back to article Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

Some may fondly remember the era that bought us The Clangers, Fawlty Towers and The Sweeney. But not Apple boss Tim Cook, who reckons the goggle box is stuck in a time warp so intense that watching it is like being sucked back back into the 1970s. In an interview with American talk show host Charlie Rose, Cook dropped a …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    It is crap.

    However, we don't need Apple's geniuses adding to the crappiness. Hands off Cupertino.

    1. JeffyPoooh

      "The interface is terrible."

      My Satellite TV PVR's interface is almost beyond reproach. Whoever designed it is actually fussier and has better attention to detail than me. I'm pretty intolerant of bad design, but when I use my PVR it it scary-good. The only TV-itself GUI operation is Power On/Off. Period.

      TV is now a PVR. That's modern.

      It's HD. That's modern.

      It has a 30s Skip button so that commercials of no interest simply fly past.

      Annoying ads floating over the content are still relatively rare.

      Unskippable ads do not exist. No 5s minimum ad view.

      Don't have to manually adjust back to HD all the time.

      I pay $100+ a month for TV service, and it's still hanging in there as worthwhile. Just. Plenty of unique content that is not reliably and simply available on the 'net.

      Internet is way better. But it's takes some manual adjustments to get the ads under control.

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: "The interface is terrible."

        $100 a month, that is huge. In the UK you would have to pay for a serious amount of sport and movie channels for that.

        I feel reckless paying £6 (<$10) for Netflix and I use it all the time (no ads, no skipping required).

        Freeview (obviously free) has a large choice provided you don't need to see the latest US show at transmission time. And the BBC still doesn't have ads.

        Even paying for a cable package at the lower end would see change from $20 (if you are buying broadband too anyway).

        Still, it seems that it is the same for mobile phone packages etc. in the US. We here in the UK are not fleeced for everything it seems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "The interface is terrible."

          "And the BBC still doesn't have ads."

          Yes it does, it just happens that they are all for their own programmes. And they are interminable.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The interface is terrible."

            1: Try watching ITV.

            2: Try watching less TV

            3: goto 2.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Silly-high prices

          "$100 a month, that is huge. In the UK you would have to pay for a serious amount of sport and movie channels for that."

          You're right - yet I pay $127 for internet and 2nd-option level cable TV service, without ANY sport or movie channels. $127/month for basic-rate 10/mbps cable and basic TV plus 1 extra package for a few "bonus" channels such as SciFy (now junk), etc.

          Isn't that generous of them?

        3. big_D Silver badge

          Re: "The interface is terrible."

          Here in Germany it is freeview satellite for me. There is the TV licence, but that is about the same as the UK. I also have Amazon Prime, which I got for Kindle library and free next day delivery, but it now includes video, I think I've watched about 4 films so far.

          I wouldn't pay 10€ a month for TV, let alone 100€... The TV licence doesn't count, you have yo pay that, whether you have a TV or an internet connected device capable of streaming video.

          As to $127 for cable and Internet, I pay around $40 for Internet and telephone 35mbps down12 up and unlimited phone calls. I could pay an extra $10 a month for 50mbps, but I don't usually use the full bandwidth of the 35mbps, so I don't bother., oh, and I just remembered my Internet provider has a streaming TV service included in the package, but I used it once out of curiosity.

      2. Fluffy Bunny

        Re: "The interface is terrible."

        You misunderstand the problem. The problem is that people are making money selling TVs and not giving crApple money.

    2. Tom 35

      People will not line up to buy a new TV every 2 years, and we can't take a 30% cut of all the content.

      How terrible.

      The cable companies laugh and use rude hand gestures when we tell them they have to pay us money for every Apple TV connected to their service.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        They won't buy a new screen every 2 years but they might buy a new tuner.

        What cut does your cable / satellite provider take when passing the money to the TV channels? Apple will likely replace that, and you can pick the channels you want.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Clearly you are happy with walkman vs iPod, Nokia candy bar vs iPhone and clunky laptop cum tablet vs iPad.

  2. eSeM

    Funny coming from someone that thinks that a 4:3 screen ratio is still still acceptable in the 21st century.

    1. Steve Todd

      It's a damned site better than 16:9 for reading, especially in portrait orientation. The only reason that most laptops have gone that way is they can get cheap 16:9 screens, but even 16:10 is better for reading.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge


        Macs are 16:10 - as is my older Dell laptop. The MS Surface 3 is 3:2. The vast majority of other current laptops are 16:9, unfortunately.

        Newsflash: Macs and Macbooks will drive monitors at their native aspect ratio just like other personal computers do .

        1. Darryl

          iPads are 4:3

      2. Vector

        "It's a damned site better than 16:9 for reading..."

        Really? Because the standard size for a paperback (178mm x 110mm) is a lot closer to 16:9 than 4:3.

        1. Steve Todd


          As you move up the scale from cheap paperbacks books get progressively more square.

