back to article Despite high-profile hires, Apple's TV plans are doomed

Apple has been promising to revolutionize TV for years but hasn't yet found the time to do so. Last week, Apple announced two new and likely expensive hires, former Sony Pictures Television presidents, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg – who are known for Breaking Bad, The Blacklist and other golden TV shows – to help it …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    They've the cash, just buy up one of the successful streaming services and rebrand it as new and original :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With their cash pile, they could probably afford to buy a couple of the market leaders. Maybe they should also bid for Sky to annoy Uncle Rupert.

  2. Milton

    "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

    "there's more premium original content than consumers can even watch"—ok, so it's not just me: I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one noticing the sheer volume of programming and wondering how anybody could find time to watch even a tenth of it.

    While I remain bemused by folks discussing all the things they've watched—do they have Hermione's time-winder gadget, so they can consume five days' telly in a single weekend? where do people get the *time*??—my more immediate question is, when does saturation and fatigue set in?

    If it's always been the case, broadly speaking, that only 3% of TV was worth watching, then the sheer volume of stuff being produced does explain why there's also a lot of good programming out there. You can and should ignore the "reality" mind-rotting garbage, soap operas, quiz shows, cheap-as-shyte "documentaries" and the rest, but you still end up with more good things than there are hours in the day. If there's too much even of the good stuff for anyone to watch, how can it be profitable to make more of it? This is a genuine question: I'm curious to understand how so much telly gets made, and watched, and still pays for itself.

    1. msknight

      Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

      Fatigue is already setting in.

      I'm reading a slowly increasing number of blogs that are tired of the same old repeating storylines and character flaws... Marvel appears to be ahead of the fatigue pack.

      With each day that passes, I'm convinced that "Get A First Life" had a valid point.

      1. Dave 126

        Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

        I've scan-read a few blogs that are bored of the numerous Marvel TV shows, with one exception -'Legion'. It's run by Noah Hawley of the excellent Fargo TV series, and is a wonderful homage to the 1960s in terms of set design, costume and music.

        tl;dr: TV execs aren't all stupid and are willing to allow diversity of style and tone even within a studio's imagined world. Just as the movie Deadpool was a black comedy with Fawlty Towers and Viz references, though still ostensibly an X-Men movie.

        1. Dabooka

          Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

          I have to agree Dave, but really just wanted to chuckle about how your TLDR statement is as long as the original :-)

          1. Dave 126

            Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

            > just wanted to chuckle about how your TLDR statement is as long as the original :-)

            I'll get the hang of this internet malarkey one of these days!

    2. maffski

      Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

      'If it's always been the case, broadly speaking, that only 3% of TV was worth watching... ...I'm curious to understand how so much telly gets made, and watched, and still pays for itself.'

      The 3% you consider worth watching won't be the 3% I consider worth watching.

    3. iromko

      Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

      "This is a genuine question: I'm curious to understand how so much telly gets made, and watched, and still pays for itself."

      That brings the possibility that we're inside the bubble similar to that of dotCom era. If Apple would join the fray now, it probably won't bankrupt itself by losing a couple of billion, but it may drain the market so others would get less income, and that may topple some of them.

    4. WatAWorld

      Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

      Over the past 2 years I've watched maybe 30 hours of TV. Back in the 1960s and 70s I probably watched that much in a week. Watching TV was a lifelong habit, until 2 years ago when I decided I was just fed up.

      Unless you're a Nielsen family you're watching less TV than ever. (Being surveyed makes you watch more.)

      What is killing TV is not too much TV programming available.

      It is leaving people out of audiences, leaving people without content they desire.

      There are plenty of viewer hours left unused, taken up by the internet, by reading, by going for walks, by socialization. The problem is the viewers the lack of content aimed at the viewers who have those available viewing hours.

