an ipod. Stream it to an iphone. Bada bing.
     
  14. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #14
    Personally, all of the pieces are already here ... but it just takes some savvy to put it all together since Apple has been unwilling or unable to do so.

    Since CableCard is not an option and probably never will be for HTMac users, the current best option right now is the HDHomeRun with EyeTV software. The HDHR is a dual digital tuner connected over ethernet. The main downside is that analog signals are not usable for the HDHR.

    The other downside is that the aTV won't work with uncompressed HD signals at full resolutions. So you need to waste time (and video quality) re-encoding to aTV standards.

    ft
     

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