Apple set-top box to blur line between live, on-demand content

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  • Reply 21 of 51
    vadaniavadania Posts: 425member
    NAiTL*, Apple. That's all I want and need. You make a little box I can buy that lets me plug a hard drive into my AirPort, drop files on it in the hierarchy of an iTunes Library, and access it over the network without iTunes open or a computer on at all, I'll buy three of them on launch day. You can do this now with software for both of the existing black Apple TVs, but I know you won't. And you can certainly make existing AirPort hardware support this, and I sure hope you do, because I JUST bought a new AirPort Extreme… 

    *Network Attached iTunes Libraries ("nate-ull" for pronouncing)

    Oh, but yeah, definitely do to television what you've done to phones, tablets, music, and movies. Please. We need it desperately.

    You could have almost cut and pasted this from one of your previous posts.

    However I fully agree. I thought they were going to get into this last year with all the rumors of a "hub" device. That would be perfect!

    ...and to the article... Apple calls it a "hobby", but it sure looks like a slow controlled takeover to me...
  • Reply 22 of 51
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    synergi wrote: »
    Not to mention the cable companies will pull an AT&T.. blame all the network hogging on an Apple device and make an even bigger push to take home broadband to tiered pricing.

    Most ISPs already throttle. Caps are often rather large like 200 gb a month but it's there in the very fine print. Tiers wouldn't be that big of a change.
  • Reply 23 of 51
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Apple needs to just DO it. What are content creators going to do, complain that they're making MORE money than ever before?
    Apple legally can't just do it. They are not the copyright holders and copyright includes broadcast rights. The nets and studios have to okay it. Which they are likely to do because it screws with OTA deals and they are too dumb to figure out that that, quality and withholding 'domestic' access for the DVD release are he main reasons folks torrent.
  • Reply 24 of 51
    Looks like it's going to be of very limited use or non at all outside of the US.

    The DVR / On demand combination sounds like it will be very similar to VirginMedia's TiVo box in the UK.

    This can search for a show, actor, keyword etc and finds on demand content and future programmes. You can even go back in time on the EPG and it will highlight available on demand content for you.

    Not sure about US cable offerings but the VirginMedia on demand content does not use your Internet connection. I can see that millions of new users streaming HD is going to put a strain current infrastructure.

    J
  • Reply 25 of 51


    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

    Apple legally can't just do it. They are not the copyright holders and copyright includes broadcast rights. The nets and studios have to okay it. Which they are likely to do because it screws with OTA deals and they are too dumb to figure out that that, quality and withholding 'domestic' access for the DVD release are he main reasons folks torrent.


     


    Which is why Apple should do it. Break the law for the good of their users and the betterment of the content creators. They'll get former pirates converting to their side and paying for content just to spite the content creators, and fines after the lawsuit filed against Apple (who will lose) won't even begin to touch the money Apple (and the content creators) get from the actions taken. By the time it's finished, all parties will be so much richer that the charges might just be dropped (not that it matters, what with the increased revenue).

  • Reply 26 of 51
    kent909kent909 Posts: 710member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Following up on a previous report, The Wall Street Journal on Thursday revealed a bit more about Apple's rumored set-top cable box, saying the unit may include an iOS-like user interface and advanced cloud-based DVR functionality that will blur the line between live and on-demand content.

    WSJ sources say Apple's vision for the device is to do away with the clunky interface seen on current cable boxes by using iOS icons, while adding a number of new features like streaming DVR capabilities which allow users to start any show at any time.

    One of the major features of an Apple-made cable box could be access to the company's rich history of user-friendly UIs. Sources familiar with Apple's plans say the set-top box may use iconography similar to iOS, perhaps akin to the interface seen on the current Apple TV. The design and layout may change if and when the rumored device is released, though the UI is expected to be a vast improvement over the much maligned solutions presented by existing cable boxes.

    The sources go on to say the box's DVR capabilities would be rooted in the cloud, with users able to access content stored on off-site servers. While some cable operators offer features similar to a cloud-based DVR, including Time Warner's "Start Over," a comprehensive solution that allows users to start and stop shows at will has yet to enter the market. The product which comes closest to having the proposed feature set would be TiVo, however that device stores shows on-site, not in the cloud.

