misa wrote: »
The problem with the Apple TV is largely that when Apple called it a Hobby, and the Cable Co's were so deeply married to their content that trying to innovate in this area was reduced to "rentals", which isn't any improvement at all.
But then all the third parties started stepping all over themselves to try and beat Apple to the punch and produced garbage like the Chromecast or nVidia Shield , and completely-useless SmartTV's based on Android and innovated exactly nothing. This alienated consumers with junk that didn't work. There is no point to a Chromecast or nVidia shield, just like there is no point to a steambox when all the games are on Windows. A "tiny box" that requires all content to be served from some other point is a dead business model. Nobody needs these things. The only innovators in this area was Nintendo, who put Netflix on both their 3DS and Wii/WiiU without trying to take revenue from Netflix beyond whatever it costs to put it on the app store. You can take the 3DS or Wii U tablet somewhere else in the room and put on headphones and continue to watch Netflix while someone else wants to watch TV.
But all the other Netflix "hardware" has not achieved that at all. Leaving alone the fact that HULU and AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO are not available outside the US. All these SmartTV devices get used for is playing pirated video content, because there is no legitimate way to play legitimate content except on the Apple device. The Apple device however doesn't let you play your pirated content. The Chromecast does.
Like this is how things need to be continuously framed. The success of Android devices has nothing to do with it being Linux-based or being cheaper, their success is only because they facilitate piracy so easily, and is often even encouraged by the OEM's and people selling them. Remember when all those Chinese DVD players came out, and they were popular because you could software-hack them to play any region? Same with Korean Blueray players. They will play everything. Japanese BD/DVD players? Nope. Japanese SmartTV's Nope, Korean SmartTV? Yes.
At the end of the day, if the device doesn't do what the user wants it to do, it's a bad device. If people want to play pirated content, they're not going to buy a device that doesn't let them. So Apple needs to allow the devices to play any arbitrary video file, not just videos from Apple's store, much like playing any arbitrary "mp3" file on the iPod.
Fourth place with decent numbers for a hobby product that receives zero advertising/promotion budget isn't too bad. Not too bad for not even trying.
I think this makes sense. Apple hasn't released a new model in 3 years, and unlike Amazon, Google and Roku hasn't been giving it any advertising space. And at present ATV is weaker in comparison to what else is on the market, particularly in terms of a lack of app store and well...anything. I suppose a lot of people don't even know Apple has its own TV box.
This could all change in September, tho. And I hope we see something great.
I find myself using my ATVs less and less each day. It has become more convenient to use the Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon apps on my TVs and Blu-Ray players. The recent addition of Apple Music (which isn't yet on the ATV) and the seemingly always-breaking Home Sharing feature have discouraged me from streaming my library through them. While the ATV's streamlined, generally-consistent interfaces are fast enough and easy to navigate, once the content starts playing there's no difference. Well, actually there is... To avoid exceeding my ISP's monthly allowance, I have my Netflix quality set to "medium". The ATV will not play Dolby Digital 5.1 audio unless Netflix quality is set to "high". All my other devices play DD 5.1 just fine at all Netflix quality settings.
What a boring product segment? Smart TVs are all equipped with this stuff built in. I bought an Apple TV for my non-Smart, so I could access Netflix and HBO. I used to use my Blu-ray player, and that was fine.
I love the Apple TV for the Airplay. It's great when you can throw a FB video up on the TV to show the wifey. Or, take the unit to work to show a presentation. Who streams music from their TV? Any good sound system will have BT or wifi and you can stream from your phone. Also, gaming is weird. So comparing products for "available" features is lame. Remember when the Galaxy S had a heart rate monitor on the back? Why?
Until the latest one is released and that will change very quickly.
I have a Roamio OTA that has a reasonably fast interface for streaming services, although it's still slower than a years-old ATV. However, the interface speed of my three year-old TiVo Premiers is a frustratingly slow experience that borders on unusable. I don't even bother. I can boot up the ATV, switch the receiver to the appropriate input, open the Netflix app, find a video, and start watching it faster than the Netflix app will load on the TiVo Premier.
First instance I see of the "new" management waiting too long for perfection before pulling the trigger.
Apple had the opportunity - as recent as a year ago - to move AppleTV to a new position of strength by doing all they are capable of doing next month: hotter processor, 4K capability, app store, moving more individual content providers onto the menu.
Instead, rumors say they will drag their feet on 4K - even though competitors are already advertising capability. And please don't waste time on the sophistry of "content not ready". That hasn't slowed Netflix or Amazon. We're probably getting a hot A8 instead of A9. And Apple's Cloud data storage capacity isn't keeping up with competition either - if we're to believe what "sources with knowledge of the matter" have to say.
