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Apple seen partnering with existing cable operators for 'iTV' content

post #1 of 72
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How Apple plans to provide content to users of its rumored television set remains unknown, but one Wall Street firm sees four potential ways Apple could approach one of its largest hurdles in bringing a connected television to market, with the most likely option seen as a partnership with existing cable providers.

Peter Misek with Jefferies presented his "what if" analyses related to content on the so-called "iTV" in a note to investors on Monday. In what he sees as the most likely scenario, Apple could gain access to non-exclusive content for its television set and forge deals with existing cable providers.

By potentially partnering with carriers and cable operators, Apple could enter the market on a level playing field with everyone else for content. With access to a variety of content through existing providers, as well as the content already available on the iTunes Store, Misek believes that Apple could package everything with a "superior user interface and ecosystem" and beat out the competition.

"We think that partnerships with carriers and MSOs are possible whereby they provide the video content," he wrote, "as they already have deals in place (at least to sell video over their own pipes), whereas Apple has to negotiate for new over-the-top distribution rights."

While partnerships with companies like AT&T, Verizon, Bell and Rogers, combined with the existing iTunes Store, are seen as the most likely option, Misek also presented three other directions Apple could potentially take. In one option, he said Apple could simply seed content, as Google does with its YouTube Original Channels.

In this scenario, Misek thinks Apple could select about 100 groups to create channels and provide upfront financing in exchange for a year of exclusivity. Given Apple's current clout in the entertainment industry with its iTunes Store, he believes Apple could target mainstream TV shows and movies with this method.

In another option, he said Apple could buy access to exclusive content, much as Netflix has done for the "House of Cards" program, and DirecTV has with its exclusive "NFL Sunday Ticket" package. With "headline deals," such as a rumored bid on the English Premier League rights, he thinks Apple would gain buzz.

But exclusive content deals for an Apple television could also open the company up to scrutiny from governments. He believes that antitrust concerns could limit exclusive content options for Apple.




The final possible scenario, as seen by Misek, is that Apple could become a Hollywood studio and produce its own content. But the analyst believes lower margins and higher risks would scare Apple away from that option, as the film and TV divisions of companies like Sony, Disney, Viacom and News Corp. have substantially lower margins than Apple.

Misek believes Apple's rumored entrance into the television market will be primarily to bolster the company's "halo effect," in which consumers buy into the Apple ecosystem and purchase its other products. He does not believe that an iTV with subscription revenue, as well as gross margins on the sale of HDTVs, would have much of an impact on the company's bottom line.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 72
Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

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post #3 of 72
I'm so sick of all these rumors of what Apple might do in the TV space. No one has any inside knowledge. They just spew off a bunch of s**t that then gets picked up by other analysts, tech blogs, Apple rumor/fan sites, etc. Who is Peter Misek and what does he know about Apple's TV plans? What is his speculation based on?
post #4 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

And if it's not a television set won't it be called Apple TV?
post #5 of 72
Tough nut to crack. TV content comes with ad slots. How that ad revenue is sliced up is what is going to be the main issue. Getting the rights to a sitcom on iTunes is the easy part. How to make it a winning proposition for the cable and satellite companies is an entirely different matter.

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post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Tough nut to crack. TV content comes with ad slots. How that ad revenue is sliced up is what is going to be the main issue. Getting the rights to a sitcom on iTunes is the easy part. How to make it a winning proposition for the cable and satellite companies is an entirely different matter.

And not just national ad slots, but regional and local slots depending on the affiliate and provider setups. Touch nut indeed!

I still contend the best way to deal with this is a box, not a set, and by partnering with cable operators instead of trying to go around them like Google did. At least this new rumour addresses that in some regard.

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post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

Kinda like Apple rolling out a product with the name iPhone when we all knew they didn't own the TM to that one either.
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post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I'm so sick of all these rumors of what Apple might do in the TV space. No one has any inside knowledge. They just spew off a bunch of s**t that then gets picked up by other analysts, tech blogs, Apple rumor/fan sites, etc. Who is Peter Misek and what does he know about Apple's TV plans? What is his speculation based on?

