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HDTV sales tumble 10% as rumors of full-fledged Apple television set have all but vanished

post #1 of 95
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Global television sales suffered a second consecutive year-over-year decline in 2013, adding color to recent indications of a shift in Apple's living room go-to-market strategy from an integrated television set to a standalone set-top box.

Apple TV


Whispers of an Apple-branded television set gained steam during what IHS consumer devices analyst Jusy Hong recently described as "a golden period of tremendous growth" in the industry between 2009 and 2011, but have gradually petered out over the last two years as consumers who replaced their aging CRT sets with new LCD or Plasma devices see little reason to upgrade again in the midst of a worldwide economic slowdown.

The decline has affected both traditional and emerging markets, with sales off by as much as 9 percent in North America, 4 percent in Western Europe, 7 percent in Asia, and 14 percent in Eastern Europe. Along with the television industry's famously low margins, the recent slowdown could go a long way toward explaining the change in tone surrounding Apple's plans for the living room.
Rumors of an iTV have give way in recent months to whispers of an updated Apple TV.
Many industry insiders and Apple watchers now expect the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to make its living room play with an expansion of the existing Apple TV streaming device. Sales of the Apple TV grew 80 percent in 2013 as cost-conscious consumers increasingly drop expensive monthly cable subscriptions in favor of lower-cost streaming options, and many appear happy to relegate their high-definition television sets to "dumb display" status.

Apple appears poised to take advantage of that consumer momentum, with new hardware and content partnerships on the horizon. A February report suggested that a refreshed Apple TV could be unveiled as early as April, with an upgraded processor and a new user interface that would make it easier to discover new content.

The report also indicated that Apple was in negotiations with cable giant Time Warner to add live television content, though it is uncler how the recently-announced merger between Time Warner and fellow cable company Comcast would affect those negotiations. Apple has shown a willingness to bypass cable providers in the past, bringing on former Hulu marketing and distribution chief Pete Distad to lead negotiations with content owners like ESPN and HBO and could return to that tack should a cable deal fall through.
post #2 of 95
Apple is smart. It didn't jump on the netbook band wagon or this smart TV set dumbness. Set top boxes are more flexible and less costly.
post #3 of 95

But wait… shouldn’t the tumbling of HDTV sales signal that “people are waiting for the Apple TV, therefore it is imminent!”? ;)

 

I guess that’s what these companies get for making a good product that lasts people longer than 4 years. And 2160p TVs won’t take off as long as broadcasters refuse to shoot the bandwidth out there.

post #4 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Apple is smart. It didn't jump on the netbook band wagon or this smart TV set dumbness. Set top boxes are more flexible and less costly.

 

Yes I thought it was silly for Apple to release its own TV set rather than just a simple box that can do everything with people's existing TV's. This would get the AppleTV box into more hands because you're only buying a box which will be a hell of a lot cheaper than some $2000-$3000 smart TV. 

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post #5 of 95
The world needs more dumb TVs.
post #6 of 95
Who knows what Apple's plans are, but one reason for them doing a TV is law of large numbers. Last fiscal year Apple's revenues were $170 billion. A $99 or $199 set top box isn't really going to move the needle on that number. If Apple thinks they could sell enough TVs to really impact that number they might consider it.
post #7 of 95
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
A $99 or $199 set top box isn't really going to move the needle on that number.

 

It will if the margins are high enough. And if the software/content platform created is good enough, they’re looking at multiple Apple TVs per household, every household.

post #8 of 95

I said this before, over the last 10 yrs people have been getting rid of their Tube TV and replacing them with anything flat, for get about which technologies are better, Not that most everyone has done that, TV sales will return to the replacement business model, People will only buy a new TV if the old one dies or they are adding to what they already have. The TV turn over will be around 7 to 10 yr if not longer. The average person will not be upgrading their flat tv ever time the TV company come out with a new wizzy bang feature. As it was said, replacing a $99 device ever few years to get the next latest and greatest thing is better then replacing a $1000 60" TV.

