The Apple TV is admittedly a better bargain at $99, but it still isn’t really whetting my appetite. There are a couple of rumored new additions that could help that change, however. According to some, Live TV and PVR capabilities are next in line for Apple’s favorite living room hobby.
A new licensing partnership between Apple and Rovi Corp, a company that makes interactive television guides, is the reason for speculation about live TV coming to the set-top device. Piper Jaffray’s resident Apple prognosticator, Gene Munster, predicts the arrival of more TV-like features to the Apple TV thanks to the new partnership.
Munster thinks this is another step towards an all-in-one Apple TV, according to Business Insider:
We believe this announcement is further evidence that Apple is developing live TV and DVR features for its Apple TV product, and will likely launch an all-in-one Apple Television in the next 2-4 years.
Look back into Apple’s history, and it’s clear that it never partners with a company that could one day be a threat. Mistakes do happen occasionally, and Apple’s pairing with Google did prove to be a bad idea once Google “decided to enter the mobile phone market,” as Steve Jobs put it. Apple’s decision to include Netflix on the newest Apple TV is very telling when trying to anticipate where Apple is going with video and the iTunes store.
Since the iTunes Music Store was announced in 2003 with only 100,000 tracks available for purchase, press and bloggers have been asking, “when will Apple release a subscription model?” Each time a new music service pops up from Microsoft, RealNetworks and Sony, the question is asked again. Jobs repeatedly insists people want to own content, and a subscription plan doesn’t allow for that. The thing is, when he makes a claim like that, it suggests Apple has considered the idea and decided it will never go that route.
As a longtime Apple TV owner, I’ll admit a dirty little secret: I really like the device. Sure, it has been one of the rare flops for Apple in recent years. And it could be so much more with say, a Blu-ray player or a web browser. But it is really good at its core functionality: bringing iTunes content into your living room. And that’s why this new version of the Apple TV makes sense — at least for now.
When I first bought the Apple TV, there were two varieties: a 40 gigabyte version and a 160 gigabyte version. I was torn between which one to get, but I ultimately went with the 160 GB one thinking I could put most of my movies on it. Big mistake. I basically never use the hard drive on my Apple TV, so it’s a 160 GB hard drive sitting there doing nothing. Instead, I stream everything to the Apple TV.
So is Apple TV still only a hobby for Jobs and company? Because if it isn’t, then I’m missing something from yesterday’s presentation when the new iteration of Apple’s set-top device was unveiled. The new Apple TV is smaller, cheaper and sexier, I’ll grant it that, but what else does it really have going for it?
Let’s start with rental only. That’s right, you can only rent content from the Apple TV, not purchase it. It makes sense given the device’s lack of onboard storage, but does it make sense for a buying public that’s only just now moving past the point of physical media ownership? All of a sudden, not only do you not have a disc you own when you pay for content, you also don’t even have a file. Instead you get a window of opportunity.