Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals

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  • Reply 61 of 91
    schlackschlack Posts: 711member
    if apple would just add the app store to the appleTV it would fly off shelves.

    they can add a $100/$200/$300 price point for 16GB/32GB/64GB versions to amp up the margins/revenue.
  • Reply 62 of 91
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mstone wrote: »
    Ha! Funny thing about aged based surveys is that they often fail to calculate changing demographics. As people age they tend to become more locally focused, more conservative and less influenced by new technology. Local news on their TV is very important to many people. It is important to remember that baby-boomers are still in control because they have all the money.

    While that seems to have some truth to it I don't think you can make a blanket statement that would be valid. If it was a universal truth then local newspapers would be increasing in readership, not dropping, as the number of retirees grow.
  • Reply 63 of 91
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,379member
    schlack wrote: »
    if apple would just add the app store to the appleTV it would fly off shelves.

    they can add a $100/$200/$300 price point for 16GB/32GB/64GB versions to amp up the margins/revenue.
    I've been saying this for years. They don't need to own the content, provide the app/channel store & customer demand will force the content owners to supply their product.
  • Reply 64 of 91
    Actually he did it! After his comment in Isaacson's book all the HDTV interfaces from Samsung and other copycats got really better! ;-)
  • Reply 65 of 91
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Before his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly said in a meeting with his top 100 employees that he didn't believe the company would ever release a television set, due to low margins and infrequent user upgrades.

    <q>Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is alleged to have said in 2010 that the television set business is "terrible," and he didn't believe Apple should try to compete.</q>

    "TV is a terrible business," Jobs is alleged to have said. "They don't turn over and the margins suck."

    I'll just point this out again as it bears repeating.

    All Apple devices, have a minimum lifespan of 7 years. The reason the iPhone is successful is because the technology at the time accelerated because of Apple changing the game. So for the last 10 years or so, mobile devices leapfrogged what we were getting before from the likes of Nokia and Blackberry. Apple ate Blackberry's lunch, Android ate all the feature phones lunches.

    To be able to do this with Television would require doing a little more than simply making another set top box. What has to be done is make it so that the iPhone or iPad device docks with the TV and turns the TV into a smart device. Not just simply replacing the LCD panel every 7 years.

    Think about it, what improvements have been made in LCD screens, vs LCD televisions. We went from simple cold cathode backlights to LED backlights, and lowered latency so that they suck less for gaming. Aside from that there has been no practical reason to upgrade a TV or Computer screen until the backlights all burn out. Even then, the most common defect in a LCD is the power inverter, and not the backlight. I have two "dead" monitors sitting beside my recycling bin, the first one's fails to power on and if it does, it has an analog VGA input only. The newer one beside it was made in China (by Proview) and the power supply fails to start. Even the old CRT monitors I had back in the day, the only one that actually died, went *BANG* and a puff of smoke as something on the power supply (Goldstar, now known as LG, and is one of two reasons I hate on LG despite this happening 20 years ago.) The television side has had no improvement whatsoever.

    The Television vendors keep trying to sell us new TV's and thought they found it in selling 3D televisions. What happened? Fizzled. Now they're doing 4K 3D. This will also fizzle. Apple has nothing to gain by trying to sell a TV, only monitors. What Apple can do is sell a Apple monitor with a "TV" Kit that adds a box that docks to it via thunderbolt that replaces the "stereo/surround receiver/analog inputs" box and plug the speakers into that. The box in peoples current home theaters is the largest, worst designed thing that nobody knows how to use, and is often replaced more often than the TV itself. Dock/Airplay the iPhone or iPad to it to then turn it into a smartTV or whatever.
  • Reply 66 of 91
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Mea culpa. I though aomeone I know used it to get HD OTA but I'll have to ask to verify.

    Still, isn't it a TV tuner that connects to you Mac with a HW/SW solution? If so, is that the road we need to go down in an IP connected world? How could Apple use their technology to make life better?

    2)

    Nope. Because TV tuners only work for the US, and only for HD OTA. Other countries (like Canada) that share ATSC, do not have cablecards, so the only thing an external antenna input can be used for is OTA if you live in a major city like Toronto. If you live anywhere else, you get one or two channels and usually poorly. Even where I live I've tried to get the Analog OTA signal before it was switched to digital and I could only get 3 channels, with about 30% clarity (there was noise and ghosting on all channels) But the Apartment I live in now actually has a 300ohm pair antenna connection in the wall... but I think whatever is on the other end must have been removed when the cable company installed cable decades ago.

