I was reading a post today that I saw float by on my iPhone on Google+. Mike Elgan writes about how Apple is going to kill cable TV. I agree that if apple turns its eyes to fully try to solve the cable TV problem, it will not be the AppleTV of yore. That device (an owner of a 160GB version, I am) was a sharing device. It took pictures and movies that you made, and tried to deliver them up in the place where collective viewing was done. It allowed you to all listen to the same music, watch the same trailers in 5.1 6.1 9.1 or whatever your setup. It was awesome and simultaneously clunky. you could watch or listen to your favorite podcasts…For an apple product it was half-baked.
Because it was half-baked and hackable, all kinds of garage shop operations popped up with ways for you to crack the AppleTV and add Boxee or XBMC or whatever. They all crash under normal use.
Then Apple dumped us early adopters and created the little hockey puck Apple TV. That removed the storage and made it an Airport Express for your TV. With cable hooked up to the TV, and the Apple TV next to it, I’d flip back and forth…but there was one thing that kills the AppleTV that broadcast TV gives you.
What do I mean? I mean I can turn on CNN or FoxNews or the local TV station and get the news RIGHT NOW. The earlier AppleTV was one thing if nothing else, it was a replacement for your DVR, not for TV. Yes yes I know, people record stuff for later use, even the news. But when world events happen, TV is the IMMEDIATE portal. People do not crowd around a website (even if you put it up on your 60″ 1080P TV. People crowd around the TV when news is happening.
Now mind you, the AppleTV (both gen1 and gen2) does allow for streaming YouTube and internet Radio stations…But the truth is, until Apple can solve the immediacy problem, Cable TV (CNN HLN CNBC) will always be able to drag you back in.
Now mind you, many websites now have streaming video. CNN and WSJ online come to mind at first. Even our local TV stations have that. However, to get to the streaming video, you have to go to their web page.
So the real innovation here is to solve the immediacy problem, NOT to create an apple branded DVR that happens to be built into a 55″ TV. That’d be lame.
No what apple would need to do to kill cable would be to sign agreements with the BBC, CNN, FoxNews, CNBC, ESPN et cetera, and local outlets to provide immediate HD streaming content subscribe-able on the iTunes store. Yes if you need to, you can mark a broadcast for later viewing, but if you really want to kill cable, you have to kill Live TV, not HBO…at this point, Netflix has already solved that problem. Kill Live TV over Cable.
Immediacy also extends to shared gaming. these days when you get on your 360 or Wii, you can be playing and interacting with people all over the world. Immediately. and you are creating your own News (through your characters). Twitter/Facebook and Google+ already take advantage of this giving you an almost immediate stream of what is happening now to your contacts and friends, and the current broadcast news outlets use them as a secondary point of contact (like Anderson Cooper tweeting while talking).
For apple to really kill cable TV, it doesn’t just need to be itunesy-netflix built into a TV, it needs to be live and immediate…