      I still have a cable TV subscription. The cable network gave it to me for free when I called up to cancel -- it just rarely ever use it. (The TV is directly free, but they offered me a package discount on my phone and internet equal to the cost of the TV packages and PVR rental. So the TV is free so long as I don't cancel anything.)

    5. Captain DaFt

      Re: "There's more premium original content than consumers can even watch."

      "If it's always been the case, broadly speaking, that only 3% of TV was worth watching,"

      From my perspective, you're being very, very generous.

      For my entire lifetime, I can count the number of must see shows on one hand, and still have a finger left over*, and probably another dozen shows, at best, that were worth wasting time on.

      *And those were animation, AKA cartoons.

      It's funny how so called 'Children's shows' actually aim at a higher mental level than crime dramas, sit-coms, 'reality' shows,and and other so called 'Adult fare.**

      **You were expecting a joke about which finger, weren't you?

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Apple : doomed to fail?

    Te-he. How many times has this been said in the past only to be totally wrong eh?

    Actually you might be right this time.

    However, there is space for the right service at (importantly) the right price.

    With Amazon, Hulu, Netflix etc all having a monthly fee which is on top of your Broadband/Mobile fee, I see a space for apple to become a one stop stop where instead of three, four or more $9.99/month fees, you can see the shows you want without the monthly subsctiption. A sort of pay-as-you-view. Then you can mix and match content from a range of services and only get one bill that would be less than the individual subscrtiptions.

    That obviously needs the likes of Netflix etc to play ball. Do they want more viewers of their top content at a reasonable price (and probably less pirating) or are they only after more subsctiptions?

    We don't know as yet.

    Apple will fail as a competitor to NetFlix etc because the studios don't want to deal with Apple. They know only too well that Apple could take over Hollywood if they wanted to and do it with Cash. They'd rather bargain with services that need their output and won't (unless it is Amazon) be able or willing to take them over. Job (and the casting couch) preservation means a lot to Hollywood as they fight to keep their loss making (according to their accounting rules) empire going.

    Lots of food for thought.

    1. IsJustabloke

      Re: Apple : doomed to fail?

      "only get one bill that would be less than the individual subscrtiptions"

      And here is the flaw in your plan.

      There is simply no way I can see any Apple product being sold for less than a single competitor yet alone a bunch of them.

      I use Freesat / Netflix total monthly cost 9 quid if I were to add Amazon my monthly cost increases to 18 quid a month.

      How can Apple provide me with the same services as both of those for enough of a saving to me to make me switch? I'd say they can't.

      single sign on is not a deal breaker for me, I'm quite happy to switch between apps because its not exactly complicated and they are already both in the same place IE my set top box.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

    How did that happen, then?

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

      Well, have you noticed how there's no music any more...

      1. Dave 126

        Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

        I prefer the recent XKCD hypothesis: we had 60s music and fashion because it's easy to label, ditto 80s music and 90s music. Since 2001 we haven't had an easy phrase (naughties music? Aughties music? Teensies music?) to describe where we're at!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Apple helped to destroy the music business."

      Yeah, I didn't understand that line either. Apple destroyed the album model by selling everything as singles. But if they hadn't done it, someone else would - and arguably Napster did it first and Apple salvaged the music industry by giving people an easy/legal way to pay for singles they had already become used to downloading.

      I think streaming has hurt the music industry more, due to the very low royalty rates. That's certainly not Apple's fault since they were late to that particular party, and they're still paying a lot more per stream than competitors like Pandora (probably because the contracts were originally negotiated by Beats, and they had a much smaller user base)

      Apple is now trying to renegotiate to get the same rates as those competitors, and has a similar scale, so the music industry needs to design if they're going to let Apple pay less, or charge the others more. They have no one to blame but themselves if they're negotiating contracts for X and then saying "X is too low".

      If anyone is going to destroy the TV business its Netflix. They're so dominant they're like Apple was with the iPod and iTunes, and now that they're creating so much original content the studios are becoming very nervous about the clout they're exerting. They might like to see a few other deep pocketed players like Apple and Google get involved to reduce Netflix's market share and outbid them for some of the content they're buying.