 

TV are for viewing and they will not be everything you need on a single device.

post #9 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Who knows what Apple's plans are, but one reason for them doing a TV is law of large numbers. Last fiscal year Apple's revenues were $170 billion. A $99 or $199 set top box isn't really going to move the needle on that number. If Apple thinks they could sell enough TVs to really impact that number they might consider it.

TVs are a low margin business. They aren't replaced often enough to be a profitable product line. My main tv is from 2006 and it's still working fine for my needs.
post #10 of 95
Quote:
 Whispers of an Apple-branded television set gained steam during what IHS consumer devices analyst Jusy Hong recently described as "a golden period of tremendous growth" in the industry between 2009 and 2011,

 

Article Title infers causation, while the correlation is iffy at best.

 

post #11 of 95
An integrated Apple TV never made a lick of sense three years ago, let alone now. The game was always about access to and affordability of content, and it's evermore the case today. While Sony pissed away millions on one of its latest colossal strategic mistakes - Google TV (THUD!!) - Apple was steadfastly expanding its content, building market share on content delivery and (horrors!) making big money in the process! How a bunch of supposedly bright financial analysts touted the idea that a low-margin product like TVs would be anything but a drain on Apple's high margins is a riddle for the ages. It inspired a bunch of investing latecomers to buy into an AAPL bubble. Reality bit in mid-2012.

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post #12 of 95

"HDTV sales tumble 10% as rumors of full-fledged Apple television set have all but vanished"

 

WOW! AI becoming a professional slop-slatherer. Falsely, writing a headline as if one issue is related to another.

 

Good job!

post #13 of 95
The current sweet spot of prices for big screens is 70" HDTVs (although I think 80" is really the ideal size) -- the previous years models like the Vizio E701I-A3 at a sub $1500 price -- was enticing enough to make that 40" --> 70" jump, and ATV looks great on it. 1wink.gif
http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-tvs/vizio-e701i-a3/4505-6482_7-35477664.html

What is disappointing to me is that Apple has been far too slow to add content to ATV, especially when comparing to the late Boxee/XBMC/Plex -- I think that TV App Store is long overdue, just like CarPlay should have been released years ago alongside AirPlay, IMHO.
Edited by libertyforall - 3/14/14 at 9:41am
post #14 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It will if the margins are high enough. And if the software/content platform created is good enough, they’re looking at multiple Apple TVs per household, every household.

Exactly. I have three - two gen 2s and a gen 3. The gen 2s are fine for smaller flat panels in the kitchen and guest bedroom. At $99 a pop, they're chump change. It's a no-brainer to upgrade if the next generation adds significant new capabilities at the same attractive price.

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post #15 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Who knows what Apple's plans are, but one reason for them doing a TV is law of large numbers. Last fiscal year Apple's revenues were $170 billion. A $99 or $199 set top box isn't really going to move the needle on that number. If Apple thinks they could sell enough TVs to really impact that number they might consider it.

 

But if you look at who/what dominates the TV industry, it's low-end sets.   Samsung, with it's relatively low prices in much of its line, has effectively killed both Sony and Panasonic.   Sony's current approach is at the high-end and they're pushing expensive 4K sets, but it remains to be seen whether that's going to be even remotely successful and Sony has threatened to get out of the TV business entirely.   Panasonic is no longer making plasma sets.    

 

Now having said that, when Apple came out with the initially very expensive iPhone, critics said they would never succeed because of the all the low-priced phones already out there.   But the reality is that the iPhone didn't really achieve success until Apple negotiated deal with the carriers to subsidize the phones and the perceived price to the end-user was $200 for the phone.  And until the Android competition came along, the Apple iPhone had clear differentiation with ALL the phones that came before it.  It truly was a revolutionary device.