You're probably not going to enjoy spending time on a website for Apple based speculation then
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I still contend the best way to deal with this is a box, not a set, and by partnering with cable operators instead of trying to go around them like Google did. At least this new rumour addresses that in some regard.

I could see Apple creating a TV set if only for show of a high-priced, high-end option. But if they don't replicate the experience in a low-price box I think it will ultimately be a niche, low-volume failure.

As for working with the cable companies, that may make sense in the practical (ie, non-real) world; but I have a hard time seeing it ever happening. It maybe technologically feasible (despite the utter mess called CableCard), but considering the egos of the parties involved and the probable licensing entanglements, it seems a tall oder. The biggest hurdle could be the willingness of the cable companies to let Apple get a foot in the door. What is their movitation to play ball?

We shall see...
post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the so-called "iTV"

How reliable can this information be? The blogger is either forgetful or wet behind the ears. When Apple first announced the Apple TV, it did not yet have a name. Steve Jobs said that its code name was iTV, and stressed that it was just a code name and that the final name would be forthcoming. Despite those strong disclaimers, the real iTV was so protective of its name that it sued Apple preemptively. Now we have another blogger talking about an iTV made by Apple. I guess the people at the real iTV must be exasperated by all this.

Whatever the new Apple TV is going to be called, it isn't iTV.
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

I could see Apple creating a TV set if only for show of a high-priced, high-end option. But if they don't replicate the experience in a low-price box I think it will ultimately be a niche, low-volume failure.

As for working with the cable companies, that may make sense in the practical (ie, non-real) world; but I have a hard time seeing it ever happening. It maybe technologically feasible (despite the utter mess called CableCard), but considering the egos of the parties involved and the probable licensing entanglements, it seems a tall oder. The biggest hurdle could be the willingness of the cable companies to let Apple get a foot in the door. What is their movitation to play ball?

We shall see...

Those cards never worked out. They won't get all the players to switch to IPTV so they'd likely have to build boxes to support each cable network. If they were doing that I'd think we'd have plenty of rumours about it.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

And if it's not a television set won't it be called Apple TV?

We already have a legitimate product called 'Apple TV'. To associate this nonsense with what could be Apple's blockbuster entrance into television is degrading in the extreme.

And since the prevailing opinion is that people can't wrap their heads around the fact that the next iPhone is the 6th one, calling both a television and a small black box by the same name is probably too taxing.
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

Something tells me that if if Apple wants to use the name "iTV" badly enough, they will find a way to make that happen, even if it means $$$.

Thompson
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Kinda like Apple rolling out a product with the name iPhone when we all knew they didn't own the TM to that one either.

They had to get a licensing deal. In Japan they had to change their AirPort name to AirMac due to ownership by I-O Data.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Those cards never worked out. They won't get all the players to switch to IPTV so they'd likely have to build boxes to support each cable network. If they were doing that I'd think we'd have plenty of rumours about it.

Cable companies own the consumer Internet. DSL is too slow for TV and satellite has signal in the down direction only. In many neighborhoods there is only one cable provider so there is no competition. The last mile is made out of pure gold. What can Apple offer the cable companies in exchange for access to that last mile? Cable doesn't need Apple.

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post #16 of 72
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

What can Apple offer the cable companies in exchange for access to that last mile? Cable doesn't need Apple.

The only think I can think of is a box that they can charge more for and/or can only be had by paying for more premium content thus increasing the cable co.'s bottom line.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The only think I can think of is a box that they can charge more for and/or can only be had by paying for more premium content thus increasing the cable co.'s bottom line.

That would be like having the camel's nose under your tent. Giving Apple a foothold in that market will gradually chip away at their core services. There is no long term upside for Cable in that arrangement.

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post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The only think I can think of is a box that they can charge more for and/or can only be had by paying for more premium content thus increasing the cable co.'s bottom line.

Well you kind of HAVE to know that its not going to be another set top box. Apple isn't a fan of adding to the clusterphuck of remotes.