  5. djstardust


    Apart from the iphone Apple are very much yesterdays news.

    Their tablets are failing, laptops are expensive and mid-spec at best and there's been nothing innovative from them for years.

    They're just a one trick pony now and when the isheep wise up and realise how poor and expensive the iphone is they will be doomed.

    Can't wait for the day. Good riddance. Their wanky hipster patronising staff will have to get new jobs at Starbucks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple

      > when the isheep wise up and realise how poor and expensive the iphone is they will be doomed.

      And then the iSheep should go and do what everyone else has done - get an Android?

      1. DavCrav

        Re: Apple

        "And then the iSheep should go and do what everyone else has done - get an Android?"

        Of course: iSheep dream of Androids.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Apple

          Surely Androids dream of electrifying iSheep?

    2. pogul

      Re: Apple

      Oh yawn! I'm getting really bored of stuff getting judged based on the technical spec sheet. Firstly, as to the price. I get my Macbook Pro from work, as many do — the price in insignificant next to my pay and conditions :-) Builders for example will often have a much more expensive set of tools than I do. Secondly, the specs. The specs don't tell you what a joy to use the trackpad is, compared to any Wintel laptop I've used. The specs don't tell you how well Timemachine works for backups and restore. The specs don't tell you... well perhaps you get the idea. It's not like it's a 486 with 2MB of RAM, that would be rip off. No, it's a modern machine with a decent OS that works very nicely. I'm also a big fan of Linux and I believe Windows has its positives too, but judging everything by the individual parts (and quantity of them) is not a recipe for getting a good machine (oh look, this Dell has a fingerprint reader!!! and its got some extra Megahertz!)

      1. djstardust

        Re: Apple

        No touchscreen

        No foldable tablet mode

        No replaceable HDD

        No upgradeable RAM

        Shallow keyboard that is impossible to actually type on

        Last year's memory and processor to make Apple even more margin

        Stupid touch bar that adds no value whatsoever (except to the price)

        You get the idea .....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple

          No touchscreen

          I have no desire to touch my laptop's screen - I don't want my fingerprints on the screen, let alone anyone else's greasy mitts! When I ordered my current laptop last fall (an HP 17t) there was an option to get a touchscreen, which I declined. It cost $50 extra, but I would have refused it if it was free.

          No foldable tablet mode

          Again, don't want, and most Windows laptops don't have this either. Are they all useless too? I guess you thought all laptops sucked until a couple years ago??

          No replaceable HDD

          No upgradeable RAM

          I agree this sucks, but probably 1-2% of users would ever contemplate replacing/upgrading their HDD/RAM, so it is a Reg reader problem, not an average user problem.

          Shallow keyboard that is impossible to actually type on

          You mean like the shitty keyboard on the Surface Pro's type cover?

          Last year's memory and processor to make Apple even more margin

          Yeah, wouldn't want to miss out on Intel's annual 3-4% performance gain!

          1. Dave 126

            Re: Apple

            Hehe, always fun to see someone criticise Apple for Intel's release schedule!

            I believe the Macbooks (and indeed Microsoft's Surface range) have since been bumped up to Intel's latest suitable CPUs, but at the time of the computers' release (in the the run up to Christmas) there hadn't been enough time to incorporate the latest silicon with sufficient testing.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Apple

        Except that as a content creator, the current Macbook Pro range is completely and utterly useless.

        The keyboard is awful to type on, and I can't plug in anything at all without a stack of adapter dongles and there are no docks - just adapters.

        An octopus doesn't make a decent laptop.

        In the Windows and Linux world, I can pick and choose from a great many laptops, many of which have all the connectivity I need and most of which have better keyboards.

        Some of them also have nicer trackpads - though in general I just use a travel mouse which is both 10% of the cost and far better ergonomically than the Apple mouse.

