Internet TV is coming and what it promises to be is what we least expect or want. The only two questions are, ‘When will internet TV get here?’ And, ‘Who will bring the version we want the most?’ Is Apple on the list as a player?
Players Gonna Play, Play, Play
The problems with television today are numerous and age old. Cable TV dominates because it can bring hundreds of channels in high definition for a monthly price.
That’s the good and that’s about all that’s good. Cable TV service gets expensive quickly, packages are bundled with shows or networks we never view but are paying for anyway.
Then there’s the service. Or, rather, the lack of service. Cable TV service often ranks just above used car salesmen and members of congress on the list of what we love to hate to deal with. The internet promises to change that by giving us what we want. Everything on demand all the time from a single source. That, as the proverb says, is easier said than done.
Still, the trend is unmistakable and irreversible. TV as we know it is changing and about to change forever. Think of the impact of YouTube, Netflix, and Apple TV has already had on viewing habits. Recent rules from the FCC in the U.S. mean that Apple could become a competitor to cable TV companies by delivering TV networks and shows over the internet.
What does Apple need to add ‘cable TV’ to the product line?
Agreements with networks and content providers; both television and movies. A number of large server farms to store and deliver video content. Bandwidth. Lots of bandwidth. A box to bring content to the TV screen. And customers. Apple may have as many as 100-million customers in the U.S. alone, so attracting a loyal customer base may be the easiest component for Apple.
Here’s the problem. The entire cable television industry is a Balkanized mess; a melange of competing but coexisting financial interests where many feed at the trough of monthly payments for cable TV service. Bringing disruptive change to that decades old industry is no mean feat. But guess who has a successful track record of disrupting staid old technology and content industries?
So far, the industry hasn’t been too keen on letting Apple line up at the trough of content development and distribution, but Apple has enough money to become a major player overnight, thanks in part to recent FCC decisions on what constitutes a provider and how neutral the bandwidth players have to play.
TV on the internet is coming, and it may not completely resemble the television we know and love but hate paying for. The question is, ‘Will Apple be the one to bring it into the 21st century?‘