          Octavo: 3:2

          Quarto: 4:3 (slightly over)

          Folio: 5:4

          Are you trying to convince us that paperback is the ideal reading size and no one should bother with hardback books?

          1. Vector

            Re: @Vector

            "Are you trying to convince us that paperback is the ideal reading size..."

            No, but I am pointing out that the most common size for modern reading material is much closer to 16:9 than 4:3, so I don't buy the whole "4:3 is so much better for reading" argument anymore than the "you'd have to sand down your fingers to use a 7 inch tablet" pitch or any of the other justifications that come out of Cupertino.

            Besides, I don't know if you've noticed, but iPhones have been 16:9 for a while now...

    2. Frank Bough


      4:3 is just as superior in the 21st century as it was in the 20th

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Try searching on an ATV

    good luck.... that interface with the panels and lower case letters, upper case letters, what a PITA if you're searching for something more than 3 letters... space button at the bottom, delete and clear also way at the bottom? But with a 3 button remote, I guess the options are limited...

    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

      Re: Try searching on an ATV

      If you have an Apple TV the chances are you have another Apple device.

      If you do then the chances are that the other device can run the Apple Remote app.

      If it can then you type using the keyboard in the app.


      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Try searching on an ATV

        Yep, just use an iPad/iPhone. This even works for searching on Netflix and YouTube on a PlayStation3, let alone an AppleTV.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Try searching on an ATV

        > If it can then you type using the keyboard in the app.

        Not exactly an improvement.

      3. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Try searching on an ATV

        Yes, but the iPad stays upstairs, children and such.... plus it's provided by my employer for training purposes.

    2. Chas

      Re: Try searching on an ATV

      You do realise that you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with it?


    3. Chad H.

      Re: Try searching on an ATV

      I never really found it any more of a hassle than on a console... or TV.

      And cutting out all of those useless buttons that make remotes look more complicated than the starship enterprise was well overdue.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Try searching on an ATV

        > And cutting out all of those useless buttons that make remotes look more complicated than the starship enterprise was well overdue.

        Except then you have to "chord" those few remaining buttons just to emulate the basic stuff you left off of a real one.

  4. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Why this fascination on the panel? Selling panels is a mugs game, people tend not to regularly upgrade their panel, people tend not to make impulse panel buys.

    If Apple do make a play, it will be if they can get media exclusives/cheap content/pay TV for Apple TV and make a concerted UI, interface and apps push.

    Yep, still looking quite unlikely that the TV/film media will willingly throw themselves on the fire.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge


      Apple can get a large proportion of buyers to upgrade to a new version every year or so simply by adding some trivial new features.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point if the content providers don't care?

    20 years ago the interactive TV we were developing had mark-up which could be embedded by the content provider or the series producers to increase revenue.

    Our demo had a button you could press to reveal web links to items in the TV show you were watchin. The clothes that the characters were wearing in the episodes, the cars they were driving, watches etc. Links to fan websites.

    It was the ultimate goal for product placement advertising.

    All the content providers said they couldn't be bothered creating the markup for each episode and would rather just make their revenue using traditional advertising.

    Go figure.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Re: What's the point if the content providers don't care?

      "20 years ago the interactive TV we were developing had mark-up which could be embedded by the content provider or the series producers to increase revenue.

      Our demo had a button you could press to reveal web links to items in the TV show you were watchin. The clothes that the characters were wearing in the episodes, the cars they were driving, watches etc. Links to fan websites.

      It was the ultimate goal for product placement advertising..."

      With all respect, that sounds like many folks' idea of Hell.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He looks old enough to have been there

    In which case you have to wonder why he thinks that huge flat screens, remote controls, PVRs, on screen programme guides, loads of channels, gaming and internet connectivity (of sorts), HD quality, surround sound, DVD and VoD interfaces, screen mirroring off other devices etc are all so 1971?

    I was there, and telly was pants in the 1970s. In technical terms, including the interface, television is unbelievably better than those dark days. I say Tim Cook is a berk, and the one thing that is the same as 1971 is the paucity of good content, and that's not going to be solved by his company's (prospective) over-priced but shiney tat.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: He looks old enough to have been there

      "and telly was pants in the 1970s"

      I'm quite shocked. I'd have thought the minimalist TVs of the 70's with just a few controls was an Apple ideal.

  7. simmondp

    Sheep of the world, flock to your Apple store

    Based on the iPhone 6 launch, it will be a 4:3 format service with 500 lines and only 4 channels available, but people will still be queueing around the block to but it.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Sheep of the world, flock to your Apple store

      So you mean quality television like there was in the UK before Channel 5 came along? Sign me up.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Sheep of the world, flock to your Apple store

      TV in proper 4:3 instead of this widescreen crap? I'd be tempted...

  8. Robert E A Harvey

    wrong end of stick

    The biggest problem with TV is not the user interface. It is what the user interface brings forth.

  9. admiraljkb

    "... The interface is terrible. I mean, it’s awful!”