    It appears the set-top box will be an advanced version of the current Apple TV, which is limited to streaming content from iTunes, Hulu and other internet sources. With the introduction of live television and cloud-based DVR functionality, the rumored device could solve many gripes cable subscribers have with their existing service. Apple reportedly wants to allow viewers access to all episodes of current TV shows as well as older seasons, a feature most providers limit to a select amount of previously-aired content.

    Other features Apple may be looking into are integrated social networking like sharing TV shows through Twitter, as well as AirPlay functionality which would offload content to supported iDevices.


    Apple TV

    Example of the current-generation Apple TV's user interface. | Source: Apple



    Thursday's report comes a day after rumors surfaced that Apple was in talks with a number of cable providers over introducing a branded cable box solution. It remains unclear how far along talks are, or if Apple is even close to closing some sort of deal, however the company may face an uphill battle in persuading cable operators that have traditionally been cool to the idea of a tech company entering their market. According to inside sources, late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was not in favor of partnering with regional cable operators because their limited reach could cause a number of operability issues.

    Entertainment companies are also an issue as they own a large portion of what is broadcast on cable networks, making it difficult for Apple to reach agreements with cable operators. A particular point of contention is the cloud-based DVR concept, with sources saying the idea could force content owners to extend cable companies' rights over content if the Apple box sees release. One person familiar with the matter said Apple may negotiate directly with the entertainment companies, leveraging media already available through iTunes.

    The fresh rumors follow growing sales of Apple's self-proclaimed Apple TV "hobby," which amounted to 1.3 million units during the three month period ending in June, up 170 percent year-to-year. During the company's third fiscal quarter conference call in July, it was announced that the Apple TV had an installed base of 6.8 million, boosted by 2012 fiscal year sales of 4 million units, a result that CEO Tim Cook called "pretty incredible."


    The picture says it all for me. I will never pay $2.99 for a single episode of a TV show ever. My limit is $1.00 for a first run show in HD. For a long time I thought I was on my way to being a cord cutter. Now I think I am just going to be someone that used to watch TV. 

  • Reply 27 of 51


    I don't believe this. It is a diversion. Did this rumor start based on the stupid DVR patent application revealed last week?


     


    The things described are in no way revolutionary. A "Start Over" function? Come on. Why? This has been standard in Scandinavia at most TV companies for some time. We actually have a lot of "blur" between cloud and linear TV channels. Why you ask? Only because TV is moving to towards the internet - not because it is practical. Seriously, why would you need to have a feature for TV channels to "Start Over" if everything was located in the cloud? Recordings are not stored in the cloud today with the current solutions but again; why the hell would you need to store a TV channel recording of for example "Friends" if everything was already in the cloud? Come on. This makes no sense.


     


    Just to elaborate a bit on the market situation in Scandinavia. All these things described are pretty much implemented and have been for years - often based on old-school Samsung boxes btw. - but right now Netflix is preparing to move in to the Nordics later this year. This has pretty much turned the TV business on its head and TV providers are scrambling to challenge that because cloud video is the future. I repeat: they already have all these crap features described in the article but they are still extremely afraid of Netflix?


     


    I just don't see Apple competing in this traditional, extremely messy market place. They don't want that. If they do they will surely lose the innovation label from me.

  • Reply 28 of 51
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Wall Street is obsessed with the next market Apple will "revolutionize" and assume it will be TV. But an Apple branded STB/DVR doesn't seem revolutionary to me. Not sure what it would offer me over my DirecTV HD DVR.
  • Reply 29 of 51
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Wall Street is obsessed with the next market Apple will "revolutionize" and assume it will be TV. But an Apple branded STB/DVR doesn't seem revolutionary to me. Not sure what it would offer me over my DirecTV HD DVR.

    A better UI comes to mind. I don't just mean better SW that is faster, more fluid, more intuitive, and is designed from the ground up with the average user in mind; which are all things Apple has excelled in when entering market late or in some cases entrenched, like with the iPhone. It could also mean HW for interacting with your TV in ways that we haevn't thought about too much or too thoroughly but Apple has tested in their labs for years; perhaps even longer than they worked on the iPhone and iPad simply because the TV has been around a lot longer.

    Remember, Apple already dominated the living room. What they don't dominate is the HEC.
  • Reply 30 of 51
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,590member
    I dont know how this: The Wall Street Journal on Thursday [U][B]revealed[/B][/U] a bit more about Apple's rumored set-top cable box

    Equals this: saying the unit [B][U]may[/U][/B] include an iOS-like user interface and advanced cloud-based DVR functionality that will blur the line between live and on-demand content.

    clickbait

    Its more of the same crap like the mini iPad supposedly out this fall but without a scrap of evidence. Where on the other hand we have parts from the new iPhone (which is coming out this fall) showing up all over the place.

