Originally Posted by mstone
I'm fine with that I just don't think they can legally call it a TV unless it has a tuner.
A device able to display images that has neither a computer attached to it or a TV tuner is most commonly referred to as a monitor.
Apple's biggest hurdle is coming up with a more integrated approach to content deliver that gives consumers a cost-effective means of accessing the programming that is available through satellite and cable. Network programming is the easy part. Cut a deal with the providers and distribute it through iTunes. But what about live news casts and the broadcasting of sporting events. What about specialty programming. For example, in Canada, you can get foreign-language programming for a fee.
It seems to me that one option is to draw in local news and sports programming from over the air, which would help fill in a lot of gaps. So a tuner seems to me to be pretty much inevitable. It doesn't cure all ills, though, and not in all markets. The aforementioned foreign-language programming, for example, is not broadcast over the air. Also, some customers, especially in more sparsely populated regions of Canada, are not located close to a significant range of over-the-air stations.
On the other hand, maybe Apple isn't looking to meet the needs of every consumer in the North American market. There is but a small percentage of consumers concerned with acquiring foreign-language content. And not everyone is into sports or worries about collecting their news coverage via television. For quite a few consumers, not having access to such programming would simply be irrelevant. And maybe Apple is satisfied with selling their Apple TV to that percentage of consumers who don't care about what they couldn't get using whatever delivery process Apple starts off with. The potential customers would still number in the millions and it would be a start.
I don't know what Apple has planned, obviously, but if I was to speculate, it would be to provide a single piece of hardware that gives customers access to content and a means of storing that content, possibly via iCloud. The interface would be intuitive and certainly make more sense than the fractured set-up we all now deal with. It would mean a TV with a higher initial cost but not a higher cost when considered in terms of the overall cost of ownership. You would buy the Apple TV and not need to buy or rent a set-top box. Apple would charge a fee for content access that would be less expensive than current cable or satellite offerings.
This is not about Apple wanting to get into selling TVs in that the margin for TVs has dropped down to virtually nothing. Sony, for example, is losing a lot of money selling them. Apple will get into the TV market if it believes it can offer an elegant alternative to the existing fractured arrangement that will allow for better margins and still, from a consumer's point of view, a more cost-effective yet enjoyable experience.
If this was about Apple selling TVs, too, they'd have gotten into this market years ago. No, it's not about just selling TVs but about altering the model and being involved in every aspect of the process, just as Apple is one of the few companies doing computer hardware, software and content delivery. This integrated approach not only makes Apple a lot of money, it allows Apple to streamline and hence improve the overall experience for the end user. Only by controlling every aspect of the user experience can Apple deliver what it does, something that isn't fully grasped by many. Sure it means that Apple makes more money but it isn't the evil for consumers that some believe it to be. For example, while the App Store means one source for IOS software, inexpensive, decent software is plentiful through this approach. In addition, Apple is able to deliver software that usually doesn't suffer from a lot of compatibility missteps.
Bottom line, however Apple does this, look for a single device that you have an easy time navigating that delivers most, if not all, of the content we now use our TVs to consume. High initial cost but savings over the long haul and a more customizable experience, rather than be fed 100s of stations and nothing to watch. The state of television as we know it arises out of a lot of solutions and services cobbled together over many decades. It's overdue for an integrated overhaul and I doubt any company but Apple is poised to provide such integration.