Ever since Elgato introduced the EyeTV a few years ago, first as a USB TV recorder, later as a Firewire device, now with many TV recording devices and superb software, we’ve expected Apple to do the same.
They won’t. Apple won’t bother to place a TV recorder like EyeTV in the Apple iTV streaming media device. Why not?
That’s a good question. Mac users have been demanding, requesting, begging, for such a device for years.
Many of today’s Windows PCs come with a TV recording device built-in, and Microsoft’s Windows Media Center controls the PC as if it were a digital video recorder.
Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want the Mac to become a media center and record everything from cable, digital, or terrestrial TV, ala TiVo?
Yes, we do, and no, it won’t happen. Not from Apple. At least, not anytime soon. Why not?
The money trail. If you want an idea of what Apple will do and how it will do it, follow the money trail. Where the money is, or will be, Apple will go, or get there.
For example, there’s the iPod. What a great little product back in 2001 and 2002. Add it to iTunes and Mac, then Windows users, had a superb way to record and store and go with their music.
The money trail was wrapped up in the iPod itself. iTunes was free to all Mac and Windows users, but was and is merely a window. A window to the money trail of iPods and music.
The natural extension of iTunes was the then iTunes Music Store. First music. It helped to sell iPods, but wasn’t the primary reason for buying an iPod, as most of us have our own CDs to burn via iTunes.
But the iTunes Store, as it’s now called, is an extension of the money trail. That’s the trail Apple follows.
Logically, the iTunes Store started selling TV shows, then music—Mac and Windows. iPods were upgraded to handle photos, videos, and now games.
Games? Yet another extension of the money trail.
What about digital TV recording software such as Elgato’s wonderful EyeTV? Nope. Apple won’t go there. Why? There’s no money. The money is more important and digital TV recording software won’t help sell anything.
Apple’s iTV hasn’t even been named or made available yet, and pundits and prognosticators are predicting a TiVo-like device, complete with recording capability.
I don’t think so. At least, not yet. EyeTV is already a superb product and works similar to TiVo. Plug in your cable TV, find a TV show, click to record, click again to play or export for an iPod.
It’s TV on your Mac and iTV, whatever it’s called, and whenever it shows up, is likely to stream even EyeTV recorded TV shows from your Mac to a TV.
TiVo is not a product that enjoys a following among TV content producers, movies studios, even cable TV operations. TiVo competes with cable’s own PVR or DVRs. Content producers don’t get any money from such recordings or time shifting, and neither will Apple.
What Apple wants is to change the paradigm, and so far, they might be succeeding. iTunes Store is the Number One music download service, and the Number One TV show download service, and probably Number One in movies, too.
See? That’s a money trail. Apple wants to sell us a device that makes it easier to use said media downloads, music, TV shows, movies (as well as our own creations, movies and photos) on a TV. We pay money.
To keep the content producers happy, Apple also wants us to buy such content—music, TV shows, movies—from Apple. TiVo is not part of that money trail.
Apple is changing the paradigm of how we handle media and making us pay for it, one download at a time.
Will Apple ever provide a TiVo-like application, hardware and software, for Mac and Windows users? Perhaps, but long after they’ve changed our watching and media collection habits, and long after we’ve gone down the money trail a few more miles.
Don’t look for anything except streaming media capability and storage for Apple’s iTV device (whatever the name becomes). We’ve already proven that there’s money in downloading and storing and managing and that’s where Apple will go.
What do you think? As much as you may want a digital video recording device in iTV, will Apple provide it? What other capabilities is Apple likely to include?