        The actual macOS is quite good - albeit often painfully inconsistent - but the hardware is just terrible.

    3. WatAWorld

      Re: Apple

      Apple is only in the tech news these days for discussion what outrageous amounts they can get the 'uniformed' spendthrifts to pay for old technology.

      I say 'uninformed', I mean uninformed about technology. I think Apple's customers tend to be very art and fashion contest. You know the type:

      Q: "What kind of car do you drive?"

      A: "Its minimalist 2018 slate coupé."

  6. tedleaf

    Must watch tv ?

    There is no such thing as "much watch tv" or must watch anything.

    I've not watched ANYTHING in 15 YEARS,no films,no dvd's,no tv,nothing,it's all pap for the mindless to switch their brains off even more,I gave up trying to find decent documentaries on you tit years ago,when I realised there aren't any that are worth the effort of searching for..

    Do I feel like I'm missing out on anything,no,good books are still being published faster than anyone can read them,there are huge collections of old radio to pick from,seeing as how nobody is making much good new radio content now..

    Breathing is a much do event,watching moving pictures is not..

    1. Dabooka

      Re: Must watch tv ?

      Well in that case you've missed out on some good stuff over the last decade and a half. Seriously, your loss.

      While I agree 'must see' is inaccurate term, there's plenty out there for everyone to find something.

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Must watch tv ?

        With increasing pain in my arms and neck from spinal problems, reading for any length of time is a hard work and painful experience. I really would love a better collection of viewable and enjoyable programmes. Sadly I find the chore of wading through huge volumes of listing to be daunting. While I have had access to one subscription service for a year or two I have yet to find anything to draw me into watch. Yet another 'not quite a me too' is less than something I desire. Something to generate and hold my interest would be nice but to date Apple, (and pretty much everyone else to a lesser extent) have served a different demographic. Their 100% output never overlaps with my 3%. viewing want Maybe one day something good will happen, but I am not going to hold my breath for something to lighten the entertainment darkness. Perhaps the issue is that too many offerings mine the same mother load so their output falls consistently into my no thanks 97%.

        1. Dave 126

          Re: Must watch tv ?

          > Perhaps the issue is that too many offerings mine the same mother load so their output falls consistently into my no thanks 97%.

          Here you go, Elvis Goes Lambing (in the Cotswolds):

          You're welcome! I guess I'm making a case that more people can create and distribute video content than ever before, so something might hit your yes-please 3%!

          1. Richard Jones 1

            Re: Must watch tv ?

            @Dave 126 I have struggled to decide, were you being sarcastic or snide?

            I am aware that some sort of 'tube' has a range of crap 'videos', though happily they achieve the same lack of interest as most of the main stream offerings, but if they float your boat, happy sailing!

            1. Dave 126

              Re: Must watch tv ?

              @ Richard Jones

              I was aiming at more playful than sarcastic or snide, and whilst I thought the link was unlikely to hit your 3% I thought it equally didn't qualify as a another Police Procedural, talent show or

              Super Hero adaptation!

              As regards the ergonomics of reading - which can encourage the spine to stay in one place for too long - I wonder if two Kindles can be harnessed together, so that the reader will scan from page to page? On a wider accessibility front, certainly the ability to display any book at larger font sizes benefits some readers, where once such titles were kept in a specialist section of the bookshop or public library.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Must watch tv ?

          Richard Jones 1,

          A couple of suggestions for you.

          You can get one of those tables on wheels they have in hospitals - where the table goes over the side of the bed - or in this case arm of the chair. Some can be set at an anlge, rest book on table at good reading - job's a good'un. Means you don't have to hold book. I've tried various solutions like this over the years, other things to try are sitting at a table with a portable lectern to hold your book - or something like a recipe book stand. Depends on what way you find most comfortable to sit. If bed is better with propped pillows, then you can get beanbag things which hold a book or tablet at the right angle.

