I remember when my parents were first connected to cable TV. That event brought a few dozen channels into the home with improved video, no static pictures, no antenna. It was hooked up on a Friday afternoon. That night we watched reruns of the Dukes of Hazzards. Dozens of channels. Nothing good to watch. How is Apple TV in 2017 different?
Thousands Of Channels
Since YouTube is available on Apple TV I could just as easily change the title and subhead to read Millions of channels and nothing to watch. Newton Minnow was correct. Let’s call it like it is. Television is a vast wasteland with even more waste than ever. But the quality is better.
When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
This week Amazon’s Prime Video applications launched on Apple TV; at least, on the third and most recent versions of Apple TV. Add YouTube and Netflix and any of the few cable TV-like streaming apps to the mix and you’ll see Apple TV, and especially Apple TV 4K, as a formidable device and platform. Other than a hefty price tag, still cumbersome navigation, and a drop dead clumsy remote, what’s not to like?
Thousands of channels and nothing good is on. But oh that 4K HDR video quality is to die for. If you don’t watch modern streaming television for the content, watch it for the video quality.
Amazon’s Prime Video app integrates with Siri on Apple’s remote so you can search for specific content as opposed to scrolling and scrolling until the cows come home. Add Prime, Netflix, YouTube to the newly updated ESPN and NBA apps, stick in Sling TV for traditional cable TV fare, and you’re good to go (except for local TV channels) and almost ready to cut the cord.
Alright, what’s my beef about ‘Nothing To Watch?‘ Add up the content– Netflix, YouTube, Sling TV, iTunes, Prime Video, and many network channels and you get more options than humanity really needs.
What’s the problem?
Minnow’s vast wasteland commentary was issued in 1961 as head of the Federal Communications Commission. Think about that era. TV was in its infancy. Quality was crummy relative to today’s higher definition 4K and HDR televisions and content. He loved the news of his era but worried about how it portrayed issues of his day.
Too much deals with covering controversy, crimes, fires, and not enough with the country’s great issues
What would Minnow think of cable TV news, circa 2017?
We’ve gotten to the point where everybody’s got a right and nobody’s got a responsibility.
What about effects of all that content on society?
Children will watch anything, and when a broadcaster uses crime and violence and other shoddy devices to monopolize a child’s attention, it’s worse than taking candy from a baby. It is taking precious time from the process of growing up.
What bout the content itself?
We need imagination in programming, not sterility; creativity, not imitation; experimentation, not conformity; excellence, not mediocrity. Television is filled with creative, imaginative people. You must strive to set them free.
Remember, Minnow headed the F.C.C. back in the 1960s. Today, the internet has become the information viewing platform of most of humanity. Billions of videos and nothing is on.