Greg's bite: Apple's Living Room Aspirations Languishing?
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple's Living Room Aspirations Languishing?

By Greg Mills

As an Apple fan and a believer in the wisdom of most of what comes out of Cupertino, I bought the most recent Apple TV device and have used it quite a bit since it was first launched. As I noted in this space on a number of occasions I think there is an opening for Apple to challenge the cable/satellite TV content providers, since a lot of people hate them, but it won't be easy and it is not happening yet for Apple. The numbers aren't right yet.

We see the decline of physical media for digital video content delivery, to be sure, but what is replacing video tapes and disks isn't steaming video over iTunes, but rather NetFlix and other streaming content providers with affordable, flat rate monthly plans. Apple TV's iTunes video content available for streaming is way too expensive; the one-off, rental "go to market plan" needs drastic reworking to succeed.

When you analyze the video content offered by Apple TV and the attempt to rent that content on a one-off basis, you have to consider the alternatives consumers have that is a much better deal.  The notion of buying the limited right to see a single TV show for US$0.99 cents or a single movie for $5 is not going to fly, when one can subscribe to a satellite or cable company and get hundreds of channels that have unlimited showing for a one time price per month.

The "all you can watch" vs the low cost but one-off solution for each show, in any reasonable amount of content is strikingly in favor of the monthly package deals. The economics of any new technology has to find an economic sweet spot -- and that is not even close to where Apple TV is priced right now.

I subscribed to NetFlix a couple of months ago and got the one "disk in the mail and unlimited streaming content package" and it has worked well.  Almost too well, as my 11-year-old daughter discovered she can now stream kid video programs through the house by Wi-Fi to her iPhone using the NetFlix app. She now walks around the house ear phone jacked in watching junk kid TV over Wi-Fi, way too much.  

We noticed she missed a couple of deadlines for school work recently, so we took the iPhone away until her teacher gives the all clear. I suspect, given the choice of being grounding in the form of cold showers or losing the use of her iPhone (used as an iPod touch) she would brace for the cold baths, even though you know how teens love those long hot shower. I still have to gently pry my iPad out of her grasp to borrow it back from her whenever I want to use it.  

The point is, that while Apple TV gives options for using several content providers, the NetFlix "channel" is the only one really used much around here. While I know I can stream pictures, music and video from my laptop (and now iPad), to the big TV, that is not really happening much. Renting a movie for $5 for 24 hours use isn't a reasonable charge when the same content is available at no extra charge with a monthly package deal.  

The Apple TV device might as well have been sold as a NetFlix device. Ironic that with a market cap of only 5 billion or so, NetFlix would be quite affordable to Apple, which has about 60 billion in cash sitting in the bank. Keep in mind there are a lot merger forms that wouldn't require all cash. Hooking up with Apple might also protect NetFlix from a buyout from someone not as worthy as a partner. Steve Jobs commented that Apple was looking for strategic purchases that would complement what they are doing.  Duh ...

The new Google TV streaming device that was launched at the $400 price point recently seems to be failing, as they cut the price to $300. Also, Google has not gotten much interest from content producers required to have content to stream. Despite a very deep pocket and a willingness to launch into new markets, there needs to be both a compelling technology that is backed by sound economic realities. Google is learning that the hard way right now. The complementary software/hardware killer product package that Apple has mastered, is a very hard act to follow. Just ask Microsoft.  Zune or Kin anyone?

I suspect the actual sales numbers Apple is seeing from streaming are not has high as hoped for from renting TV shows and Movies. Apple needs a NetFlix type monthly package plan for streaming unlimited content for one reasonable monthly price. The sticky spot in all this is the content providers, who have their heads in the sand and unreasonable aspirations as to the value of their content.

If I can view the FOX Channel over Dish in an unlimited manor 24 hours a day, for say, $2 a month, how is it that $0.99 is insultingly low for only one TV show, when viewed one-off?  The entire thing is about entrenched economics and an unwillingness for companies to change established business plans, until they must. As Greg Mills once said, "those who stand too long in the road of progress, will be run over."

I did the Black Friday thing and picked up a new 55-inch Visio LED TV for $889 at the Sams Club. Since it wasn't the newer version with WiFi  and Internet apps built in, I also picked up a Visio Blu-ray disk player with those extra features for $130. Compared to Apple TV at $99, the Visio Blu-ray player gives us the ability to play Blu-ray disks as well as stream NetFlix to the new big TV.  

I will retire the Apple TV device to the older and smaller 37-inch LED TV we moved down stairs. That way we can stream NetFlix to both HDTVs and any of three iPhones or iPad.  NetFlix can stream from our broadband Internet connection through the Apple TV Device, PlayStation3  or through the new Visio Blue-ray player.  All video content is in HD with one NetFlix account and all unlimited for $7.99 per month.  