          If the neck problems make it hard to do, then I'd suggest audiobooks. Someone like You pay a monthly sub and can listen to what you like. I think Amazon may do a similar service.

          As for hunting through all the available telly content, there must be good websites that discuss review this stuff. I know my brother did this about 10 years ago, where he read about what was the best American telly on a discussion website, then ahem 'sourced' it via the internet.

          1. Richard Jones 1
            Thumb Up

            Re: Must watch tv ?

            @ I ain't Spartacus, some useful ideas, noted.

            Thank you.

        3. WatAWorld

          Re: Must watch tv ?

          Richard, maybe check out your local public library. Many libraries have CD and DVD collections. I watch a lot of Criterion Collection DVDs and blu-rays. They tend to have digitally restored director's cut BFI Top 100 or other top film, and in the extras there will be 2-3 interviews on the historical setting, making or meaning of the film, biography of the director, etc.

          I find this sort of content more interesting that what is broadcast.

          Turner Classic and Silver Screen try to emulate this, but they don't spend the bucks to get the content digitally restored, so the video is seldom clear.

          So much of what is broadcast today is either a remake of what was an inspired classic, or so sticks to rigid PC gender and race stereotypes that I can predict the ending 1/5 of the way into it. No suspense, no good writing, no good acting. Excluding TV for women and TV for kiddies, today's TV depends on special effects and violence. That and the actors are all made-up to look like they're 15 to 27 years-old, even when they're playing the senior officials, generals, etc.

          Exception: If you don't mind subtitles, there is some inspired TV coming out of New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, etc. But sadly we don't get that much in Canada. What we get are the un authentic Americanized adaptations (sometimes made in the UK), with the PC stereotypes, simplified story lines, worse acting, and (sometimes) more graphic violence.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Must watch tv ?

        Well in that case you've missed out on some good stuff over the last decade and a half

        Well part of it is the network's own fault. I saw the new Battlestar Galactica, and figured "oh, siffy will cancel it after 2 weeks" so I didn't watch it, then by the time it was obvious it was actually be given a run, it was too late to try to catch up.

        So I still haven't watched it.

      3. WatAWorld

        Re: Must watch tv ?

        It is 'must watch' only for its target audience. If you're outside of that target audience it is meh.

    2. Dave 126

      Re: Must watch tv ?

      There is still good radio (spoken word) being made, it depends upon what you want. For documentaries, the Australian equivalent of Radio 4 is very good - try the Science Show and its sister programmes. For comedy, you might be well served by podcasts from around the world, of which there are thousands. Well-produced audio books have seen a surge in popularity, now that MP3 et al have liberated them from requiring a briefcase full of cassette tapes.

    3. IsJustabloke

      Re: Must watch tv ?

      "Do I feel like I'm missing out on anything"

      How would you know?

      I think you've misunderstood the use of "must see TV" it simply means that a person will make time in their schedule to watch a particular programme rather than watch if there's nothing else going on. The imperative is a personal thing.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    A few things need to be right

    1 - Good material, this means real quality, sourced from producers who know what they are doing. Both Amazon and Netflix have managed this. Personally for me Man in High Castle was worth a watch but The Grand Tour was the clincher.

    2 - Widely available, no matter what you have you can get it, this means streaming boxes, games consoles, mobile telephones. I only watch TV if it is on one of the following, if not, forget it. Freesat, Freeview, one of my consoles. TV on a telephone, no chance, PC forget it, I spend all day at work staring at monitors, I want it on my TV.

    3 - Easy to buy, Amazon Prime was easy, wife did it on the PC, I literally logged in on the PS4 and was able to enjoy Clarkson Hammond and May just before midnight. I would suggest for Apple to make it even easier to add in support from the main console payment systems.

