Music is not television. Until Apple bites the bullet and provides Apple TV with a built-in streaming television package, the device will remain forever and always Apple’s lonely stepchild hobby. Why? How? It all has to do with the confluence of apps as channels, and Apple TV’s position as the #2 input on everyone’s TVs.
Must. Have. Channels.
Until the latest version of Apple TV, the device was mostly a lame attempt at setting up a streaming set top box whose address was always the #2 input on the TV. #1 is the cable TV company’s coaxial cable, tuning device, and DVR. Apple TV remained this strange but curious outlier with more promise than reality. Apple TV version 4 didn’t change that.
Apple needs to have a streaming TV service.
That means a basic cable TV-like skinny package of networks to encourage cord cutters. Why? For now, apps as channels just isn’t enough. Do the math. First, there are not enough apps to cover all the channels available from a typical cable TV package, especially local television stations. Second, those that are available often require, 1) a subscription to a cable TV service (so, what’s the point), or, 2) another monthly subscription fee. As to the latter, a dozen of those monthly subscription channels could easily equal a monthly cable TV subscription, so, again, what’s the point?
Apple needs to have a streaming TV service to call its own.
Apps are nice. I use a few and have tried others, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, CBS, Disney, and more. In many ways using apps is better than cable TV because there is no need for a DVR and the variety of shows can be compelling. In other ways– particularly in the breadth of channels available– Apple TV apps are anemic when compared to a cable TV package.
That’s where Apple fails with Apple TV. There is no incentive to cut the cable TV cord without jumping through a half dozen hoops, workarounds, and other issues to make it work. Let’s face it. 300 channels for a monthly fee is a good deal. 100 channels for less is a good deal. Why doesn’t Apple help us cut the cable TV cord with a basic cable TV package– major networks, a few cable TV networks, ESPN, three or four cable TV news channels– a move which would allow us to move Apple TV from the #2 television input position to #1; a move which also means we would use Apple TV more and use apps as channels even more.
If Apple does not create a streaming television subscription service to compete with cable TV then Apple TV forever and always remains a stepchild hobby with more potential than real value.