    Its OK Mr Cook. Its just a standard point and click interface.... :)

    Since "TV" is now much of the time Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, AppleTV and others, then combined with all the different "cable boxes" for those who still have cable, or TV tuner itself for those with an antenna, and what you have is a metric crapton of completely different interfaces. I myself undergo a little UI shock/adjustment all the time switching back and forth between different providers, with the "cable boxes" being the WORST for actually finding something to watch (and one of the reasons I dropped cable). Inconsistency reigns currently...

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Re: "... The interface is terrible. I mean, it’s awful!”

      I don't think it's just the providers.

      My TV has a network interface and will connect to Netflix, so does my streaming box, my games console and my cable box and each one of them has a different interface for the same service.

      If one provider can't even manage to standardize, there's no chance when you're working across multiples.

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: "... The interface is terrible. I mean, it’s awful!”

        "....and each one of them has a different interface for the same service."

        Yeah, I was trying not to expand my rant more than necessary. I've got the same problem with all sorts of different streaming devices. The whole experience is annoying, but with that said, I'm still more OK with getting a little jarred going back and forth from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon on different streaming boxes than I am trying to navigate the craziness that is the US cable boxes which seem completely random/chaotic after getting used to being able to just simply find/play exactly what I want to watch and completely on my schedule without DVR's, without commercials, or any of the normal annoyances (except for Hulu, but their commercials are reasonable at 30 seconds to a minute instead of 6 minutes like commercial TV).

  10. Tim 69

    Maybe in the US

    Speaking as one who recently had US family to stay in London, who had never experienced Sky+ (or the freeview equivalent) and the plethora of OnDemand TV via the box in the corner and Tablet/Phone on-demand apps complete with Chromecast, they were blown away at what we could do in the UK compared with what they had available via Cable in the US.

    TV in the US does not equal TV across the rest of the globe...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe in the US

      Spot on.

      TV or Cable is being held back by the likes of Comcast. There is no competition for delivery of signals to the punter in most areas. For my friends, it is a choice between Comcast or a Satellite dish in the back yard. Sadly they almost all have t ogo with Comcast as they are the only supplier of Broadband in their area. The words 'over a barrel and being raped' come to mind. If you think Virgin or Sky is expensive then in many areas of the US they are paying close to $200 a month.

      As for free to air channels? forget it. In many areas broadcast TV is on its last legs (and here if Ofcom has its way) and all the Satellite services charge. At least (for the time being) we have FreeView and FreeSat.

      Then there are the UI's in the current crop of smart TV's/ They are in the main total and utter crap.

      Perhaps the market could do with apple shaking it up good and proper. god knows they can afford it. Comcast (grrrrrrrr) need a good kicking is you ask me.

      Remember it is the likes of Comcast that want to charge Netflicks, Amazon etc more money to not slow down the downloads you have paid for.

      1. phil dude

        Re: Maybe in the US

        Streaming Netflix, Youtube and select Iplayer content and I do not know why I would need cable.

        The only way I know what is going on in the cable worlds is when I travel, since conference hotels always have 10^2 channels of nothing much on.

        Tablet of choice (Dessert/Fruity) and HDMI cable (yes, nice hotels often have media hookup in the USA!)


        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe in the US

          Perhaps Cable migh be the only way to get an internet connection? (discounting Cellular for the time being as it is being charged at rated that are just stupidly high). What is comcast runs the phone network or at least the only one that would give you more than what amounts to dialup speeds?

    2. Tom Wood

      Re: Maybe in the US

      DIRECTV in the US blows Sky out of the water (yes, both require a satellite dish).

    3. ItsNotMe

      @ Tim 69

      "Speaking as one who recently had US family to stay in London, who had never experienced Sky+ (or the freeview equivalent) and the plethora of OnDemand TV via the box in the corner and Tablet/Phone on-demand apps complete with Chromecast, they were blown away at what we could do in the UK compared with what they had available via Cable in the US."

      Don't know where your friends from the US were/are from, but my cable operator here in the US has dozens of On Demand channels offered free, and hundreds of other channels...including a plethora of Pay-per-View channels...both included with your monthly fee, and many more for additional fees. Well over 600 channels to choose from.

      Also, anyone who chooses to pay for the Google dongle can use it here. It's not an exclusive thing to the UK.

      Besides, connecting any Internet connected device to an HDMI capable tele is not exactly rocket science these days.

      So I'm afraid that the UK isn't alone in its available content. There is plenty to choose from on this side of The Pond as well.

      1. Richard Cranium

        Re: @ Tim 69

        Choice is one aspect, free is another but my experience when visiting the USA was being overwhelmed by adverts. The problem has a subtle effect on UK originated programming too. Even those BBC programs which have an aim of selling to US appear to make provision for the insertion of ads and ad-breaks with padding at start and end (often used here to trail other BBC progs) and strange continuity artefacts which I assume to be potential advert break insertion points.