 

The question remains is what does Apple bring to the party that you can't get today from the web-based services already provided in most TVs, receivers and Blu-ray players or from such devices as the Roku stick.    Maybe it's far superior UI that combines all the services together.   Maybe it's more comprehensive services.    Maybe it's offering every thing in 4K so that one can take advantage of the increased resolution of newer high-end TVs (although that's currently an extremely small slice of the market).    Frankly, I'm not seeing what Apple would actually bring that would cause lots of people in the short term to rush to AppleTV unless the service was so comprehensive, one could truly dump their cable subscription.    But for so many reasons that I've documented in the past, that's not happening in the short term and in spite of the supposed statement from Steve Jobs that he "had it licked" or something of the sort, I see nothing that Apple has brought to Apple TV so far that would cause it to dominate the market.   The content offerings aren't all that great and the UI is uninspiring.  

post #16 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

It will if the margins are high enough. And if the software/content platform created is good enough, they’re looking at multiple Apple TVs per household, every household.

And don't forget corporate and educational sales where the iPad is becoming increasingly common. Every meeting calls room and board room will have an Apple TV hooked up to a screen or projector, of some kind.

post #17 of 95

Another secret sauce to ATV's usefulness is the Media Center and ClickToPlugin Safari Extensions which both add "Send via AirPlay" for videos on YouTube and other places right to ATV@!

 

Why Apple does not better integrate AirPlay across the Mac applications I will never know!  :(


Edited by libertyforall - 3/14/14 at 9:33am
post #18 of 95

I can't believe that Apple would release any sort of a "set top box" that needs to be hooked up with a million cables running everywhere.  It is very un-Applelike.

post #19 of 95
I am a geek. I tend to replace my gadgets often. Yet my TVs are from 2007 and 2009. Why? Once you have a quality full HD display with HDMI in there's little reason to replace it until it dies or you want a bigger one. And I got the size I needed back then and haven't felt a need to upgrade.
post #20 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Apple was steadfastly expanding its content, building market share on content delivery
 

Apple doesn't care about market share whatsoever.  Profit is the most important thing.

post #21 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


Exactly. I have three - two gen 2s and a gen 3. The gen 2s are fine for smaller flat panels in the kitchen and guest bedroom. At $99 a pop, they're chump change. It's a no-brainer to upgrade if the next generation adds significant new capabilities at the same attractive price.

 

This is exactly why I think they'd be better off doing a simple box with something like an A6 or A7 in it with amazing software running it. Can the A7 's graphics push out 4K without choking???

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post #22 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 

I can't believe that Apple would release any sort of a "set top box" that needs to be hooked up with a million cables running everywhere.  It is very un-Applelike.

 

Doesn't the Mac Pro kinda act like this? Its not incredibly un-Applelike. Also, who said it would need a million cables??? 2-3 cables is too many?

 

​The only cables I think you'd need is power, HDMI, and maybe network if you don't do wireless networking. Why would you need anything else?

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post #23 of 95
Apple is best positioned to reshape the mishmash of channels into a cohesive structure where viewers can select shows by genre as opposed to channel or time. But before Apple can release "Steve-o-vision" it must partner with a "Comcast-like" entity who already has the networks sewn up. Apple doesn't need to reinvent the wheel but it does need access to a full spectrum of networks and shows
post #24 of 95

I agree, the future is an all IP network, and both cellular and cable are moving towards this end.  One still wonders when or how that will happen for terrestrial broadcast OTA via antenna though??!!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 

I can't believe that Apple would release any sort of a "set top box" that needs to be hooked up with a million cables running everywhere.  It is very un-Applelike.

post #25 of 95

Except try watching 2160P (4K) content up close at your local HDTV store -- it is truly mesmerizing!  ;)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

I am a geek. I tend to replace my gadgets often. Yet my TVs are from 2007 and 2009. Why? Once you have a quality full HD display with HDMI in there's little reason to replace it until it dies or you want a bigger one. And I got the size I needed back then and haven't felt a need to upgrade.
post #26 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


TVs are a low margin business. They aren't replaced often enough to be a profitable product line. My main tv is from 2006 and it's still working fine for my needs.

