It’s been said that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Maybe that’s an indictment against humanity. Maybe “everything is a remix” for a reason. Our TV screens have higher resolution, don’t weigh as much, and there are 300 channels, but it’s still difficult to find something good to watch.
A sizable chunk of Americana gets their daily television fix the old fashioned way. On cable TV. Sure, there’s over-the-air digital broadcasts from local TV stations. There’s YouTube and Netflix and their ilk. But what has changed? 24-hour news channels are little news and mostly talk about fake news or non-news. TV shows and movies make up the rest of the fare, yet the latest trend is an internet version of cable TV from 1989, led by Apple TV.
I Finally Cracked It
Whatever it is that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs cracked, he hasn’t told anyone; otherwise, wouldn’t they have said something. To someone? Somewhere? Jobs:
I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.
Whatever it is Jobs cracked, it wasn’t Apple TV in the 21st century. Even the latest, Apple TV, 4th generation, is a convoluted navigational mess that resembles a Fisher Price version of cable TV from 1989 with giant, colorful app icons, and an arcane method to go from one app channel to another.
Whatever Steve Jobs cracked it would seem he took it to the grave.
Apple. Not. Alone.
I cannot be dismissive of Apple’s television efforts and Apple TV in general, without pointing to the obvious. Competitors abound and stream video has become the norm, but most of the packages that cable TV cord cutters point to as the next great thing are more something from last century. A package of 20 or 30– sometimes a few more– television networks for a set monthly fee that even resembles cable TV circa 1989.
AT&T’s new DirecTV Now gives you a bunch of network television channels for $35 a month. Just like 1989. To be fair, the quality is higher, and the delivery methodology has changed, but what you watch is a package of TV show and movie channels for a monthly fee. Hulu, CBS, Sling, Play Station VUE, and many others have similar fare. A few dozen TV channels, mostly the same as available on cable TV, for a few dozen dollars a month.
KillTheCableBill has a lengthy matrix of channels and prices and streaming services, but you’re likely to think of it as a list from the local cable TV company, circa 1989.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
What we want and what we get are two different things. We want video on-demand. All of it. TV shows. Live TV. Sports and news. Movies. All on demand, and ala carte would be nice touch. What we get in the 21st century remains merely a higher quality version of what we got back in 1989 from the cable TV company– except, navigation is more complex, and thanks to a monthly fee for video, and the monthly fee for internet connections, we’re pay more.
That’s not what I expected from Apple TV, but that’s what we’ve got.