Eddy Cue, speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit:
“I do think television needs to be reinvented. Today, you live with a glorified VCR,” Cue said. “The problem is the interface.”
“It’s really hard to use [a cable box or satellite TV]. Setting something to record, if you didn’t watch something last night, if you didn’t set it to record, it’s hard to find, it may not be available. There may be some rights issues,” Cue said.
“It’s great to be able to tell your device, ‘I wanna watch the Duke basketball game, I don’t care what channel it’s on.’ I just want to watch the Duke basketball game. Today you got to bring in the TV, go through the guide, find which sports programs or whatever — it’s just hard to do.”
The state of television is in flux. Unlike the music industry, which moved to online purchases and then streaming, the dominant TV business model has yet to emerge. Apple is exploring all sides, trying to find their place in the emerging model. Apple TV, as currently implemented, is a portal. But Apple is also dipping its toes in the waters of original content.
Netflix has definitely found success with original content that is not dependent on cable companies for distribution. HBO has original content but is straddling the lines of the a la carte (HBO Now) and the more traditional bundle (as part of a cable package). Hulu and Amazon have their own approaches. Sports and more traditional programming add another wrinkle.
All of this adds up to a mish-mosh of standards. What’s needed is a unifying force to make it possible to watch all this content on demand while, at the same time, making the content universally and intelligently searchable and schedulable.
Seems to me that Apple TV is well placed to be that unifying portal, but an irresistible force is needed to bring all these disparate elements together.