        There are multiple aspects to the current state of TV. Yes the interface has got complicated, I have 3 remotes (TV, Cable and DVD - plus tablet/phone to operate Chromecast) but as I'm the only one in the household who knows which ones to use and how that does have the advantage that I get to choose what we watch!

        More of a concern to me is the quality of the content. When we only had 4 channels, the fight for airtime was such that garbage programs rarely made it through. A science program would get 30 minutes, often not enough to really do the subject justice. Now the same program would be allowed an hour but on the same or smaller budget so the same (or less) content is padded out to an hour, no "added value" is derived from the extra time available. And that's just the quality programming. The price pressure means there's an awful lot of low budget, low aspiration, garbage programming like reality shows, chat shows which are primarily just a self-promotion opportunity for those with a book, a movie, or a music performance to advertise.

  11. Jim 59

    TV / Panel / VDU

    It has been said on here before, TV should be a display only, to which you attach your own boxes depending on what you want to watch. Personally I'll stick to Freeview at normal resolution.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: TV / Panel / VDU

      Fair enough. As long as the panel + box behaves as if it were one just device (i.e, just push one button on remote control to turn everything on)

      1. JeffyPoooh

        Re: TV / Panel / VDU

        D126: "push one button on remote control"

        That's essentially a 'problem' (Really?) that can be sorted by the use of an advanced programmable Remote Control. Put another way, you might be asking a bit much (or giving up too much in other areas) to expect all your ever-changing gadgets and all your TVs to be fully integrated. It's your choice, but it's really suboptimal except via the programmable RC approach.

        PS: One box? Content boxes are cheap enough that you'll end up needing an 8-input HDMI Switch for your 3-input TV. WD TV Live, Apple TV, Android on an HDMI Stick, Google Chromecast, Laptop, Apple Mac, etc. etc. etc.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: TV / Panel / VDU

          "that can be sorted by the use of an advanced programmable Remote Control."

          That seems to depend on what kit you have. My LG TV will switch on from stand-by if I switch on the LG BluRay player. Likewise the Raspberry PI running RaspBMC turns on the telly or, if it's already on, switches to the the correct HDMI input if I press any of the nav buttons on the XBMC app on my tablet or phone or the wireless mini keyboard. The VM Tivo cable box doesn't do that but the remote for the Tivo can turn the telly on. Normal press turns on/off Tivo, long press turns on/off telly.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: TV / Panel / VDU

          >D126: "push one button on remote control"

          >>That's essentially a 'problem' (Really?) that can be sorted by the use of an advanced programmable Remote Control.

          Okay JefffyP, can you train my father to press [PVR] > [Power] > [TV] > [Power] on the remote? Thanks. I've tried and failed.

          >you might be asking a bit much (or giving up too much in other areas) to expect all your ever-changing gadgets and all your TVs to be fully integrated

          I know market forces are against it, but there is no harm in me putting it on the 'wish list', is there? There is no technical reason why there can't be a 'wake-over-HDMI' function, surely?

      2. Jim 59

        Re: TV / Panel / VDU

        Like a hi-fi, you switch on each box you intend to use. Seperately, or box clever with multi-way power sockets and a Harmony remote or similar.

        Admittedly, with Harmony's demise, the programmable remote biz has died somewhat.

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Surely the function of a TV is to show pictures

    It needs a very simple interface: button to turn it on (with a rotary bit to set the volume), row of buttons to select a channel, and, er, that's it.

    Once you've started watching there is absolutely no need for any sort of interface that doesn't use your eyes and your ears. Remove controls with a zillion functions; delayed recording; film rental; on screen menus... not part of the requirement. They're fripperies that we've come to expect and of course they're rubbish; they're unnecessary.

  13. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

    Which decade is radio stuck in, the theatre stuck in, the book stuck in ... ???

    Technology has aided them, complemented them but not yet superseded them. The only major media certain to die is the printed newspaper. Its problem is the time lag in delivery. You can't be more immediate than broadcast. I mean iPlayer is great but only if you want to revisit last week.

    I won't mention its more robust, cheaper and more reliable than AppleTV or whatever wasn't working or compatible with any of my devices for a certain launch last week. Its was all a bit 1936 for students of British TV.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

      >Which decade is radio stuck in, the theatre stuck in, the book stuck in ... ???

      Books have these new things called eReaders. I hear there are even electronic delivery systems for them.

      I spend too much time on Facebook to have any idea what 'radio' and 'theatre' are.

      The problem with TV is the studios/networks and the way they commission content. YouTube has the right idea with free-to-view user-generated content.

      If Apple tried the same stunt and created an iTV store (probably not with that name) where the public could make/sell/crowdfund content they'd transform the industry overnight.

      It probably won't happen because the studios won't like the idea. But it would be a game-changer if it did.

      1. frank ly

        Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

        " I mean iPlayer is great but only if you want to revisit last week."