    When does rumour mongering become stock manipulation?
  • Reply 31 of 51
    scalpernt wrote: »

    No, you only described form factor. Much of the integration was already discussed and assumed. The truth is, for the Apple experience to occur Apple needs to become a content provider.

    The Apple cable box will work but would require separate contracts with cable companies. The box would cost $400 and have a monthly rental charge per cable company.

    Apple needs get contracts with the networks for their own distribution rights. So far they have all turned Apple down. The next step is to buy a distribution network. The best option for that is Dish network. The price would be fairly cheep and Dish has valuable spectrum that would allow Apple to deliver via satellite and cellular.
  • Reply 32 of 51
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,221member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bmason1270 View Post





    No, you only described form factor. Much of the integration was already discussed and assumed. The truth is, for the Apple experience to occur Apple needs to become a content provider.

    The Apple cable box will work but would require separate contracts with cable companies. The box would cost $400 and have a monthly rental charge per cable company.

    Apple needs get contracts with the networks for their own distribution rights. So far they have all turned Apple down. The next step is to buy a distribution network. The best option for that is Dish network. The price would be fairly cheep and Dish has valuable spectrum that would allow Apple to deliver via satellite and cellular.


    I dont think Apple will ever be a content provider other than on demand video. They could offer more lived channels over the net like they do right now, but it would cost insane amount of bandwight to the consumer to get all its feed from the net. This only works on low volume, if it get mainstream the internet service provider will get overload and the streams are going to be choppy and un-reliable.


     


    I still maintain Apple best move would be to side with DSL, which are expanding there offering at a rapid paste.  AT&T and Verizon would love to steal clients from Cable.  An IPTV box with a iOS ecosystem could be a great argument to make people with iOs devices switch from Cable to IPTV. With the current Motorola IPTV box moving to Android soon, DSL would be able to offer a 2 ecosystems TV experience VS Cable with there classic low tech QAM box.  Its a no brainer, the arrogant cable companies are about to lose loads of clients and they dont even realise it yet.

  • Reply 33 of 51

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post


    The picture says it all for me. I will never pay $2.99 for a single episode of a TV show ever. My limit is $1.00 for a first run show in HD. For a long time I thought I was on my way to being a cord cutter. Now I think I am just going to be someone that used to watch TV. 





    Exactly. If you watch say, 3 shows a day, $2.99 each is $9/day, which equates to $270/month. Even at $1/show that is $90/month, which is still more than my cable bill.


     


    Netflix & Hulu are already changing the way we watch TV - they have the right idea with pricing ($8 and $10/month each).


     


    I would happily pay a la carte for cable channels (I watch less than 10 channels), and would pay additional money for them not to include ads. I just doubt that those 10 channels would price themselves individually lower than my cable TV bill (around $50/month) to make it worthwhile.

  • Reply 34 of 51


    I agree. I want an Apple TV that works with my existing cable service to replace my two Tivo boxes.


     


    Don't get me wrong - I love Tivo and it's the best current alternative to the horrendous boxes cable and satellite try to rent to their customers. However, Tivo has room for improvement and I believe Apple is the only company that can improve the living room experience. 


     


    I don't want to buy TV shows or movies, unlike music which I listen to over and over again. And, I can't see cutting the cord with cable. That might work for students or single people who watch TV on their computers, but that does not work for a family of 4. First of all, many Homeowners Associations (H.O.A.) have long-term contracts with cable companies signed by the builder. The service is rolled into your monthly H.O.A. fees so you're still "paying" for basic service even if you switch. The upside is that I only pay about $55/mo for HD service (no premium channels).


     


    With Tivo, I paid an extra $399 for lifetime service on my first Tivo box. Disclosure - I'd rather pay up front than drown in monthly payments. What Tivo doesn't advertise is that you're paying for service on the box. If that box dies, your service ends and they don't allow you to upgrade and transfer your service to a newer HD box. So my second Tivo Premiere is on a yearly plan.


     


    Hopefully, Apple gives users two options - an Apple TV that uses cloud storage and another where you can store content locally (or mirror the online storage). 

  • Reply 35 of 51

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I can't say I'm too keen on the cloud-based DVR. Even on a LAN the lag of pulling networked data can make the experience too slow to feel useful.


