Apple assessed Apple TV 'dongle' to goose adoption of new streaming service, report says

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 21
Apple has reportedly conducted internal discussions about an Apple TV streaming stick similar to devices offered by Amazon and Google, a low-cost hardware option that would be well positioned to proliferate a video streaming service rumored to debut next year.

Fire Stick
Amazon's Fire Stick


A sparsely detailed report from The Information claims Apple employees considered the creation of an Apple TV dongle, hardware that would compete against Amazon's Fire Stick and Google's Chromecast, in a bid to increase adoption of an as-yet-unannounced streaming product.

The hardware would presumably plug in to USB or HDMI ports on modern televisions, allowing quick and easy access to the tvOS platform. More importantly, streaming sticks are much less expensive than set-top boxes, meaning Apple is, or was, mulling a downmarket grab.

Whether the company moved to develop the product, or has plans to do so, is unknown. Also unknown is how far up the ladder these discussions went. Apple engineers often toss around ideas about side projects that never make it beyond their team, let alone to the C-suite. However, there are a select few -- rarities like the HomePod -- that do become shipping products.

However, that some Apple workers considered a low-cost Apple TV option is telling of the company's desire to push its upcoming video streaming service. For a consumer electronics firm that stakes its claim on high-end products, recently doubling down on the strategy with 2018 iPhone and iPad model pricing, marketing a relatively inexpensive dongle would be a break in form.

Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV is priced at $149, while the Apple TV 4K comes in at $179, figures well above competing offerings from market leader Roku. Pricing is considered a major factor in Apple's dwindling share of the streaming device market.

Still, reports indicate Apple is investing at least $1 billion on a new streaming service expected to debut next year. From TV series to movies, the tech giant has contracted with some of the biggest names in Hollywood to seed content for the unannounced video product.

How the service will be marketed is unclear, though rumors suggest everything from a standalone product to a bundle with Apple Music and News, the latter folding in assets from Apple's recent purchase of digital magazine subscription service Texture.

A report last month claimed original shows will initially be made available for free through the TV app, software currently accessible on iOS and tvOS.
rtmyers5
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple product that costs two hundred bucks.
    edited November 21 larryatokyojimuwilliamlondonlkruppcornchipanantksundaramSpamSandwichMplsPargonautjony0
  • Reply 2 of 81
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,888member
    Apple TV was without a doubt the worst Apple product I ever bought. It lacked all the flexibility and control I needed. It seemed more like a series of Apple hoops to jump through with  nasty remote and now it just collects dust.

    I currently have a cheap Android TV box (vorke) and an expensive Android TV box (Shield), plus some WD Live players.


    patchythepirateanantksundaram
  • Reply 3 of 81
    the dongle seems like a good idea. I always felt the Apple TV 4th gen was "over-engineered" and too expensive. Most people want a TV streaming device. The fancy controller for gaming, and gaming oriented hardware is redundant for most people. The biggest issue facing Apple movie streaming at the moment, is the fact that one movie rental on Itunes costs almost as much as a month on Netflix. Hopefully Apples future streaming services will be more competitive.
    cornchipGeorgeBMacargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 81
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple products that costs two hundred bucks.

    I own 3 ATVs, two 4K models and one 4th gen for my 3 TVs at home.  I have completely nuked cable and gone all in with Directv Now, along with Prime Video and Netflix, so these 3 are my only “boxes” in my home. 

    1) what “locally stored” content are you referring to?  ATV is a streaming device. The only “local” content are the apps you install.

    2) Rips as in “pirated” or “copy protected content” that’s been removed of copy protection?  Don’t ever expect Apple to support anything like that. They are 100% behind content creators/owners. You need to re-adjust your expectations as that will never occur.  Your best work around is to setup a NAS and use a streaming app like Infuse or Plex. 

    3) It’s up to those services, not Apple, to become searchable and show up in the TV app.  You are laying blame to the wrong party. 