        Or watch a broadcast as it happens (if you don't have a televison), or watch after the programme has just finished because you wanted to walk the dog, or watch from yesterday because you had better things to do at the time. For some programmes, they have the links to all previous episodes in a series, which has been very useful for me in the past.

        I can find out all I need about a TV programme from Wikipedia (hurrah for volunteers) then do my own searches (in various places of variable quality). What the average Joe(line) needs is a simple way of finding content they'd be intersested in and then a means watching it at their own convenience. We're not there yet and probably never will be.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

        No they wouldn't transform the industry. They're (cr)Apple, they'd transform the lives of a few fanbois, everyone else would look at the price and laugh

      3. Indolent Wretch

        Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

        "The problem with TV is the studios/networks and the way they commission content. YouTube has the right idea with free-to-view user-generated content."




        I want to watch "good" content and I appreciate for the most part I want professionals to do it.

        I have no problems with said professionals being paid for their profession.

        "where the public could make/sell/crowdfund content they'd transform the industry overnight."

        I can't believe that anybody actually thinks this is true.

        I just can't.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

      Sadly, radio is still stuck in the '80s. Ugh.

      "...The only major media certain to die is the printed newspaper. Its problem is the time lag in delivery..."

      ...and the fact that most major city dailies -- at least in the US -- are basically like Pravda circa mid 1950s -- a big fat load of shit-shoveling by the government, corporations and the Parties. If every goddamn' US big-city daily ceased publication tomorrow, I wouldn't miss them.

  14. Pen-y-gors

    Quite right

    TV has to change. This is the 21st Century. We shouldn't be sitting down in our homes, relaxing after a hard day with a couple of hours in front of the idiot box. We should be busy, busy, busy...TV programmes (new or reruns from the seventies) are so much better seen on a tiny screen as we go about our lives, walking into the middle of traffic while we're glued to that seventeenth repeat of Poirot After all, tiny TVs made Clive.Sinclair a billionaire (or is my dementia setting in again). Who on earth wants to watch an old movie on a 42" telly while relaxing in a comfy chair with a beer and a curry and friends - I much prefer to hold a smartphone while standing on the bus.

  15. Doogie Howser MD

    Trolling for a headline

    Sounds like Mr Cook is doing a Michael "Ryanair" O'Leary by making a statement he knew would draw headlines and so the buildup can begin to the iTelly or whatever it's going to be called.

    I have a Samsung Note 2014 tab and a Smart TV, and I can tell him for a fact it's nothing like the 1970's, and I was there too. Mirroring my live Premier League footy from my tab to my telly on a Saturday is frankly a work of genius and seems like something else Apple have missed the boat on.

    Keep up, boys.

  16. lee harvey osmond

    Sapphire TV screen?

    ... perhaps a legacy research objective, from the CRT era, to make a TV that could survive the Steve flinging the remote at it in disgust?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Sapphire TV screen?

      Nahhh, you only need a Steel TV for that.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first time I've seen Godwin's law work in reverse..

    The fruity führer has whipped the Apple faithful into a feverish state of nervous anticipation

    Aren't things supposed to deteriorate into Hitler references rather than to start with them? Just curious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The first time I've seen Godwin's law work in reverse..

      "Just curious."

      Niwdog's law, mate.

    2. dogged

      Re: The first time I've seen Godwin's law work in reverse..

      For various reasons, I strongly recommend that El Reg try to avoid calling Tim Cook "fruity".

      You could get away with it when it was Steve "I'm drowning in fanny, me" Jobs but Tim Cook might take it as referring to his personal life and nobody needs to go throwing homophobia around.

  18. msknight

    20m minus 2

    ... the two black Apple TV's that are jailbroken, but nevertheless are still such a lack of utility that they sit in a drawer with other unloved tech.

  19. hammarbtyp

    In order the channel Job's spirit we need to...

    We will be producing our Apple TV, just as soon as we work out how to gouge our usual 15% cut from the content providers.

  20. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Nothing wrong with TV *Tech*

    it's as far as it'll go for now.

    There's everything wrong with the TV Business though. From risk-averse "executives" through to a desire to monetize everything.

    The current car-crash that is BBC license fee, VM subscription, Sky Subscription (even if you have VM,. as "Sky Atlantic" is out of your reach[1]), Netflix, Amazon Prime, Blinkbox, [contd page 92]. With loads of middlemen trying to get at your wallet.

    If Apple can deliver a single subscription model, that gives me access to all the content I want - even if it's no cheaper than aggregating the individual packages - then I may become a fanboi.

    [1]No problem of course. You use the big fat VM pipe to <cough> acquire what you need.

  21. Jolyon Ralph

    Fruity führer?

    What's wrong with the term iAtollah?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Fruity führer?

