Originally Posted by sr2012
Good point. Steve in the past already stated he doesn't want to play the licensing game, outside of iTunes Store.
But, Apple feels they have the content they need to go with, ie. iTunes Store and Netflix.
Good point with the other content, and this is where Apple will blow away non-critical set top boxes... I.E. Apps
. Because Airplay is great but it still doesn't fit in 1080p nicely. As such, making an AppleTV HDTV out of the box do tons of stuff like the iPhone and iPad, will be very significant.
Then of course, the sheer matter of an Apple HDTV being a TV with an Apple logo, will make people just buy it, particularly outside the US (and I'm sure in the US too).
In terms of licensing there will be some argy bargy with Apple HDTV apps but the app market itself is so lucrative there will be a gold rush of sorts to the Apple HDTV app store.
In the long run, I think Apps are the wrong direction and should be avoided if possible. That is, if working under the assumption that the AppleTV is primarily for getting content onto a TV screen.
Browsing of video libraries isn't something people want split between a billion different methods of access. Custom interaction types are less appealing when dealing with normal living room, bedroom, dorm room, and public TV usage. This is in comparison to a personal device with an infinite number of purposes. There isn't that many different ways of organizing and presenting a list of videos. What really drives this home is the limiting nature of remote controls. We don't want every company coming up with non-standard ways of using the directional pad, menu and enter buttons.
To really make these things appeal to the masses, content should be integrated such that it is easy to browse and search. This is similar to the music store. People don't prefer different apps just for accessing music from different bands. People are willing to adopt a handful of apps for the specialty or niche interests. But overall, a unified method of accessing content seems preferable.
Of course, this is a generalization. But I think it holds true for the majority of use cases. I do play video off of the web via airplay. But this tends to involve short clips, like hors d'oeuvres instead of a main course. There is an almost infinite number of video clips on the internet and he web seems preferable over apps for this type of use. There just isn't enough unique functionality that can't be accomplished via the web. But for feature length programming such as TV shows and movies, these belong in a unified interface accessible either from a phone/tablet or via a remote's directional pad.
Interaction with TVs is quite distinct as compared to traditional computers or touch devices. Cursors that depend on a mouse or other pointing device, are not well suited to a screen that is sitting across the room. This is precisely why people prefer user interfaces such as typically found on set top boxes. Granted, most STB interfaces are poorly implemented. But the optimal interaction technique is pretty well established. Supporting custom apps would likely be a detriment as many companies would try to do something unique despite it being sub-optimal.
Touch screens do provide a great auxiliary interaction option. For this reason, I hope that the AppleTV is not opened up 3rd party apps beyond those carefully coordinated with Apple. The preferable solution is airplay from touch devices.
I'm curious though, what do you mean by "airplay doesn't fit in 1080p nicely"? It plays 1080p pixel-for-pixel just fine. The technology is in place. All that needs to happen is for copyright holders to get off their asses and embrace rather than hinder the new distribution channel.