    4) I’ve run into this from time to time. It is a minor annoyance.  It usually happens because you didn’t “skip” on to the next episode, or didn’t finish the credits, so the app thinks there’s more to watch. I now make certain that I start 2-3 seconds of the next episode to avoid this problem. 

    5) there isn’t a full Music app on ATV.  It’s basically a companion app for your phone/iPad. Personally I like it that way. I would find it cumbersome to buy Music on the TV, however, that is a personal preference. 

    6)It sounds like you need to do a hard reset for “restore as new.”  I have never experienced this issue on any of my 3 ATVs, and I have both my and my spouse’s accounts loaded on all 3 ATVs. 
    AppleExposedtmaywilliamlondonmacplusplusmcdavecornchipbuckalecMacProkevin keeRayz2016
  • Reply 5 of 81
    Good grief they should have done this years ago. Apple TV is way overpriced for what it’s being used for.
    williamlondonpatchythepirateanantksundaramravnorodomargonaut
  • Reply 6 of 81
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 50unconfirmed, member
    No crappy dongles please!

    Just pay attention to the damn thing. every major release feels like a small point release every year. Stop cheating out and put the best possible processors in it.

    rossb2 said:
    the dongle seems like a good idea. I always felt the Apple TV 4th gen was "over-engineered" and too expensive. Most people want a TV streaming device. The fancy controller for gaming, and gaming oriented hardware is redundant for most people. The biggest issue facing Apple movie streaming at the moment, is the fact that one movie rental on Itunes costs almost as much as a month on Netflix. Hopefully Apples future streaming services will be more competitive.

    ????

    The controller is an optional purchase. Many people's biggest complaint is its lack of focus on gaming.

    I think most rental prices are fair except those that exceed $4.99. The Netflix comparison is ridiculous since you can rent anything on iTunes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 81
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 50unconfirmed, member
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple products that costs two hundred bucks.

    I own 3 ATVs, two 4K models and one 4th gen for my 3 TVs at home.  I have completely nuked cable and gone all in with Directv Now, along with Prime Video and Netflix, so these 3 are my only “boxes” in my home. 

    1) what “locally stored” content are you referring to?  ATV is a streaming device. The only “local” content are the apps you install.

    2) Rips as in “pirated” or “copy protected content” that’s been removed of copy protection?  Don’t ever expect Apple to support anything like that. They are 100% behind content creators/owners. You need to re-adjust your expectations as that will never occur.  Your best work around is to setup a NAS and use a streaming app like Infuse or Plex. 

    3) It’s up to those services, not Apple, to become searchable and show up in the TV app.  You are laying blame to the wrong party. 

    4) I’ve run into this from time to time. It is a minor annoyance.  It usually happens because you didn’t “skip” on to the next episode, or didn’t finish the credits, so the app thinks there’s more to watch. I now make certain that I start 2-3 seconds of the next episode to avoid this problem. 

    5) there isn’t a full Music app on ATV.  It’s basically a companion app for your phone/iPad. Personally I like it that way. I would find it cumbersome to buy Music on the TV, however, that is a personal preference. 

    6)It sounds like you need to do a hard reset for “restore as new.”  I have never experienced this issue on any of my 3 ATVs, and I have both my and my spouse’s accounts loaded on all 3 ATVs. 
    Wow beat me to it. A 1-poster told a veteran. Some people believe everything is Apples fault.

    #3 really threw me off. Netflix is really resisting for some reason.
    williamlondonbuckalecStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 81
    1) what “locally stored” content are you referring to?  ATV is a streaming device. The only “local” content are the apps you install.
    I have a Mac mini in the living room. The iTunes library on that has all the material I've created myself, ripped from DVD, and purchased and downloaded from Apple. I access that stuff via Home Sharing with the "Computers" app on the Apple TV.