      It's reserved for Jobs only. Cook is only an iMam...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The level of childishness has now reached such lows I will be kicking the Reg off of my rss list (I know, don't let the door hit me and all that, how original). I might have a look-in every now and then for the odd bit of bofh but frankly "authors" such as Hamill can go suck an egg as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Congratulations

      Agreed. Commentard Timmay put it well:

      It makes it more snarky, for sure, and as much as I zzzzz at Apple stuff, I zzzzz tenfold at snark. Maybe I'm getting old, but there's a bit too much snark round here for my liking, and the snark is increasing. Maybe it should be renamed The Snark Register.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Congratulations


  23. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    What is this "TV" thing the guy is referring to?

    TV? Stuck in the 70s? Seriously?

    Nowadays almost everyone I know (bar the really old) have a huge-ass monitor stuck on the wall (or a projector) through which they, in turn, channel the output of a digital tuner (with autorecord, replay, ad skipping etc), their computer, their phone, a gaming console or 3, the content of a USB stick or the SD card with their holiday snaps to name but a few. Some are stuck with a traditional remote control for everything, which sucks -although less than the ATV one- but most also have a wireless keyboard with touchpad too (and of course the consoles' own controllers for appropriate situations).

    Perhaps Cook's TV is stuck in the 70s. That's not a problem any new tat from Apple can solve.

  24. Mage


    The content was good up to 1980s (but not so good in USA), but the technology was poor.

    Now TV tech is good but the content is poor. Apple can't fix that. It's USA media domination that makes it poor!

    Radio content hasn't gone down hill as much. But the available AM/FM sets are poor compared to 1980s (or even 1930s to 1950s) and DAB is pointless. Terrible concept, bad UI, bad delivery and no decent sets.

    TV sets now universally need decent external speakers as otherwise they are like a 1970 pocket disposable Hong Kong AM radio with 2" speaker.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: TV

      >TV sets now universally need decent external speakers as otherwise they are like a 1970 pocket disposable Hong Kong AM radio with 2" speaker.

      Is it a bad thing in theory that you buy a screen and then buy speakers appropriate to your tastes and situation? Many people choose to use their own speakers, which means that the cost of fitting reasonably good speakers in the TV set is often wasted money. (Of course the devil is in the details, such as extra wiring, wall-mounting, making sure the purchaser is aware that they need to put aside some extra money for speakers...)

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: US media domination ?

      ITYM US *network* domination. You know. NBC, CBS, Fox (except "House M.D.").

      US cable quality has been growing at a frenetic rate. The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Shield, House of Cards.

      Hell those are the ones the Mrs and I have watched. There's plenty more which aren't to our taste, but which get shedloads of *critical* praise (as opposed to viewing figures).

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: US media domination ?

        The U.S version of House of Cards - notable for being produced by Netflix rather than a traditional cable company. /pedant

        Your point stands, though!

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Re: US media domination ?

          I was using "cable" as a (admittedly lazy) shorthand for "not network".

          1. Tom 35

            Re: US media domination ?

            Netflix is very much not cable. The problem I have with cable is I have one choice*, Rogers (they have worked hard to make sure of that) and to get the few channels I might watch I have to buy a giant bundle of crap for about $80+ a month. Lucky I'm not a hockey fan.

            I'll just stick to my over the air for local news and such + Netflix and I'll buy the disc for stuff I really like.

            * I could get the IPTV service from the phone company but it costs just as much.

            Then you get the exclusives that are only on one system.

  25. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Thumb Down

    Rough translation

    All your viewing preferences should be vectored through iTunes

    1. VinceH

      Re: Rough translation


      What I expect Apple is planning are pretty much TV-sized iPads - essentially TVs, but which run iOS (and can therefore run iOS apps, etc).

  26. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Some things so need reinventing

    Take the wheel for example! It's so, so prehistoric.

    Well, OK, one can concede that the corners are somewhat rounded, which gives at least some credit to our ancestors, I suppose, but deep down? It's the same old boring πD

    But now, imagine an iWheel...!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Some things so need reinventing

      Well, if you're so smart, *you* tell us what colour it should be.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Some things so need reinventing

        Err... black? No, wait - white!

  27. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Stick in the seventies?

    Oh no it's not. Back then a 1 hour BBC documentary had about 59 minutes of content. Now it has about 50 minutes of repetition & padding - mostly repetitious padding.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: Repetition and paddding

      and the content is dumbed down beyond belief.

      No one under 40 would believe that I learned about Quarks, and the like from a "Horizon" broadcast in the mid-70s (I was 10) on a Saturday afternoon as an alternative to "Grand(fucking - I hated sport)Stand".

      A few weeks later there was another Horizon, about the discoveries of ancient humanoid fossils causing scientists to conclude mankind had been around closer to 12,000,000 in some form, rather than the 2,000,000 they believed up to then.

      You just never see anything like this nowadays. However you will see loads of pretty shots of sunsets, or mountain ranges, usually with the pretty boy* presenter (Brian Cox) looking upwards, as the camera crew try out their new spinny gear.

      *Exceptions made for Alice Roberts though <swoon>.

