Originally Posted by umrk_lab
Without or with Apple, Tv makers struggle for survival, with razor thin margins. Only panels producers can capture a significant part of the added value.
this has always been the case in the electronic consumer goods industry : those who think that the only important part is the hardware (forgetting about the software, and the ecosystem) cannot survive ...
Originally Posted by charlituna
Much of those issues are in content delivery and use tracking and could be done by Apple without making a tv. Which is what makes these rumors a tad laughable
You could have said the same thing about the iPod and the iPhone. Apple's strength is in combining well-designed hardware with a software eco-system. Instead of the crap applications that come with most TVs (ever try to input a web address with a typical TV remote control?) imagine if an Apple TV supported the use of apps - whether apps unique to the TV or apps the same or similar to iPhone/iPad apps in another open marketplace.
And the cable companies have never understood (or maybe just didn't care) about UI. CableLabs, which is an organization that sets standards for the cable industry, including metadata interchange, probably should have taken a lead here, but they never did. Just like most people never learned how to program their VCR, especially the earlier ones, and had the ubiquitous "12:00" flashing all the time, many people I know never learned how to delete channels or create favorites and therefore have a hard time navigating to the shows they really want to watch. In a thousand-channel universe, a good UI is essential and we don't have it. I've set up some sets for people who live in my apartment building and most of them didn't realize they were watching the SDTV channels instead of the HDTV channels. I think Comcast does tell you that there's an HDTV version available if you tune an SDTV version, but the major cable providers available in my building don't. I've always said that if you set your cable box to output 720p or 1080i, the box should automatically hide all the SDTV channels that have HDTV equivalents, but they don't. And don't get me started on the fact that on my cable system, if you delete a channel from your list of channels that are controlled by the remote, it puts a checkmark next to the channel number instead of an "X". Talk about bad UI.
I don't understand technically how Apple is going to get around the limitations of the cable box, but if they find a way, I think they can have another winner. Imagine if instead of the crappy TV guides we have today, Apple found a way to live preview multiple channels at once like a live, motion Safari "Top Sites" view.
But having said all that, I do agree that Apple has to bring LOTS of added value to any offering, especially if it's priced higher than traditional sets and it probably will be. And I also fear that in the drive towards simplicity, Apple will remove much functionality from a set, like the deep set of calibration and picture adjustment controls (no matter how confusing) that most sets have. If Apple wants to take the high end of the market, the set would include a sensor and perform its own automatic calibration.
I think it's going to be hard for Apple to break the cable/satellite monopoly because for that to work, they'd have to get all the major content channels up front. And I certainly wouldn't want lower picture or audio quality for a net-delivered channel than I'm getting today on cable. But I think that if one major cable channel licenses their content to Apple, whether it be ESPN, AMC Networks, Turner, Discovery or whoever, they all will cave in short order. Especially if Apple is willing to overpay in order to create their market. That would alienate the MSOs (and be completely disruptive to them in any case), but the cable networks hate the MSOs anyway, even though they need them. In any event, if Apple enters the marketplace with content, it might finally force the MSOs to offer ala-carte packages instead of their current poorly-designed and customer unfriendly packages and it might also force the cable networks to stop forcing the MSOs to take all their channels in order to get the primary ones. So the threat of Apple entering the industry may improve the industry for consumers, even those not electing to purchase an Apple TV.