The only way something like that could work is if Apple competed w Cisco and instead integrated the box into the Television. They'd have to partner w quite a few cable companies... but here's the thing. Using the cable companies licensing to content they could use the internet to create a national cable provider. I wouldn't be surprised if they partnered w the smallest one with the most content and then stripped the UI down from there.

Who knows, right? MOST everyone thought the iPhone was just going to be an iPod + a flip phone and a lot of people had no clue as to what the iPad was going to be. In fact most people were pissed when they learned it was just a large iPod touch (which by the way it is...).
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

They actually do in almost every country (except the obvious one).
post #20 of 72
If iTV means hooking back to cable, then I am not with you here, Apple.
post #21 of 72
What the hell. I'll take a shot at it.

Form factor:
-Edge to edge glass. Like the edges of the glass on the iMac (minus the chin)
-FaceTime camera which everyone thinks is going to be amazing... BUT. It'll just be Okay. Think about it. Isn't FaceTime MUCH better when the camera is 18in away from the persons face? Better audio. Better picture. And the feeling of a more genuine exchange. People don't want to see you chillin on your couch from like 15 ft away...
-Siri integration, but only on your iDevice.
-Browse content via your iDevice (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone.) So you can bring up a TV guide wo disrupting television viewing. You can watch previews of movies and docs. And you can read much more about the content. Also. For the purpose of DVRing... you'll be able to do this remotely with the same app.

Thats all I got. Anything more than that would probably be way off. I won't be surprised to see Apple try and rope customers into having an iDevice along side this one. The original intent of the iPod was to only make it available to Mac users through iTunes. Apple wanted to feed the ecosystem. This will be a way for them to do that. There is NOTHING that competes w the iPod touch. Its actually kind of amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if Apples TV was only available to those who had iDevices (iPod Touch iPhone iPad). They wanted to do it before but didn't have the strength. Now they have the market presence to pull it off.
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That would be like having the camel's nose under your tent. Giving Apple a foothold in that market will gradually chip away at their core services. There is no long term upside for Cable in that arrangement.

That's why I said "cracked it" as they would have to have an angle that makes the move a necessary evil the way it is for carriers despite the higher payout to Apple over other vendors and higer data usage by iPhone users.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HyteProsector View Post

Well you kind of HAVE to know that its not going to be another set top box. Apple isn't a fan of adding to the clusterphuck of remotes.

With a redesigned AppleTV the TV could just be a dumb monitor like it is with cable and sat boxes. You only change inputs for VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, game consoles, etc. but would Apple really care about that? I don't think so. I think their concern is simply that the AppleTV UI is the one that is always on the ready and the one most used. Being a hurdle for the other connected devices is actually gravy to them if it keeps you on their box.

Quote:
The only way something like that could work is if Apple competed w Cisco and instead integrated the box into the Television. They'd have to partner w quite a few cable companies... but here's the thing. Using the cable companies licensing to content they could use the internet to create a national cable provider. I wouldn't be surprised if they partnered w the smallest one with the most content and then stripped the UI down from there.

Who knows, right? MOST everyone thought the iPhone was just going to be an iPod + a flip phone and a lot of people had no clue as to what the iPad was going to be. In fact most people were pissed when they learned it was just a large iPod touch (which by the way it is...).

Apple really can't go with a smallest one. They can't even partner with just the largest one. They aren't like a MNO (mobile network operator) where they still cover the nation, they are regional so it's partner with many of them or it's going to tough.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #23 of 72
Negociating deals with operators in every single country is a formidable task. So why don't you all stop quibbling about whether the thing will be called "i"TV OR "a"TV?
If Apple is going to pull this off, they need a strategy that will work in all these environments.
I suspect that the aTV will control all the input devices to the TV over HDMI-CEC.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

By potentially partnering with carriers and cable operators, Apple could enter the market on a level playing field with everyone else for content. With access to a variety of content through existing providers, as well as the content already available on the iTunes Store, Misek believes that Apple could package everything with a "superior user interface and ecosystem" and beat out the competition.