    Some kind of internet-based television standard doesn't exist, and the closest thing we have are "apps" for smart phones, and very-clunky-inconsistent apps from the cable companies themselves or their channels that only show SD quality video. HD video streams require 35Mbps VBR (at AVC, iphones and iPads can't effectively decode 35Mbps, let alone get a 35Mbps stream to buffer.) The "data caps" made sure that even if you have a 50Mbps connection, you're not getting a blueray quality transmission.
    In fact according to what my cable box is transmitting to my macmini, the cable company is sending 1920x1080i VBR video at 12Mbps in Mpeg-2, but if I go to their streaming site.

    Existing SmartTV's can't handle high bitrate video either, even when they use the same hardware their blueray players have. Like this LG 3D TV:
    http://www.lg.com/sg/support-product/lg-42LW5700#
    Only supports 20Mbps video, and then, only from a USB drive.
  • Reply 67 of 91
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,754moderator
    rogifan wrote: »
    One could say the same about pretty much anything Apple is in. A $99 box doesn't move the needle on $170 billion revenue base unless you can get a lot more people buying the $99 box and a reason for them to upgrade it ever 2-3 years.

    They do need to shift a lot of boxes but the money doesn't just come from the box sale. I made a comparison in the other thread about this same subject:

    http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/164516/hdtv-sales-tumble-10-as-rumors-of-full-fledged-apple-television-set-have-all-but-vanished/40#post_2488217

    If we assume the TV would be upgraded every 7 years, the box 3 times during the same time and each user can be monetized at $30 per year in content sales, the revenue from this set of buyers over 7 years would be:

    (2x $999 + 7x $30) x 20m = $44b
    (3x $99 + 7x $30) x 160m = $81b

    If you even out the revenues, the $99 box would make roughly the same as the $999 display for just 4x the unit sales. They sell 10m per year now, to reach 80m takes 30% growth for 8 years.
    ireland wrote:
    I don't believe Jobs said this.

    It's easy to get into a frame of mind that everything he said at any moment in time was right or at least truthful but Ive has said in the past that he would have one opinion, be convinced otherwise and then say it was his idea. Steve also indicated Apple wasn't working on a tablet when he was interviewed at AllThingsD. They don't want to give away ideas about what they're working on.

    The phone business used to be a terrible business to be in because sellers were just pushing really cheaply made handsets. The big margin business came after the iPhone. TVs are low margins now because none of the displays are compelling enough to pay the high margins. Sony's Bravia used to be at one point but then people realised the quality simply wasn't better than the competition, partly because Sony outsourced manufacturing to Samsung.

    The TV business is a terrible business to be in and if Apple couldn't see a way to make a compelling product to sustain a higher margin then it would have been unlikely for them to make one. If they figured out a way, that would change. If they can monetize the users well enough, the box is better because it hits a larger audience and it's easier to sell the boxes.
  • Reply 68 of 91
    I don't understand why someone hearing Steve Jobs denying something is noteworthy, in any sense. When asked about a phone, he said no and was quite elaborate as to why not. When asked about a tablet, he said no and was also quite elaborate. It was misdirection ... why does anyone expect someone at Apple to be open about what they are or are not working on?
  • Reply 69 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,483member
    mstone wrote: »
    I've mentioned it before but I still think it would make sense for Apple to buy Elgato and incorporated the tuner into aTV. Perhaps an aTV could hook up to an HDTV or a Mac. The main issue with the current eyeTV is that many cable companies encrypt their HD content so if Apple were to buy it, they would still have to make deals with the cable companies. Having a real tuner does two things. One, they become the controlling UI with access to live channels and two, they become involved locally with the Emergency Alert System. If people come home from work and turn on the aTV as their primary access to local and streaming content that is basically controlling the living room. I really don't think the cables love the set top user interface they currently have and would embrace Apple's help in that area so long as they don't lose control of their content. Apple just needs to play nice, which sometimes proves difficult for them.