    I used to download everything, but the new Apple TV makes that less convenient than just leaving stuff in the "cloud." That doesn't seem to a good idea though, as titles are sometimes dropped and if they aren't downloaded they're gone forever. So far that's happened with two titles I purchased from Apple. A third title no longer shows as "purchased" on the iTunes Store even though I bought it. In all three cases having downloaded the title at the time of purchase prevented changes at Apple's end from being a problem at my end.

    2) Rips as in “pirated” or “copy protected content” that’s been removed of copy protection?  Don’t ever expect Apple to support anything like that. They are 100% behind content creators/owners. You need to re-adjust your expectations as that will never occur.  Your best work around is to setup a NAS and use a streaming app like Infuse or Alex.
    I'm vehemently opposed to piracy, but I'm also a strong advocate of reasonable fair use terms. I refuse to accept that ripping a DVD I paid for constitutes piracy. I paid for a license, not a disc, and I'm not depriving the creator of revenue because I don't pass it along to others.

    The ripped files present to tvOS the same way as content I've created myself and that from sources other than Apple. It's not something that requires additional support in any area other than "attitude." tvOS simply provides only the absolute minimum possible integration for any material that does not come from an online source. Why it treats its own Home Sharing service as a second-class citizen is beyond me.

    3) It’s up to those services, not Apple, to become searchable and show up in the TV app.  You are laying blame to the wrong party.
    Yeah, I knew someone would offer that defence. It's true, but it's also true that Apple imposes certain minimum requirements on any software submitted for inclusion in the tvOS App Store and COULD very easily require third parties to adhere to certain interface guidelines. I suspect Apple doesn't because it doesn't have enough clout in that market, and providers may just as likely abandon Apple TV as do the work to meet any Apple-imposed standards.

    4) I’ve run into this from time to time. It is a minor annoyance.  It usually happens because you didn’t “skip” on to the next episode, or didn’t finish the credits, so the app thinks there’s more to watch.
    Nope. That's what I though at first too, but that ain't it.

    First, we now let the credits play out and wait until the show returns us to the OS on its own. We don't "stop" the playback at all. The problem persists despite that.

    Second, if we left a movie or show somewhere in the middle, then watch the rest later, the ATV will "remember" the partway start point, not a new position nearer the end.

    6)It sounds like you need to do a hard reset for “restore as new.”
    Again? How often should that be necessary? I've done it twice already and I haven't even owned the thing a year yet.
    williamlondonmcdaveargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 81
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple product that costs two hundred bucks.

    The Apple TV 2 I have was alright for a while, but I bought a TCL 4K TV with Roku and I'll be sticking to that for any new devices ($35 is it?).  From what I read here and elsewhere, it doesn't sound like Apple has thoroughly, properly (or at all?) integrated local content with cloud content (yes, it's legal to rip CDs that you have purchased; and yes, it's reasonable to want to play movies purchased and downloaded to iTunes on your Apple TV).  Seems to be the same with HomePod.

    I agree that a $200 device shouldn't keep forgetting your login info and require restarts, and I agree that Apple should be more focused on user experience and require third party apps to be properly integrated.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 81
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 50unconfirmed, member
    larrya said:
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple product that costs two hundred bucks.

    The Apple TV 2 I have was alright for a while, but I bought a TCL 4K TV with Roku and I'll be sticking to that for any new devices ($35 is it?).  From what I read here and elsewhere, it doesn't sound like Apple has thoroughly, properly (or at all?) integrated local content with cloud content (yes, it's legal to rip CDs that you have purchased; and yes, it's reasonable to want to play movies purchased and downloaded to iTunes on your Apple TV).  Seems to be the same with HomePod.

    I agree that a $200 device shouldn't keep forgetting your login info and require restarts, and I agree that Apple should be more focused on user experience and require third party apps to be properly integrated.
    Do you know how old your gen 2 Apple TV is? The new 4K Apple TV absolutely destroys any crappy Roku there is. You have no idea. And BTW I have the same TV as you and we never, EVER use the Roku feature. We have Apple TV 4K.