    Oh and for controlling what I watch, easy I don't watch anything with a channel logo, that cuts out a LOT of crap.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: A few things need to be right

      This is Apple. Their original TV series will only be available on an Apple device. Roku and Fire TV are much better designed than Apple TV in both UI and remotes. Fire TV is gaining marketshare because you can sideload Kodi on it, and then these people use Kodi to watch pirated movies for free. The Apple TV is good at one thing only: mirroring the screen of the iPad/iPhone.

      Anything Apple does won't be free. So just because a person has an Apple TV does not mean they will subscribe to Apple's video service. The only chance of success is to put the service on Roku and Amazon, which I seriously doubt Apple will do.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: A few things need to be right

        So it won't get seen.

        Streaming market to TV is almost all done by one of the following

        App on Smart TV, App on Console, Kodi, Amazon thingy.

        I know one person who watches on a laptop, most use one of the above clients, if they stream.

        1. StheD

          Re: A few things need to be right

          I stream Acorn on my laptop (hooked to my TV) because it uses Flash and isn't supported by my smart BlueRay player. But nothing else.

          As for how the services support the content, if they get people to sign up, or not sign out, they get money every month. I signed up with Netflix again only for the new MST3K (well worth it) but will now look at some other stuff, though I don't give a crap about Orange is the New Black.

          1. GingerOne

            Re: A few things need to be right

            There's new MST3K? Why did nobody tell me?! That'll be me settled in for the next week of rain then! :)

    2. Martin

      Re: A few things need to be right

      "I literally logged in on the PS4 and was able to enjoy Clarkson Hammond and May..."

      Impressive work by the PS4. I wouldn't have thought that there was ANYTHING that would have made it possible to enjoy Clarkson Hammond and May.

  8. Andy 97

    This old chestnut?

    Unless they can buy a tier one broadcaster and simply use their assets it's not going to work.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as far as I can tell, Apple do have plans for a new Apple TV terminal, a H.265 4K one, internally called something like "J105" ('AppleTV6,2' in logs) so I for one don't think their TV plans are doomed

    I will certainly buy the ATV5

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      In the world of entertainment, content is King, Queen and dodgy-looking Grand Vizier.

      It doesn't matter if their hardware turns out to be gold-pressed latinum hand-rolled on the thighs of gorgeous men and women.

      If they don't have the content, it is dead before it's even made it out of the factory.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "help it transform television"

    Between Netflix and YouTube, I think that's pretty much done already.

    I don't see where Apple will be able to put any shiny-shiny, much less make an actual difference, but hey ! Apple is welcome to try.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Do Apple have to compete with Netflix etc?

    Their ATV seems to be a not too expensive platform for bringing together lots of different media sources. As it is not tied to a particular broadcaster (eg Sky or Virgin) then it could occupy the middle ground quite easily IF....

    IF Apple put the effort into it that is... Like their excellent Airport/Airport Extreme devices, they really don't know what to do with the ATV. It works, no fuss and the U/I is far better than LG, Samsung etc provide for their TV's.

    Perhaps one day, Tim Cook might wake up and say, hey, we really have neglected a lot of really good products. Why don't we put a little effort and we can make a lot more money from them. Granted, not the sort of profits the iPhone makes or even the Mac Line (several $B a quarter is not to be sneezed at) but it makes people realise that Apple are not a one trick pony outfit.

    But will they be half arsed/bovvered to do this?

    Probably not.

  12. Nimby

    Tim Cook has never been very good at executing Jobs' "wait then dominate" strategy

    In all fairness, neither was Steve Jobs. For every success there was a Big Ol' Pile of Fail. Take Apple TV for example. Cook just has yet to find his one success so that people remember him more fondly than reality.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Tim Cook has never been very good at executing Jobs' "wait then dominate" strategy

      The Apple TV might have been a missed opportunity to develop a Netflix style business, but I don't think it has lost money. It started out as a x86 based machine, effectively a mini Mac Mini, running a stripped down OSX - indeed some customers squeezed the full-fat OS onto it. These days its effectively an iPhone inna box.