    IMHO putting a tuner in an Apple TV would be like adding a connection for horses to pull it to a Ferrari.
  • Reply 70 of 91
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,483member
    misa wrote: »
    I'll just point this out again as it bears repeating.

    All Apple devices, have a minimum lifespan of 7 years. The reason the iPhone is successful is because the technology at the time accelerated because of Apple changing the game. So for the last 10 years or so, mobile devices leapfrogged what we were getting before from the likes of Nokia and Blackberry. Apple ate Blackberry's lunch, Android ate all the feature phones lunches.

    To be able to do this with Television would require doing a little more than simply making another set top box. What has to be done is make it so that the iPhone or iPad device docks with the TV and turns the TV into a smart device. Not just simply replacing the LCD panel every 7 years.

    Think about it, what improvements have been made in LCD screens, vs LCD televisions. We went from simple cold cathode backlights to LED backlights, and lowered latency so that they suck less for gaming. Aside from that there has been no practical reason to upgrade a TV or Computer screen until the backlights all burn out. Even then, the most common defect in a LCD is the power inverter, and not the backlight. I have two "dead" monitors sitting beside my recycling bin, the first one's fails to power on and if it does, it has an analog VGA input only. The newer one beside it was made in China (by Proview) and the power supply fails to start. Even the old CRT monitors I had back in the day, the only one that actually died, went *BANG* and a puff of smoke as something on the power supply (Goldstar, now known as LG, and is one of two reasons I hate on LG despite this happening 20 years ago.) The television side has had no improvement whatsoever.

    The Television vendors keep trying to sell us new TV's and thought they found it in selling 3D televisions. What happened? Fizzled. Now they're doing 4K 3D. This will also fizzle. Apple has nothing to gain by trying to sell a TV, only monitors. What Apple can do is sell a Apple monitor with a "TV" Kit that adds a box that docks to it via thunderbolt that replaces the "stereo/surround receiver/analog inputs" box and plug the speakers into that. The box in peoples current home theaters is the largest, worst designed thing that nobody knows how to use, and is often replaced more often than the TV itself. Dock/Airplay the iPhone or iPad to it to then turn it into a smartTV or whatever.

    Thanks, interesting post.

    By the way you can add my 24" ACD that I used as a second monitor to the recycling list. It powers up works for fine then suddenly goes black. This happens on my nMP, Mac mini or MBP. Some days it works all day others ten minutes. Has to be powered off and disconnected for ten minutes or so, then works right away ... for a while. Local Apple dealer says best case $400 worst $700 to fix, $75 to tell me which.:\
  • Reply 71 of 91
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    What percentage of Apple's customer base access media from a TV tuner? I was a child (not even a teenager) the last time I tried using bunny ears to tune in a station over the airwaves. I think the only way for this to work is for Apple to find a way to work with cable and sat companies, which may not be dissimilar to Apple's CarPlay partnerships.

    Rabbit ears? Really?
    Good lol picking up Over the air digital broadcast w those dinosaur ears. Many channels not on cable and better available now.
  • Reply 72 of 91
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    Do any TVs even allow you to manually "disable" an input so they won't show up in the list or rotation? None that own allow that, and they all seem to switch as slowly as digital cable/sat boxes switch a channels.

    yes on a sony use the "skip function" in the setup menu listing all of the inputs. (the only one it seems that you can't skip is the "tv input"... (and on a sony set if you hit the channel up/down button it switchs to the OTA antenna /cable input ...

    same with the sharp sets (70 and 80 inch) ones...

    i am not sure about the samsung sets...
  • Reply 73 of 91
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    I again bring up the same point I always do: What has Apple done with the iMac that they have not done with the Mac mini?

     

    Forget some of the size considerations and hardware choices; they could be functionally the exact same machine if Apple wanted that.

     

    So what critical components of the Apple controlled experience are you missing by getting a Mac mini & Dell display vs. an iMac? Having owned both I know I can say quite succinctly: not much.

     

    (With iPhones & iPads the display is far more critical because of TOUCH, so we leave these out of this discussion of Apple's control over the "whole experience" because there is a whole other legitimate reason why they are completely different.)

     

    With the TV is will remain much the same. There is nothing Apple can't do with the little HDMI + connected box. Nothing left off the table because they don't control the building of the Display itself. So, they can afford to stay away from it and still deliver the experience they want....and well they should, as TV sets are horrible market and not one Apple should tread anywhere near.