Recently NetFlix announced the "disk in the mail concept" is being phased out in favor of streaming video content alone. Fine with me, as a lot of the the content on physical disks is getting old anyway.  With NetFlix as our video "on demand channel," Dish provides the monthly package programing for live TV programs and HBO for more recent movies. Left out for us are movies at the theater and Apple's iTune videos. Both of those two forms of content delivery are not economically viable, as far as I am concerned.

I think Apple would be absolutely nuts to not buy NetFlix and fold it into the Apple landscape of streaming content of all types that they are developing.  The new server farm Apple is getting on line right now would support all forms of digital content delivery with Apple getting a cut.   

I am looking forward to the launch of "The Daily" on-line iPad newspaper that's in the works. Notice the price is expected to be $0.99 cents per week, not $4.99 an issue -- which is what a lot of failed early attempts to publish magazines on line started with. The price of things have a tipping point or realistic price expectation where they make economic sense. I think $0.99 a week might fly for an on-line newspaper -- but it will still have to compete with free news web sites like CNN.com.  

Finally, we will, hopefully, hear this week what is going on with the "disappearing folders" on iPad's new iOS 4.2.1

That's Greg's bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; his email is gregmills@mac.com )

 
AAPL
$98.15
Apple Inc.
-0.23
MSFT
$43.58
Microsoft Corpora
-0.31
GOOG
$587.42
Google Inc.
+1.81

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.15 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0 - The ultimate media...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper 1.0 - Desktop im...
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper is the gorgeous new background image for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This wallpaper is available for all screen resolutions with a source file that measures 5,418... Read more
Acorn 4.4 - Bitmap image editor. (Demo)
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Bartender 1.2.20 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.2 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Star Admiral Review
Star Admiral Review By Rob Thomas on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADMIRABLE ADMIRALSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad While this new digital CCG may feel a bit familiar, Star Admiral offers a sci-fi twist and galaxy’s... | Read more »
Zap! Pow! Become a Badass Wizard in Phan...
Zap! Pow! | Read more »
Urban Trial Freestyle Review
Urban Trial Freestyle Review By Blake Grundman on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RIDIN' DIRTYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A rough ride that has trouble keeping its wheels on the track.   | Read more »
Take Note! Noteshelf Has Recieved a Big...
Take Note! Noteshelf Has Recieved a Big Update. Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad | Read more »
Cubama Review
Cubama Review By Nadia Oxford on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TETRIIIIIS IIIIIN SPAAAAACE!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad With its addictive challenge and interesting premise, Cubama is frantic screen-tapping fun.   | Read more »
Become a Guardians of Galactic Peace Wit...
Become a Guardians of Galactic Peace With the New Spacefaring Sim, Kairobotica. Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Soul Guardians: Age of Midgard Review
Soul Guardians: Age of Midgard Review By George Fagundes on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SO MUCH GRIND IT CRUNCHESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swords and trading cards are fun, right? So is Soul Guardians: Age of... | Read more »
NFL Fantasy Football App Redesigned Ahea...
NFL Fantasy Football App Redesigned Ahead of Upcoming 2014 Season Posted by Ellis Spice on July 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Matter Review
Matter Review By Jennifer Allen on July 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORIGINAL PHOTO MANIPULATIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Matter lets you add geometric 3d shapes to your images and manipulate things so each image... | Read more »
Note Review
Note Review By Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TOO SIMPLEiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Note is a note taking app that’s a little too short on features to be worth its asking price... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

More iPad Upgrade Musings – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
Much discussed recently, what with Apple reporting iPad sales shrinkage over two consecutive quarters, is that it had apparently been widely assumed that tablet users would follow a two-year hardware... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $100 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
WaterField Unveils 15″ Outback Solo & 13″...
Hard on the heels of Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pro Retina laptops announcement, WaterField Designs has unveiled a 15-inch version of the waxed-canvas and leather Outback Solo and a 13-inch version of... Read more
New Roxio Toast 12 Delivers Digital Media Pow...
Roxio Toast 12 is a hub for sharing digital media to virtually any platform or device. has introduced two new additions to its Roxio Toast product family – Roxio Toast 12 Titanium and Roxio Toast 12... Read more
The lowest prices on leftover Retina MacBook...
Best Buy has dropped prices on leftover 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by up to $300 off original MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free local store pickup (if available) or free... Read more
Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Retina Display...
Apple today updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display with faster processors and double the amount of memory in both entry-level configurations. MacBook Pro with Retina display features a Retina... Read more
Up to $250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Mac...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by as much as $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2349... Read more
Updated MacBook Pro Price Trackers
We’ve updated our MacBook Pro Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on the new 2014 models from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers as well as... Read more
Apple updates MacBook Pros with slightly fast...
Apple updated 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros today with slightly faster Haswell processors. 13″ models now ship with 8GB of RAM standard, while 15″ MacBook Pros ship with 16GB across the board. Most... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.