      1. Frank Bough

        Re: Repetition and paddding

        Cox has done some great work. Wonders of Life was outstanding.

        1. Blakey

          Re: Repetition and paddding

          as someone who enjoys historical documentaries - neither Neil Oliver nor Tony Robinson have a career waiting for them as male models...

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Stick in the seventies?

      "As a <specialist in X> I have long been fascinated <programme topic>. Join me on my journey [groan] as I explore the fascinating story of <programme topic>. Along the way I'll look at [insert five minute montage of all of the programme's scenes]"

      [ten minutes later: scene of presenter walking along looking deep in thought]

      then [camera fixed on presenter instead of the object they are actually talking about]

      There is clearly a BBC documentary style-book, the first page of which says 'nab someone out of academia who isn't too ugly'.

      The only BBC documentaries that buck this trend are David Attenborough-narrated 'blue chip' series, and anything by Jonathan Meades.

      It is worth noting that neither David Attenborough (natural history) or Patrick Moore (astronomy) had formal education in the subjects the are associated with.


      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Re: Stick in the seventies?

        Here's another "Horizon" I remember ... Prof. Richard Dawkins (yes, that one) demonstrating how evolution could be modelled with simple programs - he even talked the viewer through one he had written. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't HTML ....

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Stick in the seventies?

          To be fair, Chris Lintott, Lucie Green, and following presenters have tried to keep the Sky at Night in it's original 'enthuse the young people and still be advanced enough to keep adults interested' format.

          I think Sir Patrick would like that .

          Horizon on the other hand, has GENERALLY gone downhill, but there are still a few good episodes every now and then that seem to sneak past the BBC's director of dumbing down

  28. Mick Russom

    Tim Crook of Crapple thinks Women have a bad interface

    Tim Crook of Crapple thinks Women have a bad interface...

    This guy is just a china-slave-labor using tool that wants more money for himself and enjoys spying on us, leaking nude photos from celebs on the insecure iCloud/iFraud-Paradise and charging margins that make Hermes ties look cheap.

    Crapple. iOS debuted in 2007, Android started in 2003.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Tim Crook of Crapple thinks Women have a bad interface

      oooo k, I thought *I* didn't like apple... wow

  29. Yugguy

    I was there too

    I was born in 1970.

    I remember black and white.

    I remember TVs taking minutes to warm up.

    I remember having to clunk round the dial to get the 3, count 'em, channels.

    I remember TVs being HUGE and weighing the same as a small moon yet with TINY screens.

    I remember the first remote controls. On a wire.

    I remember taking the back off a TV in 1978, poking inside it with a screwdriver while it was on and being shot across the room with the electric shock.

    Etc., etc.

    I'm no expert, but the Samsung 40-inch flat-screen internet-connected LED/LCD/AMOLED/whatever HD surround sound blah-de-blah I have now is somewhat different to the TVs I remember from the 70s.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Re: I was there too

      Beat you to it, man. Born 1957, here. Watched John Glenn's Mercury flight on a clunky 19-inch B&W portable which was only portable in the sense that it had a handle on the top. A common book in many US households was the infamous troubleshooting and tube-testing guide. You could actually open up the set, pull the suspect tubes, and take them to tube-testing kiosks which were ubiquitous in many drugstores and supermarkets.

      I can also remember when TV via satellite was a big-ass deal; watched '64 Olympics with the caption "LIVE VIA SATELLITE" burned across the bottom of the screen.

      Color was still a big deal then, too. Even though there were a fair number of color sets in use when I was a young boy in the mid '60s, they were sick-ass expensive, and not all programs were broadcast in color; those that were, were preceeded with a little bumper announcing, for example, "the following telecast is brought to you in Living Color, on NBC".

      Not much channel-hopping back then, either; changing the channel involved a major commitment to getting up, walking across the room and ker-chunking that big-ass knob.

      Still, it seemed as if there was so much more cool stuff on when I was a young boy, and a teenager. At first I chalked it up to just getting old, until I started hearing more and more people far younger than I remarking that TV today sucks.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: I was there too

        Couple of years younger than you, Mike, and in the UK - but I worked as an engineer and project manager in the BBC for thirty-odd years, all around the world.

        I still maintain that there is enough talent in the UK to almost fill three, maybe four channels. The rest is crap, repeats, and recycled shows - it's depressing how often the same show is franchised to other broadcasters.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No room....

    at that particular inn for you is there Tim?

    Desperate stuff there mate.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TV and media isn't sold like any other product.

    If I want to listen to some music I can buy it.

    If I want to watch a certain TV show then I might have to get a Sky contract or something.

  32. Daz555

    TV is terrible?

    Switch on. It remembers the last station I used.

    Press "2" it switches to BBC2. Press Vol Up and it gets louder. Press channel up and it moves to the next channel.