    I thought they couldn't force developers to follow such rules?

    Otherwise you two make a good point. Could be like the 64-bit thing where they gave developers time and then warned them their apps won't work in the future.
    StrangeDayswilliamlondonargonaut
  • Reply 11 of 81
    A 1-poster told a veteran.
    I don't understand what you mean. Told me what?

    I've got no problem with being put in my place when appropriate, but I don't see how that applies in this case.

    Some people believe everything is Apples fault.
    Uh, if not Apple, who *IS* responsible for the decisions about how tvOS works? One can argue that integration with the TV app is up to the service providers, but even that is subject to debate. Every single other point is 100% on Apple.
    williamlondonanantksundaramargonaut
  • Reply 12 of 81
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,131member

    Apple assessed Apple TV 'dongle' to goose adoption of new streaming service, report says



    Ok, grandpa!

    in related news, Apple says no to thousands of things...

    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 81
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,633member
    No brainer. There is no early or late. Whatever helps to expand Apple ecosystem. Good idea. Just do it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 81
    The Apple TV in its current iteration is bullshit. 

    Whats the point of giant storage space and high price if we can’t even download purchased movies onto it ffs. And what’s the point of having a recent-gen A series chip if they’re going to fumble the deployment of gaming?

    As an all-in Apple customer, I own 3 of them. But it’s so unnecessary/limited in its current form. 

    It’s kinda shitty that Apple still leaves huge holes in its ecosystem like this.
    williamlondonanantksundaramwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 81
    thrangthrang Posts: 745member
    I own four ATV4K's and really never had an issue with any of them. Not sure what "flexibility" is missing from it - With Infuse, you can play your own local content, even ripped BDMV or ISO Blu Ray or UHD (still waiting for Atmos support for 3rd party apps like Infuse however)

    My gripe is the touch remote, and the GUI, as nice as it was when launched, could stand the next phase of modernization



    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 16 of 81
    I’ve had each generation of atv since generation 3.  Each one gets better.  I love my 4K atv.   Using the clunky google interface of my Sony tv or even the new 4K Blu-ray player is terrible compared to apples. Googles interface installed on all the TVs and the crappy amazon fire stick is 10 times worse than apples.  I’ve trued using my sisters fire stick and it’s the worst slowest crap I’ve used.  Most of these complaints probably don’t have a decent 4K tv running hdr correctly to even appreciate the new Apple TV. I have a very large dvd collection but to watch a ripped 480p dvd after watching a 4K movie....come on it’s like going back in time so such a moot point to bitch about on a 4K streaming set. Just put the damn original dvd in a Blu-ray player if you want to watch a old movie probably does a better job of upscaling than some compressed rip job.  Personally Ill take a 4K hdr hd/cd/ quality 7.1 audio than a old mp3 compressed 480 dvd. Hulu handles 99% of my tv shows.  Directv now handles my live tv and hbo.   Netflix handles my series.  Can it improve, of course,  every iOS update every year polishes it even more.  

    Most complaints I see are the same ones the windows/android crowd would give. “(the big one) can’t pirate, Can’t modify, too expensive, want it for $40. 

    StrangeDayswilliamlondonAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 81
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 218member
    I’m all in on the Apple ecosystem but have to agree with those who think the Apple TV is not one of Apple’s best products.   My biggest beef, really, has come recently: I bought two Apple HomePods and paired them so I could use them as a replacement for my TV’s crappy built-in ones.   It works well when I use Netflix or Amazon on my ATV4.  But god forbid I involve AirPlay - as in streaming something from our iPad to he ATV4 - the ATV4 then reverts back to using the TV speakers.  When I’m done and go back to watching via an app on the ATV4, I then have remember to manually set the sound destination back to the HomePods :-(.  Everything is Apple here - and they can’t make it work right.  That’s just crap.  Actually, the same behavior occurs from one particular app too: WatchAir.  This app receives a stream, via wifi, from an over-the-air antenna in another part of the house and sends the received channel to the TV.  It, too, reverts the ATV4 to using the TV speakers.

