back to article Apple about to make Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY - report

Apple TV users might be getting new channels, and Cupertino some more money, according to insiders in the firm. The Cupertino giant is in talks to put out a subscription television service with Fox, CBS and the Discovery Networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple is currently part of a conglomerate that includes ABC, …

  1. Frank Bough

    I don't get it

    Apple already has a streaming service, and it's the best of the bunch. The problem is that it is eye-wateringly expensive. If Apple want to bring down prices, I'm all for it, if they want me to pay £3 for a TV show, then they're going nowhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it

      No no. They want you to pay ten times £3, every month, whether you watch the shows or not.

  2. btrower

    I wonder

    When will it become apparent that our copyright and patent and other regulatory regimes are killing us? Apple has the money right now to absolutely dominate this whole thing by buying up all the infrastructure and copyrights. The only thing preventing a Cabal of cash-rich monsters swallowing the economy are a bunch of rickety laws designed for an industrial age quite unlike what we find ourselves in now.

    The people running Apple have more than $100,000,000,000 dollars ready to spend and a dominant position in a number of markets that absolutely *rain down* cash. When you have that kind of leverage, every dollar from your massive stash goes a lot further.

    On the upside, either because they are actually afraid of getting caught or have not thought of it yet, I don't see Apple going entirely evil and end-running anti-combines rules quite yet. They could pretty easily create a Gordian knot of ownership and control that made it so they call the shots all-round. That notion of iLife could get downright scary when you have to pay to use your own genes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      "...a bunch of rickety laws..." Great, so you're implying why bother putting pants on?

      "...I don't see Apple going entirely evil..." But if you have seen it at all, isn't that enough?

      The holders want the image of a high dollar value, so the quicker Apple bungles about and makes really bad decisions (iWatch or iAnything lately), the worse off the holders. I think the 1 movie that Apple TV shows is what companies don't want to see: "Screw you for profit". Can't miss it, it's always on. If you don't have Apple TV, tune into ChromeCast anytime.

      Shit only flies airs for so long.

    2. marturion

      Perhaps

      Apple's problem is that all that money is outside the US, and the content providers they would like to pair up with are in the US. GIven the current tax regime in the US by the idiot in the White House, that money wont be coming back anytime soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps

        "all that money is outside the US, and the content providers they would like to pair up with are in the US. "

        Right.

        So fund it the same way they've funded the share buybacks - issue bonds in the US.

        Strange but true.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Progress - what progress..?

    Yeuch!

    Thanks but I'll give Apple TV a miss if it's offering the dreadful Fox channel. Their news channel has to be the worst bar none on the planet. It's so bad it makes the Sun newspaper look good and that's saying something.

    Apple TV hasn't moved much at all since becoming a "device to relay video" from ipad's and iphones onto your telly or watch the occasional youtube video.

    1. Hellcat

      Re: Progress - what progress..?

      Until they make devices that play nicely with other systems, then no thanks Apple. I'm not going to replace my phones, PCs, tablets, TV etc with iDevices just to be able to use a single device.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: Progress - what progress..?

        I agree. It's fine if you only use Apple kit and services (and want to throw yet more money at them).

        I'm not still sure if its the case, but don't Apple TVs only play video if it's in very specific formats? So if you rip your own legally purchased DVD/BR (ahem) then it has to be in MP4/AAC or something? That's the reason I decided on a WDTV which has pretty much played everything I've thrown at it.

        Similarly it's a bit annoying that there doesn't seem to be any third party plugin for my Synology NAS that will allow an iOS device to pick up music directly from the NAS, rather than having to go via iTunes on the Mac.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Progress - what progress..?

          I'm not still sure if its the case, but don't Apple TVs only play video if it's in very specific formats?

          Not if it's Airplaying from a MacBook running VLC :)

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Progress - what progress..?

          > Similarly it's a bit annoying that there doesn't seem to be any third party plugin for my Synology NAS that will allow an iOS device to pick up music directly from the NAS, rather than having to go via iTunes on the Mac.

          Why use a 3rd party plugin when a Diskstation should do it itself? (Although, in all honesty, I've not tried it myself as I've got a WDTV box instead of the Apple variant).

          http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/87489-setting-up-synology-nas-media-services-with-apple-tv

          It does has the added step of having to do a "Play to Apple TV" from your Video Station app on your iDevice (or Android device, I assume), rather than browsing content on your telly, though.

        3. RudeUnion

          Re: Progress - what progress..?