    Please Apple. Don't fix our TVs.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      It switches to BBC 2 in standard definition, whereas I usually want the high definition version. Also there are so many channels these days that I can never remember the numbers of all of them, especially as they are different depending on whether I watch them on Freeview or Freesat.

  33. Hurn

    Time Travel?

    " Following the launch of the Apple Watch, Cook has repeatedly invoked the memory of Steve Jobs."

    Erm... surely the launch hasn't happened, yet. Or, is it already "early 2015" ?

    There's a large difference between a "pre-announce" (future event, no hard date given) and "launch" (general availability).

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's an insult to 70's TV

    TV was arguably much better in the 70's. Basic cable had just as many or more watchable shows per hour, and much less advertising (fewer commercials per hour, no banners, no crawls etc.). The show you wanted to watch was usually on at the same time and channel from week to week.

    I don't understand how TV has gotten to the point it has today. It is like the cable execs all meet once a month to try to figure out how they can make there product worse. For example, my STB once had a feature to filter the guide down to only subscribed channels (which still included all the crapvertising stations). Without it, you would have to troll through 500 possible channels every week or two to see what channel your show was on that week and perhaps find out what what else the cable gods had deigned to allow you to see. Suffice to say that feature didn't last very long.

    The real irony here is that the main selling point of TV is "instant entertainment". Turn it on, flip to the Simpsons and veg out. Now it is a case of install the software update, fuss around with the peripherals until the HDCP handshake completes successfully, turn on the guide, scroll through an entire app store of crap reality shows and spam all while being bombarded with advertising. Then, after 15 minutes or so, turn the box off because all that effort spent making the experience crap doesn't leave any budget for developing programming that doesn't suck.

  35. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Stuck in the '70s...?

    Y'mean, like, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, M*A*S*H*, and the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live?

    Sounds like a winner to me...

  36. ecofeco Silver badge

    TV stuck in the 1970s?

    The ENTIRE ENTERTAINMENT industry is stuck in the last century. From the artist getting screwed to the customer getting sued, the "biz" is a rotting festering nightmare except for those at the very top.

    They rejected the Internet and now the Internet will destroy them. It will take time, but it is inevitable.

  37. Steve Evans


    He should try Dave... Then he'd be stuck in the naughties :D

  38. arrbee

    How to improve the interface:

    "Whats on at the moment, any recent films ?"

    display shows list of films made in last 12 months, optionally sorted, that I can access from any source to which I have a connection; any additional costs are flagged

    "nah, what about something funny, like, err, something with Fred Bloggs"

    "display shows... etc"

    "ok, lets see xxx" ( or, more likely, "sod it, I'll watch zzz on Blu-Ray" )

    info display above can be shown on TV in 'monitor mode' or on some other device

    The killer item is to be able to treat all connected sources as one (which doesn't mean they have to be covered by a single subscription). It would also be nice if there were no ads, but...

    Add in music sources and give it a name: "cornucopia" ( or maybe "orchard" )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "ok, lets see xxx"

      That probably describes more people's internet experience than how they user their TV.

  39. Sarev

    Just what we need

    The solution to TV being "stuck in the 70s" will no doubt include:

    * a TV that you need to replace every two years

    * requirement for another Apple device to actually control it

    * piles of unskippable adverts everywhere (unless you pay more)

    * a rental model for everything

    * Apple keeping tabs on everything you do

    Erm, no thanks.

  40. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Jumping the shark

    Watch your step Tim - Jumping the shark was from 70's TV. The shark could yet take a bite out of Apple

  41. Frank Bough

    I have an Apple TV

    ...but I'd hardly hold it up as an example of UI brilliance. If only Apple would free the bloody thing we might get some innovative apps on there.

  42. poopypants


    My TV was destroyed by an errant flying model car, and I have no intention of replacing it.

  43. Slx

    Television in the 1970s ....

    Fuzzy, often monochrome, poor sound quality, relatively few channels with many people only having maybe 4 to 10 at most. Some people only had 1 or 2 channels.

    Many channels also only broadcast for a few hours a day.

    The UI was electromechanical! You turned a knob.

    The screens were small and possibly emitted x-rays

    I'm not sure which 1970s he remembers...

    Also the VCR didn't really exist.

    I think he's confusing the 1970s with the early 2000s.

  44. Indolent Wretch

    "the interface is terrible"

    My eyes and ears may not be what they once were but I wouldn't call them terrible

  45. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Like, but....

    Apple has a real gem with the Apple TV. Much better than other players out there. However, their insistence on not allowing other content (specifically Amazon Prime) had unfortunately taken me to a Roku instead.

  46. RobTub

    I love TV in the 70s

    Where I came from, TV had only 3 channels then. Press a button to turn it on, turn a knob to select one of the channels, and you're done. The resolution may not be that high, but we never had to live with the pixellated artifacts and the occasional frame freezes so common today. I remember upgrading to a Telefunken touch-sensor modern-looking TV in the late 70s. When the weather got humid, the channels will change randomly on its own. Fun.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like