1/24/2012 7:44 PM ET|
After iPhone and iPad, an iTV?
Here's who's likely to get hurt as all this plays out.
Cable and satellite TV companies
"Obviously at the forefront are any of the cable providers," says Scanlon. "At some point you'll get to where you don't have a cable connection. You just watch all content from the Web." Satellite TV companies face a similar risk.
With a variety of devices in hand and high-speed Internet access almost everywhere, consumers want to be able to chose when and where they watch video content instead of being tied to broadcasters' schedules.
There's another factor at work: A lot of consumers are overpaying for cable, in the sense that they pay a big monthly bill but watch only a few channels. "You are subsidizing all these other channels," says Eiswert. "It's a bizarre business model that has evolved over time. This doesn't make any sense now, because the technology exists to deliver it differently."
SNL Kagan forecasts cable and satellite subscriber growth won't keep up with the growth in households over the medium term, mainly because more people will switch over to the Internet. But change could come much more quickly, depending on the impact of a new Apple TV. A cool and simple-to-use device could catch fire like the iPhone and the iPad did.
In defense of cable, Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel points out that $80 a month, a typical cable TV bill, isn't such a bad deal, considering that the average consumer watches four hours of TV a day. Plus, many people actually like having hundreds of channels to surf, and viewing habits run deep. We crave, for example, the sense of belonging that derives from "water cooler moments" when mass audiences watch huge events like the Super Bowl or the last episode of "Lost" and then talk about them.
"I don't think there's going to be a precipitous drop-off in cable subscriptions that will come about in a year or two," says Hodel.
Even Google TV experts -- also aggressively pioneering Web video consumption -- don't think cable is doomed. "The Web won't completely kill traditional TV," says Rishi Chandra, Google TV director of product management.
Cable companies are fighting back by putting a lot more content online and making it available on demand, giving consumers flexibility. Comcast's Xfinity TV offers hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows online. Comcast just inked a deal with Walt Disney (DIS, news)that moves ESPN, ABC and Disney shows online and on demand.
But can they keep up? The other megatrend playing out here is the growing availability of a nearly unlimited choice of video content online, including specialized niche programming at places like YouTube.
Google's Chandra puts it this way: Video content has morphed from three channels in the early days of TV, to 300 channels with the advent of cable, to 3 million channels with the rise of the Internet. Google is promoting the trend by rolling out YouTube channels, putting a Google TV operating system on a lot of popular TVs and helping consumers find things through search.
Of course, a lot of consumers get their Internet service along with cable. So, as we convert to Web-based TV and video in a big way, expect cable companies to raise prices for Internet service to offset cable subscriber losses. "I suspect they are not going to spend a lot to be the backbone for delivering high-bandwidth use and not charge more for it," says Michael Sansoterra, portfolio manager of the RidgeWorth Large Cap Growth (STCAX)fund, which has beaten competing funds by an annualized 1.5% over the past five years.
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How many more overpriced, over specked gadgets built on slave labor do we need?
I am perfectly content with my (non flat) TV and FM radio. These ridiculous gadgets are turning us into hermit lumps of clay.
they overlook the fact that this technology exists because it doesn't exist from Apple yet. Therefore it doesn't exist. But if Apple comes out with it then it will be 'Cool', until then, it doesn't exist.
Every other piece of technology in the world today is judged on it's merit, its specs, function.... Not apple. Apple is judged on how it elevates my social standings by you seeing me with it in my hand.
I don't own an ipad or iphone so i am sure i wont buy an iTV.
People have built to much of their lives around technology and the latest version of that tech.
I have a simple flip phone, a basic lap top, an old deck top and my own abilities which get me everything i need.
I do admit i really like the GPS in my last rental car because i was in a strange city but i would never need it for 99+ % of my driving time, so why buy it?
Ask yourself, do i NEED it or do i just WANT it. If its truly NEED then buy it but if its WANT, take a hard look at the cost(initial and on going).
I appreciate the article's excitement, but I think there are some gross technological errors that affect the validity.
The current version of AppleTV is actually quite a bargain when given a small price tag of $99. In fact, I would almost state it is the best value in the Apple Store.
The article states "Of course, you can already buy "Apple TV" -- a box that lets you stream video from computers to your television. And you can buy TV and movies from the iTunes store to watch on a computer or other Apple device."
I believe this to be a bit off-putting and inaccurate. Why? It reads like you can only stream movies (or other content from your computer via iTunes), but neglects to mention that the current AppleTV already does allow you to rent and stream movies directly from the Apple iTunes Store from the device itself without the need for a computer! It also skips over the included services of Netflix, Vevo, YouTube and more.
The very technology the writer is anticipating is already available.
My prediction is this: Apple doesn't need a new device at all to corner this market.
With a small footprint and price, the current AppleTV is a spectacular product. Add to the benefits that it can allow you to wirelessly stream music, photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad (as well as computer), and I think it becomes even more worthy.
Since the device already operates on iOS like the iPhone and iPad, all they really need to leave competing products in the dust is open the interface a bit more by allowing app downloads (and just sell a wireless keyobard/mousepad peripheral), put on a version of Safari and open AirPrint with HP printers.
All of this can be accomplished with a simple update, no new hardware required.
Oh, and they need to market the product... this is why it doesn't sell well. Put it in a commerical with the iPhone or iPad and show people what it does!
When more of a product becomes available, its price normally falls; that's likely to happen to video content, too, predicts Sansoterra.
So says most economics text books. Too bad in the real world most corporations simply reap the benefits of the higher profit margin...
Once upon a time:
I was afraid that buying an Apple iPad would simply set me up for "the next big[ger] thing' just as soon as I put my money down for the [now] 'less big thing.' And so I hesitated, but finally bit the high price of $495.00 for an Apple iPad1. Well, you know what happened next; PDQ...Dah Dah!! Enter the iPad2...
About that time HP brought out their Touchpad and, just as quickly, dropped it... A young woman I know got two of them for me at a sale price of $149.00 ea. They're neat -- don't know why HP dropped the line -- and when I called Apple about a small problem I was having with the iPad1 and got into a friendly chat with the tech, telling him about my Touchpads, he immediately replied: "Hey, aren't they great? I've got one of them also." That, from an Apple employee.
So please don't tell me about any more of Apple's pre-release statements... When they come out with a pocket ESP device I might take a look. iTV? Why Apple? Every Asian manufacturer -- and that's what Apple really IS -- will soon have one on the market and I'll bet that many Apple employees will own those.
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