      The thing is, the Apple TV just isn't essential. One can browse Netflix or YouTube comfortably on an iPad or Android device, and then send the content to a PS3 or cheap Chromecast wired to the TV.

      This might be why Jobs always described the Apple TV as their 'hobby project'.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So are they going to start a YouTube channel or what?

  14. David Austin

    The trouble is...

    ...I think where Netflix was around 2015 is where iTunes was around 2007: They nailed the content deals, got the right service at the right price, made it simple and easy to use, and broadsided the market. They're so far in front of everyone else, it'll be hard to catchup if you're not an established player.

    Granted, it's a brave man that bets against Apple, and they have the cash reserves to slog it out with Netflix, but how long will Shareholders let them faff around with a loss leading service before calling time?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: The trouble is...

      And there was DRM, and somehow I've managed to live my digital life entirely without iTunes, and DRM.

      1. bygjohn

        Re: The trouble is...

        There's DRM on all the video services - the studios won't let them do it without.

        But iTunes music hasn't had it since 2009, which was the point where I started to buy the odd album from them. Though often Amazon MP3 is cheaper, and bizarrely Amazon marketplace can be cheaper still if you buy a CD - you have a delay before it arrives, but then a lossless rip. Why none of the main download services offer lossless beats me.

        However, Apple Music is a real mess: I'm not touching it because it isn't separate from your own library, and it has messed some people's stuff up royally, including replacing people's master copies with DRMed streaming copies. If you could subscribe without it interfering with your local library I might be interested for those times you might want to hear an album to decide if you want to buy it, but no way while I would be running the risk of it destroying my collection with its carefully edited metadata. If I ever feel the need for streaming, Spotify looks like the one to go for.

  15. Grunchy Silver badge

    Best deal is OTA

    I made an awesome antenna out of cardboard & tinfoil (had to trim sort of a zig-zag shape with a modeling knife). Picks up all the local channels. Fantastic!

    I do have a HW150PVR which works "ok" (for $30), but only on one TV. I'm considering getting Homerun Extend to transcode OTA & put it on the home network, except it only has 2 tuners (per box). Hmm, hmm.

    Apple, I want the $0-per-month solution. I know you will never deliver, nevertheless, that's what I want.

  16. WatAWorld

    Apple could succeed only if it makes programming for the ignored demographics

    Pretty much TV and movies today are made for the 12 to 25 year-old male and 12 to 30 year-old female demographics.

    If Apple makes TV for the 40+ demographic they've got the marketplace to themselves.

    Problem is Apple won't get advertising dollars, because advertisers ignore older folks. But these are people who grew up on TV and we can't believe we don't have anything much to watch.

    Make TV for us and you won't have much in the way of competition.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Apple could succeed only if it makes programming for the ignored demographics

      You've got Micheal Portillo on a train, what more do you want?!!

      - Signed, The BBC

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Apple could succeed only if it makes programming for the ignored demographics

        Michael Portillo.

        I do like Great British Railway Journies

  17. CCCP

    Platforms galore - easy to fall into

    So I agree there way more /good/ TV than you can possible watch as a single person, but consider a household with teenagers. They keep strange hours and watch a lot of TV (bit like me really). Before you flame, both are active sports players and like the outdoors, and do OK at school.

    We pay for Netflix/Sky/Amazon, though the latter is only part of prime. Which leaves the duplication of Netflix and Sky - and there is more difference than similarities. We'll be keeping both.

    We have an apple tv somewhere, gathering dust; and I agree with the author, apple are too late to the party. Just like they thought Spotify could be toppled, they'll find video content a congested space.

  18. DocNo Apple helped to destroy the music business.

    Bwhaha - the music business was doing fine self destructing on their own. Napster and file sharing had them by the balls and then some. Being able to buy individual songs literally saved purchased music and the music industry wouldn't have been able to ever settle on that model on their own.

