A friend of mine recently told me that the new Chromecast does everything my Apple TV does, plus it is way cheaper. While I appreciate what Chromecast is and I believe that having more competition can only help make every device better, Apple is still ahead of the pack. Just today Apple has added more content providers to its lineup, and while these are welcome, someone is still missing the big picture of on demand content.
The big new partner is Disney, but you still have to be attached to a cable/satellite provider. Other new apps come from the Weather Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, and Vevo. What is missing is the ability to subscribe to Disney content on an individual basis.
I understand the complexities involved with changing up the entire cable industry but whether or not top execs want to prevent change, it is still going to eventually happen. I dropped cable about two years ago and there is a simple rule I live by: I can spend as much on renting and buying shows and movies from iTunes as long as I still pay less than I would have with cable. If Disney was introduced as a separate subscription I would probably get it because I know my kids like it a lot. Instead, they watch Disney shows on our Apple TV using Netflix streaming.
There is added value in on demand features because it means you can watch previously released content without having to DVR. The recently released HBOGo app allows you to watch full series of current shows, but again you have to paying for HBO through a service provider instead of through Apple. More and more people are not willing to be forced into a cable contract and instead are happy finding content online. The longer it takes for the entertainment industry to come on board, the bigger chance they will miss the boat in the long run.
We saw this with the music industry and the internet. When Napster was released the music industry fought it tooth and nail, and they certainly had the right to fight piracy. What they could have done instead was embrace the technology and found a way to do what Apple did with iTunes. Either way, it never quite feels like the consumer is foremost in the minds of big business. While it is unlikely that Disney or HBO will offer their content separately from cable anytime soon, we can always hope that someday it will happen.
[image via 9to5mac.com]