Call me a student of the television generation. I still remember the first TV that graced our home way back in the day. Black and white. Two channels during the day, and a few more fuzzy ones in the evening. Today’s television sets are vastly superior to those of yesteryear, but often cost much less. TV programming has changed in a few critical ways.
First, the sheer volume of content dwarfs the variety available for early generation watchers. Second, the type of programs has changed, too– more violence, more news, more information– more of everything. 500 channels and nothing is on.
Yes, TV just ain’t what it used to be. Unfortunately, Apple’s new Apple TV device and matching service is not likely to be what we TV viewers want, despite a bunch of useful, well integrated features; including home security, a Siri interface, FaceTime and streaming on-demand.
It’s that latter feature that is most wanted by video watchers these days. YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other streaming services have the right idea. A huge schedule of entertaining and informative videos, available for a subscription fee, and streaming on demand.
Isn’t that what we want?
Here’s the problem. Television is changing and there’s more content and viewing options than ever. What most of us want is all of the available content– movies, current TV shows, re-run TV shows, news and sports– on demand. I don’t mind paying a monthly subscription fee but I want everything available, all the time, on whatever media device I own– TV, Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad. Watch? Why not?
Apple might have the cash on hand to put a dent in the television industry universe, but the whole process of bringing the future– kicking and screaming– to the present is much like herding cats. An exercise in futility. Content producers– whether TV, YouTube, movies, news or sports– all own slices of a very lucrative pie, and there is little Apple can do to change the status quo, new generation of Apple TV notwithstanding.
Instead of revolution, Apple TV will be an iteration, a streaming device that acts as a gatekeeper for content, matched with Apple’s curated sense of content management; attractive, affordable but not all inclusive and certainly not sufficient to incite the great unwashed masses to cut the cable TV cord.
The revolution would be a combination device platform and streaming service which made instantly available all the world’s content, on demand, all the time, all devices, anywhere. I’d pay extra for that.