TV's last and these days they are so good the upgrades are hardly worth it. Super high definition is niche, as is 3d. Half the people out there seem to be watching low res programming on high def screens, with distorted stretched images. The cheapest upgrade people can do is spend the time setting up their TV's properly and bothering to select the HD stream when available. When it comes to TV image quality people have low standards... is my experience. 

post #27 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post


Faulty logic postulated on imperfect data collection.
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post #28 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post

Apple is best positioned to reshape the mishmash of channels into a cohesive structure where viewers can select shows by genre as opposed to channel or time. But before Apple can release "Steve-o-vision" it must partner with a "Comcast-like" entity who already has the networks sewn up. Apple doesn't need to reinvent the wheel but it does need access to a full spectrum of networks and shows

And deliver it how? Across a competitor's network? They're not just going to let someone eat their lunch.
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post #29 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post

Apple doesn't care about market share whatsoever.  Profit is the most important thing.
For Apple, making great products and providing great user experiences are the key. Profits come with it. But market share is not meaningless. Take for example Cook's repeated comments about how Macs continue to grow while PCs tail off.

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post #30 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

This is exactly why I think they'd be better off doing a simple box with something like an A6 or A7 in it with amazing software running it. Can the A7 's graphics push out 4K without choking???
If the A7 can't, the A8 and further iterations will be in the works and ready in a box by the time 4K displays gain significant traction in the marketplace. The other issue is streaming bandwidth from the ISPs, especially in the U.S. which lags many other countries.

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post #31 of 95
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
... rumors of full-fledged Apple television set have all but vanished

 

Surprise!  (Not.)

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post #32 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


For Apple, making great products and providing great user experiences are the key. Profits come with it. But market share is not meaningless. Take for example Cook's repeated comments about how Macs continue to grow while PCs tail off.

 

Exactly. The day Apple simply goes for profits (when the bean counters come in) is the day you should sell off all of your Apple stock. Profits come with Apple selling to the high-end market using quality parts and amazing software that people want. If you make something thats very profitable, but people don't want it because its a POS then its really not all that profitable. Just go ask Dell this...

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post #33 of 95
I can't pretend to predict the future, but I can envision one where "cable TV" will be a quaint, historical memory, where all "channels" instead flow through the Internet connection. Today, the cable installer brings a Motorola or Cisco "set top box" into your home. Imagine if that instead were an Apple TV box, and your channels came through that. Call it HomePlay (just as Apple can drive your future vehicle's dash display via CarPlay).
Evolution tends to happen in sudden spurts rather than steadily. I can imagine "cable TV" going away in a seismic shift to Internet-based programming. All those immense Apple data centers distributed across the country are gaining equally immense netcast capability, which represents potentially very attractive value-provided facilities for all the content providers. A scenario can be envisioned where both cable- and content-providers win with this arrangement as a new frontier is opened up. Keep in mind that cable companies absolutely hate having to deal with content providers, who continually drive prices up and make cable companies appear to be the perennial bad guys. The overall situation is just so ripe for this change.
post #34 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Who knows what Apple's plans are, but one reason for them doing a TV is law of large numbers. Last fiscal year Apple's revenues were $170 billion. A $99 or $199 set top box isn't really going to move the needle on that number. If Apple thinks they could sell enough TVs to really impact that number they might consider it.

I think Apple cares more about market share in the living room than they do profits. The profits will still come from iOS devices, and for as long as the AppleTV is the best box to have in the living room in house full of iOS devices, they will continue to win market share.

 

Apple moving to an integrated TV display would be a disaster.......repeat.....disaster. There is no one to compete against. They would still be competing against $50 Roku devices that have similar functionality at the end of the day. The main point is....anyone that is not in NEED of a new TV has no reason to go out and buy an Apple HDTV. Aside from the fact that Apple would (could) make the best TV ever made...thats just an assumption based on their contributions to other markets. Everything else would be software, and Apple can already deliver that with a box connected via HDMI.

