Everyone, including Gene Munster’s mother, wants Apple to make a television, but it should be obvious the money numbers are not there for Apple to disrupt the Balkanized TV industry with expensive hardware. Besides, TV is being disrupted without much effort from Apple.
300,000 Channels, Nothing’s On
Way back in the day we watched television without cable by using a technology from a few centuries ago. Over the air. Wireless. As in a broadcast signal without wires. It’s true. Look it up.
The number of TV stations, the quality of signals, and the amount of content was terribly limited but along came the cable TV industry to change all that.
Thanks to the proliferation of cable TV and satellite dishes, for a few decades we’ve had 300 channels, and just like the 1960s, there’s still not much worth watching.
Despite the seemingly anemic efforts of Apple, Google, Amazon, Roku, and others to remake the TV industry into something they control, the real change is taking place despite their efforts. TV viewing is fragmented beyond belief.
Thanks to streaming media, TV viewers (those sitting in front of a television that may or may not be tuned into standard network TV fare) are watching more than ever– just not always from a television, and not traditional TV. Streaming media works just fine on the TV thanks to Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and others, but just as well over Wi-Fi to iPhone, iPad, and Mac screens (including Android devices and Windows PCs).
Back in the day, before VHS or Betamax VCRs, before DVRs, households had to gather around a TV to watch one of a handful of channels. Today, viewing is personal. Anyone can watch almost anything at any time on any device, thanks to streaming media.
It’s like 300,000 channels, but nothing’s on. And nothing’s changed. Other than choice (and some quality). YouTube has tens of millions of videos, and many thousands of channels, all of which can be viewed on TV, but are more often than not viewed on the screens of mobile devices.
This disrupting change is not being controlled by Apple, Google, Amazon or anyone, though each is a player with some influence. It’s similar to what we once called TV watching, but with the videos being streamed to multiple devices, of which the television set is merely one method.
Is that not a disruption of epic proportions?
Why would Apple want to build a television set when television is in the middle of dramatic upheaval?
Unless… unless Apple has found a better way to channel all those viewing channels– all those disparate video sources– into a single location that also use multiple devices. How? I don’t know. But there’s a reason that there’s no money in building TV sets. We’re consuming video on mobile devices more each day.