Home entertainment has made great
strides in recent years. All it takes is a “back in my day,” and I get the
eye-roll from my kids. They know where I’m going with it. I tell them that we
didn’t have remotes and had to get up and turn the channel, and only had six
channels to choose from. Movies were something that you only saw in the
theater, or on TV on special occasions.
It’s a completely different experience
for home entertainment now. But don’t get too comfortable with it, as it will
change again, and again, and again. Much of that is due to Apple products,
mostly their mobile devices, as well as the iTunes service. For the most part,
I’m not going to the theater and not turning on my television or stereo to
watch movies and TV or listen to music.
While the iPod, iPhone, and iPad have
carved out their own niche in the market, the Apple TV has failed to do so, and
no one knows quite what to expect from the 1TV once it finally hits the market.
What does Apple need to do to capture this area of the market as well? It’s an
area that is so flooded with other devices and services, that it’s hard to come
up with a revolutionary product.
Other companies are tired of watching
Apple run away with the goods. Google has been trying everything they can to
cash in on that monopoly. They recently engineered a social network, a music
service, and a television. They have announced plans for a complete home
entertainment system. Last year they showed off a home music system called
“Project Tungsten,” and now they are announcing plans to add on to that by
having it play music on other devices. All of it would be controlled by
Time Warner hasn’t had an easy go of
it breaking into this market, but it’s forging ahead regardless. It released an
app last year for the iPad and iPhone that brought live TV to its subscribers
via their Apple devices, but Viacom objected to the service and made Time
Warner remove all its cable channels from the service, such as MTV and TVLand.
Time Warner is now adding PC and Macs to its service. Now you can watch live TV
over your web browser, but you are still required to stay tethered to watching
from your home. You just don’t have to do it on your TV. U-Verse has made big
changes to its app, but it’s still far from offering the live TV options of
These types of product announcements
are always exciting. Anything that gets people closer to what they’re looking
for in a home entertainment system, these days doesn’t just mean what type of
TV, DVD player, and stereo system you have. These days it means what type of
HDTV, Blu-Ray, media streaming player, and cable TV system you have.
That right there is the key. Why
should consumers need to have all these different systems to enjoy
entertainment the way they want it in their home? When addressing the iTV that
is rumored to be on the near horizon, Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey
nailed it. “That’s where all of this ends. Google knows it, Apple wants it,
Microsoft might accidentally get there first, and Facebook is most likely to be
the glue that connects people to it all. It’s the technology platform holy
grail, of course, but you can’t sell it that way today. You have to sell it as
a TV streaming device that happens to have an app platform.”
That’s what we’re all looking for, the
Holy Grail. Except instead of Indiana Jones leading the search party, we had
Steve Jobs. He gave us the tools to find it, with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and
Apple TV, and now it will be up to us to put it all together and finish the quest.
That’s indeed what is missing from any
home entertainment system or media- streaming device on the market, something
that ties it all together. It’s hard to believe Steve Jobs didn’t have an idea
like that already in his pocket. iTV might just be the product that finally
rumors throughout the Internet over what exactly the iTV will be, even if it
will be called that, as the British television network is making Apple aware
they have no plans to share the name they have held onto since the very early
days of Coronation Street. No one even knows if it will be another set-top-box
to make it like the current Apple TV or a complete television set.
whether it’s a small disc-shaped box or a television set, it needs to do it
all. We’ve been readily and happily buying every i-Device
that Cupertino has released. Now it’s time to tie it all together.
Service It needs to have some type of service to television
programming. If it’s not possible for Apple to work out deals with networks,
then it needs to make it easy to use current cable TV systems with the iTV.
one wants to have to plug their iPod into a different device. They should be
able to listen to their favorite iTunes on the television. For this AirPlay
will come in handy to stream music from the cloud. While we’re at it, we need
to have our Photo Streams streamed to the iTV as well.
Renting and buying movies from iTunes, to be streamed to the iTV is a
no-brainer. The current Apple TV offers that as well as Netflix. But I can’t
find every movie I want on Netflix or iTunes. I use a Roku for my
media-streaming and will flip through several different movie-steaming apps to
find movies I want, and still not find a particular one. Basically, we just
need as many options as possible, whether it’s by movie app or film distribution company. Apple has the money to be able to
acquire a lot.
Apps. We need our apps. Apps will help solve many of the other problems. If I
have my apps, I can accomplish many things. Apps can get the movies, the music,
the TV, etc. It has to be iOS based. And once it gets to that point, it will be
able to do most anything. Remember, McQuivey thought Facebook could possibly be
the glue that brings it all together.
called a personal assistant for a reason. Why not have it be a personal entertainment
assistant? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to speak to it and ask it to find a
certain movie? What about asking it to record a certain show?
Instead of having universal remotes, let’s have a universal product. It would
be great if we could set it to handle the lights or other devices in the house.
How about a map of your house in an app where you can use touch control to turn
on and off lights and other appliances throughout?
Mobile DVR That’s the one thing I find myself missing, a mobile DVR. I
don’t watch much live TV. I record everything and watch it at my leisure time
without commercials. Yet sometimes I find myself wishing I could do that away
from the TV. I can watch movies and listen to music wherever I want. Wouldn’t
it be great to be able to do this with DVR programs? To watch on the iTV, the
iPhone, iPad, etc.?
seem like any of these things being asked for are too out of the ordinary.
They’re all things that can currently be done in some way, shape, or form. It
would just be nice to do it on one device, to be able to control our lives in
one place, instead of on so many different devices and without having to have
several different services.
We know this
is the direction Steve Jobs was headed in with his i-Devices. The only question
is if he got far enough with it that Tim Cook, et al., can take over and finish
the job he started. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking so long to get this product
off the ground. Apple could be waiting until it truly does have the Holy Grail
of all devices.