Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire on His Apple TV Predictions

Brightcove chairman and CEO, writing again for AllThingsD on what he expects out of the mythical Apple TV. No. 1?

The best way to consume broadcast TV and any online video. A seamless touch- and TV-based interface makes it simple to consume your existing cable and broadcast content, including video-on-demand (VOD) libraries and DVR features. Via iTunes, you also get instant access to mega-libraries and subscriptions from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, not to mention YouTube. Naturally, you can also access any AirPlay-enabled videos on the Web, as well as TV apps updated with the new iOS 7 SDK.

TV channels as apps seem inevitable. But all this is a tall order, given the myriad restrictions and hurdles regarding traditional television licenses and rights issues.

Samsung Product Manager: TVs Are About Picture Quality

Samsung AV product manager Chris Moseley, talking to UK gadget review site Pocket-lint, about the possibility of an Apple television and what it might mean competitively:

“TVs are ultimately about picture quality. Ultimately. How smart they are … great, but let’s face it that’s a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality.

“So, from that perspective, it’s not a great concern but it remains to be seen what they’re going to come out with, if anything.”

Obviously, Moseley’s talking about one strength of Samsung’s products — an area in which he thinks his company is particularly competitive among television manufacturers.

Still. This makes me chuckle a little because I have relatives who have bought 42-inch-plus flat panel HD sets … and then have declined to upgrade their cable TV package to HD.

For them, picture quality? Not so big a deal.

But they will complain to no end about how confusing those TVs are to use and set up, with their baffling, incompatible remotes and byzantine settings menus. And that’s before you plug in a STB and are confronted with the programming guide provided by your cable or satellite content provider.

(And it’s to say nothing of the rat’s nest of wires you’ll have once you add a DVD or Blu-ray player, maybe a receiver and some speakers.)

This isn’t to say that Apple’s TV could compete only on a user experience/user interface basis. They know a thing or two about high-quality, flat-panel displays of many sizes.

Nor is it to say that Samsung doesn’t make jaw-dropping displays built on deep experience and patented technologies Apple doesn’t possess.

But it is to say (and I bet Moseley might agree) that it’s not all about picture quality. Indeed, for some people, the question is, “How much more picture quality do I really need?”

There’s much more to the television experience than that, and lots of room for improvement.

(Via Brian Ford, Gruber.)

‘Talking to Network Executives Isn’t Like Talking to Siri’

Apple TV

Apple TV ... today

Andy Ihnatko in Macworld today, contemplating the hot topic du jour, the full-on Apple TV:

Siri, iCloud, and most importantly deals to license content in such a way that the user won’t feel like they have to feed coins into the side of the screen every time they want to catch a sitcom, will define any Apple HDTV.

That last one might be the single toughest problem to solve. Talking to network executives isn’t like talking to Siri. Siri is designed for rational, productive conversations in plain, comprehensible language.

Zing! And of course 100 percent correct.

That’s the just the capper to the column, which is worth a read. In it, Ihnatko wrestles with the real question in all this speculation: What does a real Apple-made HD TV set accomplish that the current Apple TV form factor can’t? Do we really even need an Apple-made HD TV set?

Shawn Blanc thinks on that a bit, and thinks there’s room for both. We have Mac minis and MacBooks, after all. Sounds fine to me.

At any rate, the TV space is one where Apple knows it has to be in a much bigger way than it already is. Roku, Boxee, Hulu, Netflix. Of course Google. And now Sony. A big fight’s brewing.

Wanna Reinvent TV? Don’t Forget the Content

Apple TV

Apple TV

Horace Dediu, writing on the challenge of reinventing television, which is what several companies — Google TV and, yes, probably Apple — are trying to do:

I contend that a TV cannot be smart until the content it delivers becomes smart. The logical conclusion is that the value chain needs re-integration so that the component which is not good enough (the content) can be improved along the dimensions that users value. And it cannot be improved unless the direction it needs to go into is aligned with the direction of the disruptive innovator. I won’t repeat the theory here, but it suffices to say that whatever will change television will do so by re-defining the core product not just the tools we use to consume it.

Dediu laid out his full theory in a post called “Tele Vision,” and it’s a great read. Bottom line:

… the answer is not to graft technology onto an archaic value network, but to build a new value network around new technology.

So that’s the challenge, then, when rethinking television — for Apple, Google or anyone. It’s not just remaking delivery mechanism, but what’s being delivered.

