Tag Archives: appletv

The future of TV is coming into focus, and looks diverse

I read Ralph Rivera’s tweet about the future of TV and thought, hummmm…

Not quite sure I totally agree, its very American but I’ll go with it for the mass market.

My instant thought is that TV is going to diverge more than ever before. People are going to be doing a number of things differently, things which work for them. Aka the mass will get smaller and the diverse will expand into the mass.

Yes this means fragmentation people! Get use to it!

The main points seem to be,

It will be cheaper
I agree on this point except maybe sports. Most people will start to use alternative ways to get their TV, aka on demand and that push to have things live will die off in the heat of budget cuts and advertisers revenue decline. Unless advertiser can advertise in realtime against live content? (seen some sights this will be possible)

Limited channel lineup

I think this is a bit of weird one because it depends what you mean by a channel? In the traditional sense yes… You only have to look at the BBC’s decision to move BBC Three to online only soon. Saving a some serious money for other channels. However online there will be a more diverse line up that ever before, and they will be accessible to your TV and Radio with limited messing around.

Organized by subject

Channels have their place and I’m not saying its going away but it will change. My dad loves watching ITV Three because there is little chance there will be anything modern and new on it. I dare say it worries me a little, but maybe thats what I’ll be like in 2050?

But the point i’m making is the channels are already starting to align themselves by genre, subject (history, scifi, drama, bravo channels).

Personal subscriptions

Subscription is outdated but for those who do have a subscription on cable and sky. Yes the fear of those companies has always been the ability to break the packages into personal choices. Well the time has come to offer it or the consumer will go else where (there is plenty of other services offering individual channels, some illegally).

The big part of this is the fact media is just media and can be moved around at will. Don’t blame us hackers for this, blame the likes of Apple with airplay, Google with chromecast/dial, etc… I can pick and choose and once pandora’s box is opened, its too late to try and close the lid.

There is a research question how personal subscriptions work with families and groups of people…

Viewable on any screen

As mentioned previously, the media is movable and more manageable than ever before. In a rush and can’t watch it on your TV at home, why not watch it on your 4G powered smartphone on the train into work? Yes and its easily done now. Heck even if you miss it, theres a whole raft of ways to access it after the fact.

A better remote

This goes without saying, right?

No more switching inputs

I agree somewhat. I tend to have my TV set to my XBMC box and generally only switch when watching Live TV (aka very little) and watching through the Chromecast. I thought about putting a  USB TV tuner on the XBMC box but haven’t actually set it up yet (no time). I imagine when the chromecast comes out in the UK (I suspect May/June) it will support all the channels I have on my freeview smart HDTV. Leading to less switching.

I imagine most people will just plugin something like a Chromecast or AppleTV and be done with the settop box.

Netflix is just another channel

Goes without saying again…

HBO gets more accessible

I could say the same as above, but seriously the pressure is building. HBO has got to go fully ondemand soon. Shareholders will want blood if not.

On-demand that’s not awful

Who said it ever was? I mean besides some very bad examples and the current crop of terrible smart TV apps. The likes of XBMC, Plex, AppleTV, Chromecast, etc have shown great experiences which are a joy to use. On demand has always been a joy to be use for those of us who live in the future, and now the future is going to be more evenly distributed. Come experience what we all have been experiencing for many years.

New channels emerging all the time

Weird, didn’t it say limited channel line up earlier? Well anyway, yes welcome to the world when any developer can write a wrapper for another bunch of media. This means any podcaster can appear on your TV or Radio (lets not forget Radio in this). Any user on Youtube, Vimeo, Blip, etc can be a broadcaster. To be honest we all knew this really, thats why Leo Lapoure was able to setup the Twit network or two guys on a sofa drinking beers (Diggnation) went from no sponsors to the likes of the US Army and Ford sponsoring…

(I can feel Andrew Keen and Tony Churnside screaming against the poorly scripted badly filmed content avalanche of these pro-amatuers (how dare they infect our TV?). This is why we have personal subscriptions! Same reason why you don’t follow everyone on twitter!

Not as reliable

I do agree, its not going to be perfect. The internet and net neutrality is under constant attack. When your TV and Radio is over the internet, your going to feel the pinch. All those, all you can eat data allowances will be tested to the maximum. Is your 3/4g contract really unlimited and whats the quality of service like? Are you going to celebrating 30seconds behind everyone else on the train because your internet service provider is prioritising against the channel your watching? Would it be better to pay more for a decent internet service? Roll on the next point…

Not so cheap

This isn’t going to be cheap, the cost saving you got from dumping cable and sky has been moved on to better internet providers.

I spend just over £30 a month on true unlimited business class internet which gives me low ping times and the ability to do what i choose to do with it. My 4g bill is less but isn’t truly unlimited. I checked the small print and there are fair usage policies, even though I was told in store it was truly unlimited.

We monitor the data usage of every customer who has data access and fair usage specified in the terms of their plan. If a customer consumes data above the monthly fair use limit, and in a way that we consider extreme, we may reduce their connection speeds for a limited time. This will only affect a small number of people, and we will always warn them by text before the speed is reduced. This only applies to non-Business tariffs.

Want to switch to the business account, well thats going to cost you!

No one said this was going to be cheap…

Kevin Rose thinks AppleTV will change everything

Plex

I think not…

Kevin Rose talks in more detail about what he thinks the new AppleTV will feature.

The rumor: Apple will be releasing a revamped/renamed version of their ‘Apple TV’ set-top box, called ‘iTV’. The box will run the Apple iOS (same as the iPhone/iPad), and be priced around $99.

Why will this change everything?

