[opendtv] Re: Does Apple's Tim Cook Want an Apple Television?

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2012 12:51:58 -0500

At 6:25 PM -0500 12/8/12, Albert Manfredi wrote:
Today, even the real-time broadcast content is a lot more plentiful than the 4-5 channels you mention (10X more, in my case, all "free"), but that's not even the point. No one needs to watch in real time. No one needs to be constrained to those channels of content. And there is nothing new to invent in terms of search engines either. If the content is made available on the web, search engines should certainly be able to find it. It's only a matter of tweaking technology we already have. I can get far more content than I could possibly watch, Craig. All with existing search engines.


And how would you characterize this content?

- New original programming with high entertainment value that attracts audiences measured in millions of homes?

- Retreaded high entertainment value content off the broadcast networks?

- Low value (throw away) content with poor production values - in this I include reality TV produced for the broadcast networks and many cable networks?

- News and related information programming?

- Live sports?

As for program discovery, I sense that you don't spend much time using program guides. Obviously you don't subscribe to cable or DBS, so it is likely that you rarely if ever use the EPGs that are used by 85% or more of U.S. homes. You might be using one of the web based program guides like Zap2It - these guides are just electronic versions of the old newspaper inserts, with some limited search ability.

But the real laugher here is your comment that "there is nothing new to invent in terms of search engines." Web search engines do a pretty decent job of finding stuff when you know what you are looking for. As for discovery of programming, they pretty much suck. And only a handful of people - like you - have full web search capabilities associated with their TVs.

I was looking at several of the Smart TVs being offered this Christmas. They generally can hook up with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu/Hulu Plus and Amazon, but none of them offer anything that you could call Internet browsing and search. In essence, they are designed to let you access libraries of Off network TV content, and even here the search capabilities within these walled gardens are very limited.

Bottom line Bert, YOU are not the typical American TV viewer. You are ALSO NOT the typical user of FOTA TV - a large percentage of FOTA TV homes DO NOT have Internet access.


Not only do more Americans than ever have access to broadband services, but more are actually taking advantage of it by subscribing to a service in the home. Sixty-four percent of those with access opted to pay for a service in 2011, compared with 62 percent in 2010, the FCC report found.

Gaps in adoption rates are most notable among income levels, education, and race, with 70 percent of whites subscribing to broadband in the home compared with 54 percent of blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics, according to Pew Internet data.



The survey also found that minority and low-income homes are more reliant on over-the-air broadcasting than the general population. Minorities make up 40 percent of homes with TVs who don't buy pay-TV services, the survey said.

"Lower-income households also trend towards broadcast-only television, with 23% of homes with an annual income under $30,000 receiving TV signals solely over-the-air. In comparison, 11% of homes with incomes greater than $30,000 rely exclusively on broadcast signals," the survey said.

Or you can just type "digital divide" into your search engine and start exploring the more than 30 million hits...

To be fair, I doubt that these are the folks that Apple might be targeting with a TV product. Then again, they would be wasting their time targeting you as well...

In short, it's not so much that I disagree with the supposed "vision" that people expect from Apple (I did read the article you pointed out). It's that I scoff at the cult guru mentality of the public and the trade press. You know, just like cult members who hang by every syllable uttered by their favorite charlatan. Moonies, what have you. They have their mouths gaping wide open, waiting for Apple to lead them to the promised land. Instead of engaging their atrophied gray matter.

You mean like the "grey matter" at Sony?

From the NBC interview with Tim Cook:

It sounded to me that you and I grew up the same American life, kind of grindingly simple and normal American middle class household -- when you and I as kids would go to a neighbor's house and see, under their new TV, Sony Trinitron, that would tell us something instantly. And you're smiling. And that brand lasted up until -- Walkman, Discman. But then, fast-forward to today, it's less meaningful. How do you not become Sony, with all apologies to Sony?

Or perhaps you are of the opinion that Windows 7 and Android represent the kind of innovation that will result in Apple becoming the next Sony...

The only issue that seems to keep popping up in the media and trade press, is whether Apple can continue to be the wellspring of innovation that has allowed them to become the most valuable company in the world.

It would be nice if Apple's competitors started using their "atrophied grey matter."

Everything I read says you continue to be wrong on this, for as many years as you've been repeating it. People watch TV while they browse the web on their tablets. But even that misses the point. First, let's get this out of the way. TV might be low margin, but so are toasters and frying pans. Doesn't translate to "no one wants them."

Yes, people do all kinds of things while the TV provides background noise. And yes everyone wants a TV. The fact that they have become brain dead, low margin, commodities speaks volumes about the CE industry - they can't think outside of the (TV) box.

More to the point, the consumer SHOULD NOT HAVE TO go to the trouble of dedicating a PC to the TV. I only did this because I could see that the CE companies are (evidently?) on the take, behaving like half-wit incompetent bozos who can't come up with a decent connected TV product. Like it's something so incredibly elusive, even as every Tom, Dick, and Harry around them is watching video, browsing the web, getting the latest news and weather, and even checking their bank accounts, on tablets and smartphones.

You're getting close to the crux of the matter here. The congloms and their partners in the MVPD and CE industry have spent most of the past two decades trying to slow down the transition to the new digital infrastructure that is emerging today. And, unlike the music industry, they have been highly successful at protecting their lucrative oligopolies.

Few companies are willing and/or able to eat their children. Playing defense may protect your legacy business - for a while - but it almost always prevents you from creating the next big thing. In the late '90s Apple had little left to defend - they became what they are today through innovation, building a world class supply chain, and continuously eating their kids.

For you, MVPD addict, perhaps. For me, I don't see that. What I do see is that the congloms allow me, to watch TV as VOD, rather than by appointment, without even having to bother with a PVR. They also have special features available on their sites that did not exist before, interviews with cast members, what have you. What's more, I can watch TV from just about any country in the world, live or recorded, hampered only by the occasional desire by the international networks to artificially limit their own viewership.

I'm no addict. I watch far less TV than the average American and could care less about what the networks are producing today or the reruns you can catch via the Internet. Cable News and Sports make up the vast majority of what I watch; and I get most of my news via a web browser.

So it's unfathomable to me how anyone can be so clueless as to think that TV is like it was in the '50s. If people really yhink that way, someone ought to give them a swift kick in the pants to see if that wakes them out of their catatonic stupor, eh?

You are right.

TV is nothing like it was in the '50s. when a new medium was being invented.

Today is is a vast catatonic wasteland...

The new Pravda.


You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org
- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts: