Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at AllThingsD’s D10 conference and one of the things he talked about, in as vague as possible of a way, was the company’s future in the television industry.
This has led to speculation that Apple may announce the upcoming release of either a supercharged Apple TV upgrade, or the rumored television set that everyone is talking about, but no one believes is coming.
The media hype that followed Cook’s unreadable comments has put TV content delivery execs in the hot seat and some are starting to speak out about it. DirecTV Chairman Michael White, for example, recently spoke about Apple TV at an investor’s conference in New York.
White told investors that an operating system for Apple TV would not make a huge difference in the market. Cable and satellite subscribers, he said, would probably not shell out more money for another set-top box when what they have is working just fine.
White also believes that content providers are not going to be jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to working with Apple on creating content for Apple TV. “Typically with technology, it smashes the cost structure in some new way (but) with content costs, rights fees and the cost of spectrum it’s hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology.”
Personally, I don’t pay for cable television, but I never have. It is not a luxury I wish to make room in my budget for. I’ve been able to get by on my Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions just fine. There is no need for more. However, everyone that I know of that pays for cable television has said that they don’t think they could ever stop paying for it. They are used to watching certain shows in real-time, or even by recording them on a DVR and watching them later. They are not used to having to wait three months, or more, after a show’s season is over to start watching it. It is a habit they are not willing to quit.
I don’t think content providers have much to worry about. HBO has held their shows close to their heart, so I can’t stream shows like “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood” from any legal sources. Most people wouldn’t want to spend the extra time and effort tracking down a site where they could watch television unofficially, and they couldn’t do that through a set-top box without jailbreaking it anyway. I can watch some of the big names through Hulu and Netflix, like “Breaking Bad” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” However, that content is very limited. I am constantly behind the times when it comes to what is on television.
No, people who already pay for television through services like DirecTV or Comcast will not switch to Apple TV. There is no technology in existence that will make subscribers unplug that morphine drip of hundreds of channels of content. People will probably buy an Apple TV, but they will not change their viewing habits much, and they will definitely not cancel their subscriptions. If there is anyone who should start to worry about an operating system for Apple TV it’s the gaming industry. The iPhone and iPad have already made a dent in living room gaming. A set-top box that can do the same on your 1080p television set? Now, that is some serious stuff.