Originally Posted by Carmissimo
The timing might just cause Apple to fail even if a good product is developed. A few years ago, when $2,000 TVs (in the Canadian market) were common, that was one thing but now you can get a decent set for less than $1,000. Combine that with uncertain economic times and you have a serious challenge for Apple in this market.
On the other hand, if Apple is innovative in terms of content delivery in a manner than makes sense cost-wise to the average consumer, that could fly. If that happens, I don`t imagine we`ll see an Apple TV here in Canada in 2012. Way too many regulatory hurdles to deal with for such a major change to happen in a matter of months. I think it more likely that such a change would come to the US and arrive on these shores roughly a year later.
I was planning on buying a new HD set in November 2012 but if this is the situation, I might just put off buying the new set until the Apple model is made available here in Canada. However, this only applies if the bottom line, over the long run, makes sense. If Apple gives me an alternative to paying as much as I do for my cable feed that saves me let's say $30 a month, for that I would gladly pay extra for an Apple set. Granted, we have two TVs in our household so that would mean having to replace two sets but even so, the idea of breaking free from the antiquated content delivery model offered by my cable provider is appealing.
Right now we have at least 40 stations, probably more, that we never go near. And in this day and age, to be paying a premium for HD content, seriously, how messed up is that. I wouldn't even mind a model in which a flat rate would allow for unlimited access to iTunes content. Add in some way of providing live feeds of items like sporting events and news coverage, plus serving up some ethnic content (i.e. international programming) each offered for an additional fee for those who want it, and you've got all the bases covered.
What I'm thinking is something like $30 a month for the unrestricted iTunes access, and $10 a month for any one of a sports package, news package, and international programming. Additionally, offer a rate of $50 a month for a pass that allows access to all of the above.
Tie the above into iCloud and you've got a compelling package. Initially there would be a cost to make the switch but if you save even maybe $20 a month, that's $240 a year and $2,400 over the 10-year span which would typically be the lifespan of the set. So let's say Apple offers a 32-inch set for $999, a 37-incher for $1,399 and a 42-incher for $1,699. Now that works, I think. If Apple were to go for higher price points, total fail.
By the way, if one didn't need all of the above and could save $30 a month (a lot of consumers fall into that category), that's $360 a year and that's $3,600 in 10 years. You could buy a 42-incher and a 32-incher for $2,698 and still wind up saving money. For that matter, set-top boxes are not cheap, not if one is looking at an HD PVR. If that functionality is built into the Apple units, that's another huge saving.
Come to think of it, done right, Apple could make this work even in tough economic times. We have ended up paying a lot to assemble the bits and pieces needed to watch a little TV. No set-top box, lower monthly fees, and a more rational organization of available content. Room for improvement over what we have today? More than a little.
One thing, though. Here in Canada service providers are starting to charge a premium for more bandwidth usage and I have to assume that whatever model Apple pursues, one is going to need a lot of Internet capacity to make it work. If those providers are allowed to charge excessively for more usage, those providers still get their pound of flesh and this goes nowhere.