    Between the ATV4 and the two HomePods, it’s almost $900 of Apple equipment - and its a pretty crappy experience.

    Which is a shame - I love all my other Apple gear.  I think Apple is still treating ATV as a hobby - despite what Cook claimed a few years ago.
    lorin schultzwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 81
    My gen 4 ATV was pretty neat, better than the gen 3. However, it stopped working after about 18 months. The Apple Store "genius" said I would need to replace it for $119 refurb or buy new at $150. It was right after Amazon Prime day, so I went ahead and ordered a Fire Stick for whatever reason. I told him, "nah, I'll stick with the $20 fire stick." So I use a $20 fire stick and the gen 3 ATV. I don't like paying premium dollar for trash, I have a really old fire stick that works and I only paid 25$ for it. How I can pay 150$ for an ATV and only get 18 months is beyond me. Inexcusable. So I'll be rolling my streaming boxes away from Apple and just stick with Amazon. The movies are cheaper anyway and it works just as great. Never really found Airplay to be all that impressive on the macbook anyway.

    My two bits.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    Given how poorly the existing models work, it's hard to get excited about a new version. I'd be much, much happier to read that Apple has committed to bringing tvOS up to the standards we enjoy with its other products.

    The list of weirdness got a little longer yesterday. In addition to the long-standing issues, such as...

    1. Locally-stored content and cloud based content are listed in separate sections, so finding a title requires looking in two different places.
    2. "Looking" is the only option for rips and downloaded content, because tvOS doesn't search local content.
    3. Some services appear in the TV app, others don't.
    4. The OS routinely fails to notice that we've already watched something, so when we go to watch a new episode we're presented with the last one we watched instead.
    5. It does not allow purchases of individual songs. The only music acquisition option is a subscription to Apple Music.

    ...we can now add:

    6. Despite being signed in to my iTunes account, it now occasionally reports that I have no purchases to view. I have to restart it to get it to "see" my purchases.

    This is the kind of thing I might expect and tolerate in a $50 off-brand device, but it's really disappointing in an Apple products that costs two hundred bucks.

    I own 3 ATVs, two 4K models and one 4th gen for my 3 TVs at home.  I have completely nuked cable and gone all in with Directv Now, along with Prime Video and Netflix, so these 3 are my only “boxes” in my home. 

    1) what “locally stored” content are you referring to?  ATV is a streaming device. The only “local” content are the apps you install.

    2) Rips as in “pirated” or “copy protected content” that’s been removed of copy protection?  Don’t ever expect Apple to support anything like that. They are 100% behind content creators/owners. You need to re-adjust your expectations as that will never occur.  Your best work around is to setup a NAS and use a streaming app like Infuse or Plex. 

    3) It’s up to those services, not Apple, to become searchable and show up in the TV app.  You are laying blame to the wrong party. 

    4) I’ve run into this from time to time. It is a minor annoyance.  It usually happens because you didn’t “skip” on to the next episode, or didn’t finish the credits, so the app thinks there’s more to watch. I now make certain that I start 2-3 seconds of the next episode to avoid this problem. 

    5) there isn’t a full Music app on ATV.  It’s basically a companion app for your phone/iPad. Personally I like it that way. I would find it cumbersome to buy Music on the TV, however, that is a personal preference. 

    6)It sounds like you need to do a hard reset for “restore as new.”  I have never experienced this issue on any of my 3 ATVs, and I have both my and my spouse’s accounts loaded on all 3 ATVs. 
    Well said.
    williamlondonAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 81
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,433member
    avon b7 said:
    Apple TV was without a doubt the worst Apple product I ever bought. 


    Odd that you don’t actually like Apple kit, but keep buying it. 🤔
    tmayStrangeDayswilliamlondonAppleExposedwatto_cobralkrupp
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