 

If you need further proof of that last statement....compare the iMac to a Mac mini w/ a random display from Dell or Acer....and tell me that Apple has done SO MUCH more with the iMac that it makes the other experience not worth it......because in my personal experience that is not the case at all. The iMac is nice, but no reason why I can't have the same great experience with Mac mini & Dell display.

post #35 of 95
Apple needs to just make a fantastic looking 4K monitor which people can use both in their living room as a TV or with their MacPros, etc.. Keep Apple TV as an inexpensive, upgradable set top box. Either way, the MacPro needs a great monitor to go with it, they can't just have that Sharp 4K monitor being the one.
post #36 of 95

What a horrible intro to this article.  "...adding color to recent indications of a shift in Apple's living room go-to-market strategy from an integrated television set to a standalone set-top box."

 

Really?  Where is there any evidence of actual shift in Apple's strategy.  Point to any hint from Apple that they ever intended to produce an actual TV set.  The only thing that's shifted is the guesswork about what Apple should be or is doing.

post #37 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


For Apple, making great products and providing great user experiences are the key. Profits come with it. But market share is not meaningless. Take for example Cook's repeated comments about how Macs continue to grow while PCs tail off.

Respectfully, comments about selling more Macs while PCs sales drop off, are not necessarily evidence that Apple cares about market share.  It's just a statement about relative success in selling products people like.  Obviously market share is going to be correlated to sales numbers and more sales is better then fewer sales, but that doesn't mean that market share is a goal.  For example, I doubt Apple cares about their share of the "phone market" or even the "more-than-feature phone market" if the latter includes crappy smart phones that are basically free.

 

I don't think you disagree.  I just wouldn't read too much (anything) into the fact that Cook refers to sales of other products.

post #38 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post
 

I can't believe that Apple would release any sort of a "set top box" that needs to be hooked up with a million cables running everywhere.  It is very un-Applelike.

HDMI between the box and the TV.

Ethernet or WiFi between the network and the box.

 

Why would it be anything else?

post #39 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


4k does look great, but the only form of IP content delivery outside of what Apple might have planned is Netflix and possibly Amazon. I think an actual physical TV from Apple would be great but the economics of it might not be there. If it's a 4k TV Apple would need to have the content lined up and they would likely get the panels from LG or Sony. The software would probably be iOS. With that being said, I don't know how much of a premium an Apple TV would carry to make sense with extended upgrade cycles. People will get the best panel money can buy and having a $99-$199 box with a better platform would probably make more sense than doing a full blown set. I think the current hardware has been doing well because of the price point and simplicity. More and more offices and schools have Apple TVs, which I think has contributed to the most recent success.

The only way I think Apple would maybe do it if they actual do a set, is maybe like the Mac Pro. Limited quantity, Assembled in the US, panels from LG or Sony, with a premium price point and have it be a halo product with a separate box for those that don't want to pay the premium.
post #40 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post
 
Exactly. I have three - two gen 2s and a gen 3. The gen 2s are fine for smaller flat panels in the kitchen and guest bedroom. At $99 a pop, they're chump change. It's a no-brainer to upgrade if the next generation adds significant new capabilities at the same attractive price.

Just like an iPhone which you can get for $0-$200, it is the monthly service that gets expensive. Cox charges $47.99 / mo. for their slowest Internet (5 mbs) which is not even guaranteed and at times is too slow to properly stream content without stalling, which really is a buzz kill when watching an exciting movie. I wouldn't be surprised if the Internet prices start going up as more people bail on the TV packages in lieu of streaming.

 

Plus, there is also the likelihood of data caps or throttling in the future. Cutting the cord is a myth.

 

At one of my houses I have no cable whatsoever, just OTA HD (excellent image quality BTW, way better than cable) and for Internet I have a cell data plan with a WiFi hotspot, which is ok for a vacation home but rather limited in options.

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