Thinking in terms of what companies are good at, this could be encouraging for Apple, if it indeed goes down that “Apps are the new channels” route that John Gruber writes about. That model completely rethinks what TV “content” can be.

As for Google, Dediu notes the one wholly new experiment that stands completely outside the current TV programming system: YouTube.

Here We Go Again: Rumors Suggest an Apple TV Set


Mark your calendars, Apple fans. Today’s officially the day that everyone’s finally out and openly speculating that Apple’s about to get really serious about its TV project, which has CEO Steve Jobs has previously described as “a hobby.” In other words, people think Apple is going to build its own HDTV set, somehow, some way, possibly this year.

Key Apple watchers weigh in:

And finally, this:

What An Apple TV Would Look Like – Lonelysandwich:

    Think that beautiful piece of glass [Apple's TV] will have an RF tuner input? No. Kill your tuner. Your tuner is of no use to you. Think your Apple TV set will have even an HDMI input? You even want an HDMI input? God, you’re so lame, you don’t even deserve this thing. Oh, you want to play your little games? Maybe you’ve heard of something called the App Store, the single biggest distributor of games on the planet. Built into the set. Oh, you want to play your collector’s edition Blu-ray discs? Play them on your Vizio, Derek. You disgust me.

    Color me intrigued but skeptical. Still, as Netflix and others have shown, the moribund TV model is ripe for disruption. Could Apple succeed where so many others have tried and failed? I remember thinking the mobile phone industry would be a tough nut to crack …

    Phil’s Last Stand: Tuesday’s Good Reads

    Some good stuff crossing the radar this week:

    Cognitive surplus? Clay Shirkey explains below:

    Forget Ping for Now; Apple TV's the Real News

    Apple TV

    Apple TV

    … iTunes in the context of Apple TV is vastly more interesting—in fact, Apple TV is by far the most enthralling thing Apple announced this week, a model for what Apple products should be more like.

    Apple TV’s integration with AirPlay and an upcoming, more powerful new Remote app soothes a lot of the anxiety about the inexplicable sense of disconnect between various Apple products.

    The Seeds of Apple’s Cloud – Gizmodo

    There was peculation that Apple would make good on its purchase of Lala this week by finally putting iTunes in the cloud, allowing you to stream your music library from anywhere. That didn’t happen. But the connectivity heralded by the new Apple TV to all IOS devices is a really cool step in the right direction.

    Despite it’s “meh” debut, the undercooked Ping might pay off farther down the road (name another social network that has more than 100 million credit card numbers already on file). The bigger announcement this week was the new Apple TV — not so much the odd “rent and don’t purchase” model, not even the Netflix integration, which should have been part of Apple TV from the git-go — but the way it easily brings together files on your Mac, iPad, iPhone and every other AirPlay enabled device third-party manufacturers can crank out.

    You could argue that other services like Boxee already do this and even allow more customization and better access to wider variety of file formats. But like everything else from Apple, the new Apple TV makes it easier, particularly if you’re already part of its ecosystem. And if you’re not, this might make you want to be.

    The Guy Who Bought the HD-DVD Player

    Thankfully, it wasn’t me. I waited. And I was lucky.

    This guy at Slate, not so much:

    In three short months, I was screwed by every cog in the gadget-industrial complex. The tech blogs convinced me that the format war would drag on for years. Sony pulled sketchy backroom deals behind my back. Netflix cut off my HD disc rentals. Even Toshiba did me dirty. Remember those seven free discs? Two of them (The Bourne Identity and 300) came with the player, but I had to mail in a UPC code to collect the other five. Perhaps the cereal-boxlike nature of this giveaway should’ve tipped me off that HD-DVD was the Frank Stallone of high-definition disc technology. Or maybe the pathetic list of available titles—The Hulk, Aeon Flux, Darkman—should’ve alerted me to Blu-ray’s back-catalog advantage. Anyway, the relevant point here is that I still haven’t received any of these terrible movies. You can keep them, Toshiba. I’m sure there’s someone somewhere who collects unplayable copies of Black Rain.

    Of course, there’s this refrain from those who threw support behind HD-DVD and not the winner, Blu-Ray, and pretty much everyone else who’s watching where media is headed in the next five years:

    If there’s any consolation for us HD-DVD-buying losers, it’s that disc-shaped physical media won’t be around much longer. Once high-definition digital downloads, like those available through Apple TV, hit the mainstream, Blu-ray will be as dead as HD-DVD. Take that, Sony!


    And remember: Hillary Clinton knew it was over when warner bros pulled out.