  • iOS TV Applications: Expect to see an iPhone/Pad like marketplace for television applications. Video sharing/streaming/recording apps, interactive news apps, and of course games.
  • a la carte (app) stations: With Apple’s iAds, content producers (eg. ABC/NBC/etc.) can directly monetize and distribute their content. This will eventually destroy the television side of the cable and satellite industry, as your only requirement to access these on-demand stations will be an internet connection. Say goodbye to your monthly cable bill.
  • MobileMe Picture/Video sharing: At $99 your parents, grandparents, and friends will have an iTV. Sharing pictures/videos from your iPhone will happen with the push of a button. Imagine getting a notification of new family videos the next time you turn on your TV. My mom will love this feature.
  • The iPad will turn into one big badass remote control: The iPad will be the preferred input device for the iTV. You’ll be able to editing videos, control games, and extend the interactive television experience. Imagine watching monday night football on the TV while viewing/exploring other camera angles on the iPad.

From what I hear we should expect to see the iTV launch in September.

I’ve talked in a lot of detail about the new AppleTV and even GoogleTV. Kevin Rose is usually pretty dead on with Apple stuff mainly because of his contacts but honestly everything mentioned isn’t enough. Even a $99 price tag is far too much, specially when you have to pay for everything else. I won’t even go there about the app store, I’ve covered that to death.

Apple’s threat on screen based home entertainment

Everyone is talking about the ipad but isn’t it time the Apple TV was due an upgrade? Rather than leave the apple tv out to dry, I’m certain Apple will want to tie it into there already closed ecosystem (I mean rainforrest). That will mean developer written applications for your Television, something which other platforms like Boxee have been use to for some time.

I personally can’t see the attraction of writing applications for your TV but I’m sure with decent content some will be on to a winner. Rather than the widget like systems being thrown around now, content producers could build content and systems which work hand in hand. So a real simple example would be a Diggnation or Diggreel would give you the real time digg amounts with the option to further digg a story or add a comment.

Another reason why I think Apple will go down this route is because this will be Apple’s entry into the home console market. They have already announced there going to be creating there own gaming network (like Xbox Live or XLink Kai) so why not extend that out to your TV too? So not only will have your music, videos and books all within the Apple Universe but also your game playing too. Is there going to be anything which Apple won’t hold in their Rainforrest?

To be fair if Apple do launch a new AppleTV by the 3rd quarter, they may catch Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo napping. But the real forward thinking is being done by the likes of Boxee who have adopted the open wide model with a revenue model. If Boxee can get on to other platforms and spread quickly, who knows what might happen. I got to hope the most open will finally attract the talented developers, everything else is in place.

So where does this leave things like GoogleTV, Android and Canvas? Who knows…

AppleTV and iPhone

Apple iPhone

I couldn't go to sleep without saying something about the Apple announcements today.

So first up the Apple TV. This for me was disappointing, I was hoping to have something which maybe I could upgrade to. But for now my XBox running XBMC will still have a spot under my TV. I had expected something a little cheaper and cleverer. Its a worthy device which I would recommend to others but the software on it is underwelming. For example no 1080p support, yes its a very high standard but with shows going out on the net in
1080p (macbreak for one) and with the xbox 360 and PS3 supporting it. You would have thought Apple would get on board too. Anyway hopefully its a software upgrade. I'm also hoping someone ports XBMC or something better to it. Frontrow doesn't seem to have been upgraded that much and looks simply boring compared to the open source efforts of XBMC. Final thought for now, great hardware underwhelming software.

And now the iPhone or Apple phone. I do like what Apple's done. It seems like they've taken a HTC Windows mobile device and built a much better interface for it (multitouch). Finger based instead of Stylus, ok cool but not revolutionary. The features of the phone are good, I'd expect they will have 3G for the European (Q4 2007) and Asia models (2008), and it has most of the stuff you see in current phones – EDGE, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc. These
may sound amazing to the usual phone buying people but nothing special to a Windows Mobile owner. For example the fact the music pauses when a call comes in is nothing new. My Ericsson T28 use to that with the MP3 attachment, most phones do that. Matt at work didn't believe me and Ii showed him and earned myself a pound in the process. People wondered how Googlemaps could pin point your location without GPS, well Wifi and GSM can be used to pin point location. Oh one more thing the Proximity sensor isn't a new
thing either. My old gold bar Ericsson had that feature, so you could answer the phone by waving your hands over it and it wouldn't do anything to the buttons while its next to your ear.Widgets on your phone, been done by Opera already. Multi-session text? Sounds like IM to me. High DPI screen is nice but the Nokia's also have high DPI screens. 8 or 4gig, well teh Nokia N91 had 4 gig over 12months ago and Samsung already have a 8gig phone. Suprised Apple didn't go with just Yahoo or Google instead of both. Also
very surprised Google didn't offer Push email. There was no mention of Java support, or its poor 2 mega pixal camera. Lessig talked about read/write ability a while ago, well this is certainly a read device, it certainly doesn't feel like an empowering device for writers.

Don't get me wrong, all the tweaks to software and hardware to add up to a great phone which I would buy if it came out sooner that Q4 of 2007. The price point is not too high, but I expect it to be at least 250 pounds on Orange with a 18 month contract. Would I say Apple will put some more spice back into the mobile market and force mobile and software makers (Microsoft pay attention) to spend more time looking at the functionality of simple things like text, email and voicemail. For example Microsoft don't
actually provide a MMS or voicetag client for Windows Mobile 5, so you get some 3rd party solution which usual suck and is totally inconsistent with the rest of the phone. Visual voicemail makes sense and is one of those tweaks which I can imagine not living without once you have it.

So overall, yes I wouldn't mind one but I'm not holding my breath or rather next upgrade decision for it. I'll get one in Q2 of 2008 when its been tried and tested and Apple have upgraded some of the lows like Battery life.

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