          Nope. Apple TV 4 now supports app installs and updates just like other Apple devices, so apps like AirVideo play pretty much everything seamlessly. The only problem that I've encountered right now is x265 4K video. Considering it's a 1080p device, it's not a big problem right now.

          I've come from over a decade of Tversity, Plex, PS3 Media Server, etc. On my PC and becoming adept at file formats and conversion, but this thing takes the annoyance out, and it's super easy for the family.

          I've used WDTV and it works well, but it's very basic. Even Smart TV's need lots of work to catch Apple on how seemless they've executed the ATV 4. I'm watching more online content than ever before because this thing makes it super fast and easy in my living room. And throwing video and my phone or tablet display wirelessly over to it kicks ass! There's lots of pluses. I'm happy with it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Progress - what progress..?

        I'm not going to replace my phones, PCs, tablets, TV etc with iDevices just to be able to use a single device.

        You can get software that IMHO works better than the Airplay sharing itself, also for PCs. It's called AirParrot - just do a search for it. Been using it for a few years now, and Reflector (now v2) to share ithings onto my desktop. Very handy stuff to do presentations without having a fight with wires.

    2. Kar98

      Re: Progress - what progress..?

      Oh! Is that what I'm supposed to do with it? Here I am downloading stuff willy-nilly, convert it with handbrake, drop it into iTunes and then watch it on the big TV screen. It also does Netflix and Hulu streaming, but the video quality is a lot better streaming it from the XBox One. Oh, and the free HBO Go activation I found somewhere.

  4. Qingdom

    Bandwidth caps

    You know... as much as we're moving to streaming services, there's still the problem of bandwidth caps imposed by internet service providers under the clause of "fair use"... usually these caps are around 250gb-450gb/mo...

    Over here in the US, on the consumer end comcast/xfinity used to have a 250gb/mo cap before speeds were throttled. They stopped that for a year or two, but thats not to say its not coming back. Verizon FIOS has a clause in the t&c that it may cap bandwidth due to excessive use. Time Warner has a cap. businesses do not have a cap, but their monthly costs are priced at a premium.

    So whats to say streaming HD content will not affect this cap for services with ISP's in other countries as well?

  5. Matthew 17

    UK media rights problems

    One of the big problems is that the likes of Sky seem to have bagged the rights to anything you'd want to watch forcing you to buy into their expensive crappy service.

    I quite like the ATV as a device, however the content is very small and what's there is far, far too expensive to consider.

    I tried Netflix, liked the idea however almost everything I searched for wasn't there.

    I can listen to almost anything I fancy on iTunes or Spotify, it's a shame there isn't an equivalent service to let me watch the same level of content.

    Will have to stick to Popcorn-Time for the moment I feel.

    1. Len Silver badge

      Re: UK media rights problems

      What Apple is doing here is circumventing the existing gatekeepers (cable companies) that make money out of bundling popular channels with niche channels and selling that package at inflated prices. Very nice if you get 200 channels but if you only want to watch 3 channels you’ll still pay for the others.

      By now trying to circumvent the gatekeepers, Apple could make separate deals with tv channels and come out cheaper/smaller packages. While this first instalment is clearly aimed at US cable companies there is no reason why that won’t come to Europe later.

      There has been a long standing rumour that Apple is working on a 4th generation AppleTV. The rumour has it that the new hardware would go hand in hand with opening it up for a proper SDK and App Store for the AppleTV. In addition to games, smart home apps etc. it would allow the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Eurosport, National Geographic, Dave etc. to add their own channels to the AppleTV (some free, some paid presumably). They could also easily be geo-locked to UK only users to solve some of the rights issues.

      The hold up is supposedly the Comcast merger which threw all content deals out of the window. If Apple has now changed strategy and has decided to compete with Comcast instead of working with them this development might suddenly come unstuck again…

      1. td97402

        Re: UK media rights problems

        Well, in the US, it is not always the cable companies doing the bundling. It is the content providers. If you want to carry NBC then you are going to have to buy the other channels they own, like USA, SyFy, etc.

    2. BrightSpark

      Re: UK media rights problems

      Check out any of the following on Netflix for a range of quality productions.

      House of Cards

      The Killing

      Orange is the new black

      Breaking Bad

      Damages

      I agree with your comments on Sky and struggle with the justification as its hellish expensive for the limited number of channels we watch. Unfortunately I have to answer to higher powers in the house. :(

      1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Re: UK media rights problems

        Ahhh yore higher powers seem to have more influence than most :_) just dump Sky

  6. Scuby

    The Rights Holders aren't helping!

    Just take a look at the HBO Now offering that was announced, that won't be available in the UK, nor will the others I suspect.