I can't see it working another way if Apple wants enter with a winning package. Content is king and without it Apple TV in whatever form will remain niche. If Apple can work out deals with existing content providers (I mean the cable guys, now) whereby they can package and present their content in a superior way, it could be a winning combination. If Apple can deliver a 'hot' user experience and a 'must have' device, cable companies will be fearful of not coming aboard. If they don't and their competitors do, woe be them! I expect Apple will convince their 'new partners' to offer a more user friendly program selection i.e. no need to buy a whole package to get just one channel. I also wonder if all this will be over the internet only. I know, I know, bandwidth and resolution etc. But I can imagine Apple selling a single box (Airport Extreme on steroids) which will broadcast across the home, to any device.
post #25 of 72
Here is my 2 cents ... Apple buys their way into this segment of the industry with a purchase

they could go and buy DISH who has themselves up for sale. not only would they get content and a distribution channel they would also get wireless spectrum that they could build out or lease or use as leverage with other carriers

there are other channels they could go down as well
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

If Apple can work out deals with existing content providers (I mean the cable guys, now) whereby they can package and present their content in a superior way, it could be a winning combination. If Apple can deliver a 'hot' user experience and a 'must have' device, cable companies will be fearful of not coming aboard. If they don't and their competitors do, woe be them!

The thing is there is no competition because there is only one cable provider in each neighbohood. Furthermore that arrangement reduces the cable company to the status of a dumb pipe. Somehow I don't think they are going to be jumping all over that deal.

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post #27 of 72
What I think would be cool is for Apple to partner with cities to provide 802.11ac to every home and business that currently has cable. They pay for the rights to use the telephone poles and underground conduits and essentially become their own cable company.

I know Steve said he didn't like the idea when it came up at the city planning meeting but this is different since that wifi will be carrying Apple content.

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post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The thing is there is no competition because there is only one cable provider in each neighbohood. Furthermore that arrangement reduces the cable company to the status of a dumb pipe. Somehow I don't think they are going to be jumping all over that deal.

In many areas there is competition, and many dumb pipe owners have been, and are investing in content for exactly that reason - they know that without content they will soon be relegated to the role of plumbers. They specially seems to be investing in sports teams. I certainly don't know what the future holds but I suspect we will see a greater shake-up of the content distribution business than what we expect.
post #29 of 72
The biggest weakness of cable providers is that they bundle a lot of channels you don't want with channels you do. So the best way for Apple to address the need in the market would be to provide a TV where you can subscribe to channels you want and pay an ala carte price per station. For example, ABC might be free, but ESPN would charge. Apple takes 30% cut as usual. Stations would be run like apps - providing live content feed or the ability to watch older content.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

How Apple plans to provide content to users of its rumored television set remains unknown, but one Wall Street firm sees four potential ways Apple could approach ...

This is just speculation on top of speculation and "what-if'ing" the problem to death. As such it's pretty much a complete waste of time.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Tough nut to crack. TV content comes with ad slots. How that ad revenue is sliced up is what is going to be the main issue. Getting the rights to a sitcom on iTunes is the easy part. How to make it a winning proposition for the cable and satellite companies is an entirely different matter.

This is yet another reason why the new iTV or whatever it's called would likely not bother with cable TV at all. It's a complete mess and it's entrenched, which is the worst kind of mess.

The way I see it, the new Apple TV thingie won't do cable at all or if it does, it will do it in the sense that it will allow you to plug in your cable with the service you already have and search through the streams PVR'ing the content like a TiVO currently does.

There is no way to deal with the cable companies in any kind of rational way and certainly not in any kind of a global way. Apple will either treat cable TV like a stream to be mined, or they will eschew it altogether and go directly after the content holders.

So you won't have cable TV so you can watch sports for example, but you will be able to subscribe to MLB-TV as an app and have better, commercial free access direct from the producers of the content. Going through an intermediary (or a thousand different intermediaries in this case), makes no sense at all.
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why do they insist on calling this unicorn "iTV"? Everyone knows Apple doesn't have the trademark for that name.

