Business, Life

Why the New Apple TV could change EVERYTHING!

I just finished watching Steve Jobs’ Macworld 2008 Keynote.  In the address Steve announces the launch of movie rentals on the Apple TV.  I believe that Apple is about to do the same thing to TV with the Apple TV that they’ve done to radio with the iPod.

Apple_tvWhat excites most people about the new Apple TV (and why I think people will go out and buy one) is the addition of movie rentals.  Now, from the comfort of your living room, you can rent HD movies with 5.1 Digital Surround, watch HD TV shows on your own schedule (who needs a TiVo?), browse YouTube Videos…and of course listen to anything in your iTunes library. All of this for less than the cost of either a BluRay or HD DVD Player.  The Apple TV costs only $229 for the basic model that stores 50 hours of video (they also offer a $329 version that will store 200 hours).

So why does this change everything?  The feature that most people are overlooking but I believe is the most disruptive is the Apple TV’s video podcast access…in the living room…on the TV…in High Definition. What used to be the realm of 2 inch iPod screens is now going to be available in HD on your TV. This allows podcast producers around the world to compete directly with Broadcast/Cable/Satellite TV all at no cost to the end user.  For only the cost of a HD digital video camera and some basic video editing software anyone will be able create their own on demand HDTV channel and offer it to millions of people across the globe…right there next to the big boys. 

In the past high production costs and limited distribution channels meant well funded studios were
the only ones who could produce and distribute content…drastically reduced
production costs combined with global distribution over the internet have the potential to shift the power of content production to the masses…and that changes everything…just ask NBC.


3 thoughts on “Why the New Apple TV could change EVERYTHING!

  1. It is true that anyone with a $1000 dollars can produce HD content… but that does not mean that they will be able to produce HD content that anyone will want to watch. The skill sets are far more complicated than generating an adequate quality audio podcast require.
    The general immediate disruption also requires a fairly descent broadband connection to move, distribute and host said content. (According to Pew, only 55% of American households have “broadband” internet, and of those, according to the Center for American Progress, are at 200kbs or lower – not sufficient for streaming video or large scale downloads)
    I will be amazed if HD AppleTV provides a significant amount of low budget, home-grown, HD content that will be able to compete with the major players for significant audiences and ad revenue share for quite some time. (3-5 years would be my estimation based upon the other disruptive events in the broadcast/cable/satellite’s media that are already rolling forward.)
    I think the AppleTV rocks, it is a very slick and appealing piece of technology that eventually will find a large niche in the home entertainment industry, but with that said…it won’t happen overnight.

  2. Tony,
    Thanks for your comments. I agree with most of what you said.
    However, youTube is already watched by more people everyday than the top 10 TV programs combined. Of the top 100 videos on Youtube more than 60% are “user-generated” rather than “professionally” produced. I’m not suggesting that there will be many home grown HD shows that get more popular than LOST…rather that the “Long Tail” of user generated content will (perhaps already has) become more popular than what’s produced by the “professionals”.
    The same thing has happened with soft drinks…the most popular category in the grocery store isn’t coke or pepsi, it’s “other”.
    As an Apple TV owner (since posting this post) I can tell you that we’ve watched more streamed content than we have broadcast or DVD’s. Some of that may be the excitement of the new…but I’d take a TEDTalks podcast episode over what’s on TV just about any time.
    We used to sit down and see what’s on TV…now we check out the latest podcasts. For us its also taken away the need for a TIVO or Cable/Satellite as we can buy the shows we want on iTunes and watch them at our convenience.
    Is this going to take time…absolutely…but I believe it will happen faster than many expect.

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