  • Reply 74 of 91
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 345member
    inkling wrote: »
    Jobs was smart. HDTV's are not only commodities, there's nothing about them needs the Apple touch. Where Apple might shine is in a box that connects to them and provides the content. There, Apple can shine and leverage its other investments.

    Notice too that Apple hasn't payed much interest in computer displays in years. Nothing there either. Do what you do well. Leave the rest too others.

    This is so true but I really wish they would come out with a thunderbolt monitor update. Just the new iMac screen would be great. I want my monitor to scream apple, not hp, not dell, certainly do Samscum.
  • Reply 75 of 91
    My totally uniformed opinion is that apple is building a HDTV so unique that the turnover cycle and low margins won't matter.

    What? How about a non glasses needing 3D TV. Then a holographic version. Just a matter of time.

    And an apple robot. Wanna' bet?

    Bob
  • Reply 76 of 91
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    In all fairness I did state "With an estimate of…" so I'm open to any scientific information that would refute that estimate, including estimates that the universe is only about 6,000 years old. image

     

    Oh, I meant the contracting at all. The universe will suffer heat death, not collapse. :p

  • Reply 77 of 91
    haar wrote: »
    yes on a sony use the "skip function" in the setup menu listing all of the inputs. (the only one it seems that you can't skip is the "tv input"... (and on a sony set if you hit the channel up/down button it switchs to the OTA antenna /cable input ...

    same with the sharp sets (70 and 80 inch) ones...

    i am not sure about the samsung sets...

    Sure. The remote for my 1997 B&O lets you customise the inputs; you can have as many or as few as you wish.
  • Reply 78 of 91
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,754moderator
    pmz wrote: »
    So what critical components of the Apple controlled experience are you missing by getting a Mac mini & Dell display vs. an iMac? Having owned both I know I can say quite succinctly: not much.

    That's true but there are differences like you can't adjust the brightness of the monitor using the Apple keyboard. The display sharpness and output can't be properly calibrated for every display that it's possible to connect to the Mini. People won't always go for a high quality panel either, some will buy on price and end up with a cheap TN panel with poor viewing angles, poor brightness, backlight bleeding etc. Having the control with the iMac means everyone gets a good panel.

    They'd need to use a technology that was significantly better than what's available in most TVs. OLED has great quality:


    [VIDEO]


    but the design of the surrounds and base isn't too good. The Smart TV software is poor and Apple could also laminate the glass front on with their anti-glare coating to make the picture appear more like it's painted on.

    That panel is currently $6000, it started at $11,000 about 8 months ago, is 55" and just 1080p:

    http://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-55EA9800-Cinema-Curved/dp/B00E5U3YEK/

    It would need to be 4K, 40" or above, under $2k and they'd have a compelling option. It doesn't actually need the Apple TV inside it. Apple can fit the Apple TV into the TV's power plug so if an upgrade was required, you'd just upgrade the plug.

    A projector would free them from screen size limitations:


    [VIDEO]


    Although that incarnation is the size of a park bench, to me, that seems more like the Apple way to do things. It means the TV doesn't have to always take up the huge physical space in the room when it's turned off and one model would be suitable for any wall size. They'd just have to keep that base size under control. It might not have to be a fixed width though - it can be like a pole that extends and just has one laser gun at the end. The pole just deflects the light from the laser up onto the wall. They only need 3840 elements in the pole that each create a vertical line of 2160 pixels on the wall and as the pole is extended, these elements can spread further apart but the light dispersion adjusts the area of each projected pixel. The elements can be staggered along the length of the pole and the laser just adjusts a fraction to deal with each one at a time.
  • Reply 79 of 91
    richlorichlo Posts: 46member
    Jobs was also notorious for not be straight forward. He would say one thing one day and change his mind a couple days later.
    So only the minds at Apple know for sure what they are going to release or not.
  • Reply 80 of 91
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,153member
    I wonder if CarPlay is an indication of Apple moving more towards providing integration APIs for other manufacturers. Would be a great boon for iDevices if they could AirPlay content to any generic TV out of the box without the need for an aTV puck.

    The aTV would still be needed for standalone access to the iTunes Store and any apps.
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