Hate to see Apple in the position of playing catch up instead of leader of the pack.
Sales are slipping because the current AppleTV stinks. If I want to find a specific movie or show, I must separately search EVERY channel. Steve would not be pleased.
Best Post Ever. Absolutely love it.
One (joking) correction at the very end:
At least two USB-C ports.
Thanks for the great post. Have a great weekend.
Apple is rarely a leader in individual specs or point features for a product area - not sure where you got that idea. Apple usually makes the whole product + ecosystem the best / most usable / enjoyable. They were not the first with 1080p streaming, nor did they have the most content sources, but when the Apple TV (Gens 2 and 3) were first out, Apple was the leader of the (albeit very small) pack for TV streaming STBs. Only recently has Roku/Amazon/Google surpassed it in annual sales (looking only at US data in this case, and we don't even know the quality of said data).
There is currently no 4K streaming STB (at least from any of the major sources) on the market today. There is a rumour that Roku 4 will have it, but don't believe the company has confirmed that. So Apple is hardly late to the party.
4K is a nice to have, but by no means a critical feature, at this point. The UHD TV's are only starting to move in some sense of volume, and a 4K picture is really only noticeably better than 1080p on a screen greater than 50" (assuming watching from a typical seating location). There are a few content services available, but the content selection is still limited (check out http://4k.com/movies/ ). The bandwidth required for 4K (assuming it hasn't been so compressed the picture is actually worse than well encoded 1080p) takes 10Mbps and up per stream (on the latest H.265 codec). What this all means is that the "target market" for 4K streaming is limited - it will only be a small share of target Apple TV purchasers. Maybe Apple will surprise with it, but I wouldn't be surprised for this to wait until the end user market gets larger.
Addressing more use cases with a TV App Store (expanding uses to casual gaming, home kit apps, and more TV streaming) is far more important.
Hobby my ass. This is nothing but typical Apple benign neglect.
Other than sharing the the odd AirPlay video from someone's iPhone/iPad, anymore we only use our Apple TVs for Netflix and MLB.tv. If Roku would ever pull their collective heads out and get a decent Netflix interface on their box (and TBH Apple's isn't much better) we'd switch in a heartbeat.
4K is a nice to have, but by no means a critical feature, at this point. The UHD TV's are only starting to move in some sense of volume
Yeah, let’s wait to release the content until we have screens to display it on.
*two months later*
BREAKING: 2160p displays now discontinued as no one is buying them. “There’s no content available, so there’s no reason for the extra expense,” say consumers.
I was absolutely raked over the coals by some members here for suggesting the new Apple TV should support 4k content because "no one owns 4k tvs" and "only X small % of Americans have sufficient internet to stream it"
thrang wrote: »
Clearly, Apple has not cared at all about Apple TV sales for some time...they have done no promotion or advertising of the product at all (or of any memorable significance), the interface has seen no meaningful change, nor has the hardware.
So either they really don't care about the segment (and thus the sales or market share numbers), or they will release something fairly significant (and likely change those numbers).
I'm sure Apple really wants to make a splash in this space, as it may garner attention as a more revolutionary release than all the evolutionary stuff that has been coming out of the company for some time (revised iPhones, revised iPads, revised MacBooks, revised software, etc.) Nothing wrong with making things better, but, except for the Watch which will be a slow burn adoption, they need to gain some traction in a new space (and ATV has been forgotten so long, it almost new again)
Perhaps the next Apple TV will be really more new from the ground up than just a revision.
And undoubtedly, the delays are likely much more about licensing and fees than technology.
I just think the problem is geometrically more complex than the music industry requirements and iTunes was originally, with so many more networks at national, regional, and local levels, live broadcasts, sports, various existing rights and exclusivity contracts, talent contracts that may or may not include additional residuals, or have restrictions, for new distribution models, etc.
I remember watching House, I think on Netflix, and was perplexed how the music, including the opening theme, was different than the network broadcast of the series. Apparently, the producers could not think/have the rights with Massive Attack (theme) and other artist simply for a streaming model, and were unable to renegotiate. So generic music was layered in almost everywhere.
Apple could easily nail a unified interface, and deliver a stellar experience, but I really believe its the rights and money allocation that's really tough to overcome (especially with powerful cable companies having a vested interest in not wanting this to happen)
More than likely, it will be a small subset of what we want, those companies who share a bit of Apple's visions of what the future of content distribution might be like. Then others come along...