    Personally I'd love to see the TV and movie industries carry on and not adapt. Lots of crap would die a lot faster if not artificially propped up by the system.

    Whether Apple is the one or not, the models around TV and movies are changing. Whether or not it's a net gain for the consumer is yet to be seen. Net neutrality will have more to do with where things settle then anything else at this point.

  19. Wibble

    Give AppleTV away

    It'll hurt those greedy avaricious bastards, but they are trying to lock you in and charge a subscription. Can't see the point in an Apple Telly where they're charging you >£100 just to be stiffed for the rentals, etc.

    Amazon made it a no-brainer; £30 for the Fire TV stick which includes BBC iPlayer and a whole host of other applications for free. Amazon now seem to be dropping the number of free shows and films they used to do. They've also buggered up the user interface so it's much harder to find anything.

    But for £30, I can kind of live with that.

    Being doubly screwed by Apple isn't going to wash. Pay loads for the hardware, then pay top dollar for the content. I've never bought anything from Apple iTunes for exactly that reason: they're bloody expensive and everything's the same price -- even when it's out of copyright. At least Amazon does different prices for different downloads.

    Was nice to read an article which really shows Apple on the back foot. They need to get back to their root markets, like making Macs again.

  20. Flakk

    Rumours are there is plenty of distrust of Apple among the TV networks, the executives of which are all well familiar with how Apple helped to destroy the music business.

    I won't begrudge TV execs of their distrust of Apple, but I think blaming Apple for the destruction of the music business is a bit harsh. I'd sooner blame that on a decade of rampant piracy made effortless thanks to the MP3 format and the Internet.

    In fact, TV execs are losing a bundle now due to widespread piracy made effortless thanks to DivX codecs and high-speed Internet. I don't see Apple having much of a hand in that. Apple is, however, happy to charge me a quite a lot to digitally "own" TV shows. Presumably the TV execs are raking in the majority of that cash?

  21. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Why are Apple trying to straddle the hardware and content market?

    I have a Roku,... Roku are not affiliated with a specific content provider, so I have Netflix, and NowTV, and YouTube, and all the catch up channels, and some classic film channels and I've dabbled with Amazon Prime, all on the same hardware.

    So why try to lever £140 from peoplefor the hardware, to restrict the market for the content? If the content is any good, I might subscribe (if there's a Roku channel), but I really don't want yet another box plugged into my telly, and yet another remote. (I've run out of HDMI ports, and I use AnyMote, but there is a pile of remotes on the coffee table).

  22. deadlockvictim

    Apple do devices

    Apple's forte is in devices. If they want to dominate the home TV space, then they need to work on a TV that is so fine, that it does everything we would like it to do, and more, and that we would want one.

    This is setting the bar quite high but Apple has answered such a challenge in the past.

    I'm still of the opinion that Apple should go into the games market. They should have just about enough to buy a controlling share of EA. With such a control they could ensure that all games were first released for Apple devices and that games optimised accordingly to give Apple devices an unfair advantage. There may even be an anti-trust suit as a consequence.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Apple Games

      Actually I think they would get stomped on by the current makers.

      The current 3 all own major studios, they all have deals with the bigger non owned studios. They all own desired IP.

      I could not see EA, Activision, nor Ubisoft going to Apple over one of the big three.

      I could not see a PS4 owner getting an Apple box, much more likely to get a XB1 and vise versa.

      If they already do, more likely to go Switch or gaming PC.

      I think Apple know that.

      1. Charles 9

        Re: Apple Games

        Games are a no-go. Market is too mature. Microsoft had to leverage heavily to buy in, and they're playing second fiddle to Sony, who has too many media connections (they're a genuine media conglomerate--movies, music, TV, media, the works) for any upstart to topple. Nintendo survives with its franchises and by playing outside the box.

        Just how would Apple compete in such a market.

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