    They love to jump on the piracy=bad bandwagon, but they don't help themselves.

    If they offered the content globally, for the same cost, at the same release time, for say 50p\cents per episode, that would be a whole ton of revenue per episode they don't get at the moment.

    The same for some subscription services. AppleTV has Netflix but not Amazon Prime. Why not?

    I buy BD releases with Digital Copies in Ultraviolet (I used to get them into Apple but the content providers stopped doing that meaning I now have 2 separate "cloud" libraries), yet there is no Ultraviolet compatible app (Flixster or BlinkBox) available on AppleTV.

  7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Comcast strives to provide the best partner service possible

    Apple has also been in talks with Comcast to deliver a US service, though people familiar with the matter said that Cupertino was feeling it was being strung along by the telco.

    No, no. Apple is overreacting. Yes, they called Comcast last August and were on hold until November, but then a Comcast VP said he'd be able to get out there for a meeting sometime between March and September of 2016, provided Apple could promise there would be someone in the office then. And in the meantime, they made Apple a very nice offer to upgrade for only an additional $10 million a month for the first six months.

  8. Nifty

    Youtube with Roku allows super convenient casting from iPad to TV but I want foreign TV channels like DW that are free to air (their non rights-restricted content). It can all be streamed fuss free in an iPad but Apple just won't do it with Apple TV.

    The minute that Apple TV can show ANY and ALL streamed video cast from a iPhone/iPad is the moment that I'd buy one.

  9. Michael Habel

    First off I suspect the price of the G2 (CR)Apple TV to fall, now that its support in the hacking community has officially ended, I guess going on near a Year now? Even at ~99€ when it was new, why would anyone still want that when you can get an Android Box that does the same thig(s), and more for less? And have the ability of running XBMC / Kodi without having to worry about rooting it first? Sure the 2G ATV was cool. But, (Cr)Apple has since kinda took'a huge Dump on the ATV Brand. So huge that its not worth poking a Stick at IMHO. MINIX have since eaten that Devices reason d'etre and made it its own. That is unless you really love being tied down to iTunes. Which personally I dont!

    1. Lusty

      "and more for less?"

      Less money, maybe, but the Apple TV has a much lower cost than anything from Google. Not all cost is monetary, Apple are just the only company who only take money for their products, Google takes all sorts from you and your family in order to make the purchase price lower. For instance, Apple don't have a website showing my location at any given time since I bought my iPhone (yes, Google has a website showing your meanderings with your Android spy phone)...

  10. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Apple TV Gen 2 and YouTube

    I've read that the Gen 2 and previous versions of the Apple TV will no longer support YouTube.

    Or perhaps Google ("Do No Evil, except on Tuesdays") YouTube will no longer support a bunch of slightly dusty hardware.

    It's a good thing that these gadgets are cheap.

  11. Steve Barnett
    Meh

    Apple TV and Apple Store

    I bit the bullet a couple of years ago and bought 2 apple TVs and they were dire I sold them on and replaced them with a new Samsung TV and a Chromecast both of which work well enough to deliver HD down our super thin pipes; we are on a pretty mediocre bandwidth 3.7Mb/s. I tried to use the Apple Store a few times each time the Movies I'd selected either failed to play or broke during play, no resolution from Apple sadly. So why bother there are loads of better/cheaper options even my Playstation is more reliable.

  12. shufflingB
    Holmes

    Should be pretty easy ..

    although they're barking up the wrong door if they think it's about video content though; they're not the first to the party as they were with iTunes ... you can get a ton of content really easily already. Trick would be getting an App Store on the damn thing and opening it up for others to make a bit of money from it ... if they did that they could make an absolute killing.

  13. Michael Habel

    Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY?!

    So they're gonna allow Kodi onto their Boxes then?!

    That's about the ONLY way an Apple TV can suck less then it does.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use Apple TV

    ...to display photos of my Beemer and my Rolex collection on my B&O Avant, streamed from my retina iMac and snapped on my rose gold iPhone 6s plus. I'm desperate to add Siri to this heady mix, so will be buying the new Apple TV as soon as my exec assistant stops talking about her idiot fiancé and upcoming wedding and gets the order in. Definitely a winner.

  15. Marty McFly
    Mushroom

    Still passing on Apple TV

    Yes, I have two old ones already. They are in a pissing match with Amazon over streaming Prime content. And now they are going to partner with one of the truly evil companies out there, Comcast??!!??

    Take away my headphone jack, squabble with Amazon, and now working with Comcast??? Apple has Jumped the Shark since SJ moved on.

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