Didn't stop them calling the iPhone® iPhone. I think it will be called iTV given that it's a piece of actual hardware and the fact that Apple are already heavily trademarked with 'i' nomenclature. I know, I have just been down the trademark road myself. I actually see them having a chance in getting this Trademark on a TV, and worst case scenario; they'll pay off iTV in the UK. I think the current Apple TV is called that not because Apple didn't want to thread on iTV in the UK, but because they were saving the same for their non-hobby-status television.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panu View Post

How reliable can this information be? The blogger is either forgetful or wet behind the ears. When Apple first announced the Apple TV, it did not yet have a name. Steve Jobs said that its code name was iTV, and stressed that it was just a code name and that the final name would be forthcoming. Despite those strong disclaimers, the real iTV was so protective of its name that it sued Apple preemptively. Now we have another blogger talking about an iTV made by Apple. I guess the people at the real iTV must be exasperated by all this.

Whatever the new Apple TV is going to be called, it isn't iTV.

The way I remember that, Apple actually bought the rights to 'iTV" pretty much everywhere but in the UK where ITV (the station), blocked them. They had a choice of doing iTV everywhere *except* the UK, or doing "Apple TV" everywhere and they chose the later.

The idea that a TV station in one tiny country can block the use of a name world-wide is a falsehood. iTV has no recourse to sue Apple if they want to call it iTV anywhere else except where ITV (the station) operates.

The TV, if they make it, is a piece of hardware not an old-fashioned TV station and there are good arguments that the two are so different (and the names slightly different anyway because of the lower case "i"), that they could use the name even in the UK.

It's not a foregone conclusion by a long shot that they can't use "iTV" for the product name. There are many possibilities including making a deal with iTV, and also just not selling the product in the UK.
post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

You're probably not going to enjoy spending time on a website for Apple based speculation then

This is ridiculous though because it's not based on any rumor based in reality. Other than Steve Jobs telling Walter Isaacson that he "cracked" the problem with TV. But there has been no indication that Apple is thinking about getting in the business of TV hardware. And it makes zero sense for them to do so as most people are perfectly happy with their display.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

They actually do in almost every country (except the obvious one).

Source, please.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is just speculation on top of speculation and "what-if'ing" the problem to death. As such it's pretty much a complete waste of time.

Exactly. Analysts are obsessed with predicting the next big thing from Apple. Now they've glommed on to TV. The rumor mill is quite ridiculous. Heck do a google news search and you'll find blogs/sites comparing a fictional iPad 3 to an existing Android tablet.
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

This is ridiculous though because it's not based on any rumor based in reality. Other than Steve Jobs telling Walter Isaacson that he "cracked" the problem with TV. But there has been no indication that Apple is thinking about getting in the business of TV hardware. And it makes zero sense for them to do so as most people are perfectly happy with their display.

My display is fine, the television as an experience is dreadful though. My wife wanted me to find Animal Planet for some reason yesterday - I couldn't find any way to do it other than to page through all the channels until I stumbled upon it. Dismal UI and ripe for improvements.

If people think Apple can improve on it, let them speculate. You can ignore it if you want.
post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Kinda like Apple rolling out a product with the name iPhone when we all knew they didn't own the TM to that one either.

Its more than likely, nearer impossible, that they wont use the iTV name in the UK for obvious reasons.

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post #39 of 72
Why doesn't Apple just go ahead and buy all those crappy cable companies. Or spend a bundle and roll out a parallel system on WiMax or something. (and watch the cableCos customer base wither away to home shopping network masochists).

Apple has always striven to own the "whole widget", and I can think of no better way to screw that up than depend on Comcast or any of the old-school cable providers for the last-mile delivery.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

...as most people are perfectly happy with their display.

...Yeah, I suppose my TV's screen itself is okay. But I'd happily toss it in the dumpster tomorrow if I had a chance to get rid of all of the other horrible cruft (the UI, the remotes, the cableCos) that comes with it.
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