     


    I read "cloud-based DVR" as marketing speak for a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by willb2064 View Post



    I would happily pay a la carte for cable channels (I watch less than 10 channels), and would pay additional money for them not to include ads. I just doubt that those 10 channels would price themselves individually lower than my cable TV bill (around $50/month) to make it worthwhile.


     


    This is probably coming in one form or another, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.  Right now, the networks buy content from producers and sell channels to local cable providers for anywhere from 5-10 cents a month per subscriber for some channels on up to $4-plus a month per subscriber for the ESPN group of channels.  A la carte pricing would likely drive up the cost of popular channels and possibly drive some of the lesser channels out of business.


     


    The result is probably that you pay only for what you actually want and the people who want more will pay more, which is probably better than the system we have now.

  • Reply 36 of 51
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    That's part of it.


     


    Apple needs to take the iTunes Store global.


     


    "…They have…"


     


    The whole store. Screw countries, screw continents. If there's an application available in the US, it's available in Ireland, Japan, India, South Africa… If there's a TV show available in the Japan, it's available in Russia, China, Egypt, Brazil, Canada… If there's an iBook available in the UK, it's available in Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia, Peru… If there's a song available in France, it's available in Morocco, Uruguay, Guyana, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia… 


     


    These morons that want to lock things to a single country need to learn a thing or to about the long tail… 


     


    Apple needs to just DO it. What are content creators going to do, complain that they're making MORE money than ever before?



     


    I would love to see this.  I don't know if it's really possible but people don't talk about this enough.  


     


    It's outrageously stupid that I can't watch a show from another country without waiting literally for years to buy it on a plastic disk. 

  • Reply 37 of 51
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by diplication View Post





    How do the cable companies get left in the dust if you still need (at least for a lot of us) their cable modem? Wouldn't their business model switch from selling content to selling the conduit?


    Cable's worst nightmare is to become a dumb pipe. That is why they are investing in content creation, bundling phone, Internet, & TV, pay-per-view, local advertising production, etc. If data becomes just a commodity they will lose billions in ad revenue.

  • Reply 38 of 51
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Porchland View Post


     


    I read "cloud-based DVR" as marketing speak for a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.


     



    Probably. Most cable Internet speeds are asynchronous so the upload speed is not fast enough to record to the cloud. If the set top box had some local storage perhaps the transfer to the cloud could happen in a delayed transfer mode, then maybe it could work as a DVR.

  • Reply 39 of 51
    thejdthejd Posts: 37member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post


    The picture says it all for me. I will never pay $2.99 for a single episode of a TV show ever. My limit is $1.00 for a first run show in HD. For a long time I thought I was on my way to being a cord cutter. Now I think I am just going to be someone that used to watch TV. 



     


     


    +1000.  The price points of movies and TV shows is why I will not completely migrate to the iTunes universe at this time.  It's just too expensive.


     


    In some ways I think Apple has been beaten to the punch in this sector of the industry.  Has anyone here looked at Western Digital's Live boxes?  If you're looking for a box to hook to your TV with onboard storage to centralize your music library, photos/home movies, DVDs and BluRays (which can be straight disc images) and download artwork and production info (haven't been able to do that in iTunes with my DVD collection but I might be missing something) with the capability to stream Hulu and Netflix, and access your content on the road, then this is pretty much what Apple is working on releasing.  The only thing WD Live is missing is Apple's UI and the iTunes store.


     


    As far as cutting out the cable distributers, I'm not sure Apple can do that.  There are too many layers in the TV/Film industry for Apple to say, "Well, too bad for you but we're going to short circuit your income stream".  There's almost 100 years of a proven business model Apple is trying to break.  It would almost be easier to do if the over-the-air broadcast sector would work with cell phone companies and service providers.  DTV on cell phones is an untapped market in the States.

  • Reply 40 of 51

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Cable's worst nightmare is to become a dumb pipe. That is why they are investing in content creation, bundling phone, Internet, & TV, pay-per-view, local advertising production, etc. If data becomes just a commodity they will lose billions in ad revenue.



    Yeah, I know it is their worst nightmare, but I still believe they are headed there whether they like it or not.  I think eventually the competition from content delivery over wireless broadband (not anytime soon, but eventually) will push them there.  There is place for cable in the future, but its not where they are today or where they want to be tomorrow.

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