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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Apple TV could replace standard cable set-top boxes, suggests Eddy Cue

Apple TV could replace standard cable set-top boxes, suggests Eddy Cue
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MacNN Staff
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Nov 9, 2015, 01:26 PM
Apple is aiming to make it as easy as possible for consumers to pay and watch TV shows and channels the way they want to, according to comments made by Eddy Cue during an interview. Extra footage from Cue's interview with CNN Money has been published, with Cue seemingly indicating that Apple is more interested in providing customers what they want with existing providers than launching its own long-rumored TV service.

In comparison to the normal cable bundle, and attempts by companies to break apart the major sections into smaller services, Cue claims the Apple TV is a "much better service for consuming content." An Apple TV is still an add-on to existing cable services, said Cue, but the eventual end goal would be if a traditional set-top box wasn't required at all for such services.

When pressed about rumors Apple is creating its own streaming TV service, including recent comments from CBS CEO Les Moonves about Apple's ongoing negotiations, Cue responded with "The great thing is that Les is actually on Apple TV," in the form of the CBS All Access app. Providing complete cable packages is also a possibility, with Cue suggesting "If Comcast or any other provider wants to do that, they'll be able to do that with the current Apple TV."

"We want to get to the point where customers are able to buy whatever they want, however they want. We're not fixed into 'There's only one way to buy it.' Just like we've done with the App Store, where there have been things that have been free; things that you subscribe to; things that you pay for; things that are in-app. All of those capabilities will be here and we want that market to be able to develop."

As for rumors about Apple potentially producing its own TV shows, Cue did not outright dismiss the suggestion. "We love working with our partners. We're great at technology and they're great at creating content, and we think that's a great partnership to have." When pressed, Cue added "I think there's a tremendous amount of great content out there today, and we want to make it easier for customers to have access to it."
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Nov 9, 2015 at 04:48 PM. )
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Nov 9, 2015, 02:06 PM
As long as deals are cut with the content suppliers any streaming box could replace a cable box. Unfortunately, Apple will be the only company who wouldn't support local hard drive storage or recording. AppleTV will never replace the DVR and that's simply stupid as far as I'm concerned. I honestly don't understand why AppleTV doesn't support local storage despite having a USB port. I'd at least like to know Apple's reasons when every other streaming box supports local storage. Is it possible they don't want to support various makers' drives if something doesn't work properly? I think it puts AppleTV at a great disadvantage to rivals.
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Nov 9, 2015, 02:30 PM
@iphonerulez I can't speak for Apple but look at what they're doing with the iPhone, iPad and even Macs. The push is towards network storage with access to your data from several devices without you having to store that data on every device. The new Apple TV comes with lots of internal storage for certain things. Storing movies and TV shows takes a lot of storage and in many cases would not be easily upgradeable. If Apple provided access to large external disks, how would the data be stored? How would you clone that data to another disk when it fails or you run out of space? How would the movies and TV shows be stored on those disks to keep people from copying them to another disk and either giving them away or selling them? My last statement is the reason I think Apple isn't ready to provide external storage because the content suppliers feel they need to continue to make money for the next ten thousand years on every movie and show they've produced. Remember, when something obvious isn't included on a product, look for the money trail. Apple is having problems getting content on the Apple TV without cable and satellite TV subscriptions and that only has to do with control of the money stream.
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Nov 9, 2015, 05:23 PM
As iphonerulez points out, unless I can watch and record (for instance), College Football on ABC, CBS, NBC and ESPN, the ATV will never replace a cable company supplied DVR. 64GB of local storage is way too little. The current crop of DVRs max out a 1TB of local storage.
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Nov 9, 2015, 08:11 PM
Why do you need 'local' storage? If the data is being streamed, why can't it simply be stored on Apple's servers for you to stream at will? That's what the Apple TV is!!

The problem is getting access to that content requires agreements and such from content providers. Cable companies are in the way right now, as you have to have a cable subscription to access the content. Foolish, if you don't want cable.

Additionally, each freaking channel requires that you put in your credentials, and on every Apple TV, which is a royal pain. Why haven't they simply added a mechanism to enter your credentials ONCE and tie it to your AppleID? I'm pretty sure it's not because Apple wants it to be difficult for you to access content.

It's taking Apple a lot longer to take on the cable industry than it did for music and even movies, but hopefully they keep making progress. There's no way I'm ever going to spend what the cable companies are asking for a full subscription, but if I can pick and choose for a few dollars what I want to watch, now, I'm interested.
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Nov 9, 2015, 08:46 PM
We've already moved back two steps for the one step we took forward some time ago, with regard to the loss of being able to rent a TV show episode (and I'm pretty certain it was at the networks' request, not Apple's).

Some mumbo-jumbo about wanting to "own" the content means now we can't just "rent" a TV show episode for a buck or three; rather, we must purchase the episode or the season for a ridiculously inflated price. My wife and I have stopped consuming sitcoms and TV shows through the AppleTV because of that and rely on Hulu, which is MUCH cheaper.

I don't want to own the entire 7th season of "Mad Men" -- I want to watch each episode exactly once, for a buck or three, and be done with it. I won't ever go back and watch them again, and, if I do, it would be so seldom as to justify purchasing the season instead of "renting" each episode individually. It certainly wouldn't justify a $50 price tag for the season, which, depending on the length of the season, works out to $5 to $8 per episode. No thanks.

Apple has quite a ways to go with the networks, and, as TV is a much bigger fish to fry than music, will have a harder time convincing all the network execs of their master plan -- if they are ever able to.
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Nov 10, 2015, 03:08 PM
if Time Warner can replace their cable box with a $99 Roku 3 (and a $10/mo fee), then I am sure they can do it with the Apple TV. It just requires the TWC app.
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Nov 10, 2015, 05:09 PM
I guess I still don't see what makes TV better than plugging an HDMI cable from my receiver to my Pro Macbook, with Force Touch, and having the full power of seeing and watching anything from any website, paid or otherwise... and if that means enabling Flash for various streaming media sites, well, then so be it, a lot of people still use Flash.

There you go, I just turned my computer into a streaming media box.

Better still, I can watch seasons through my blu-ray player, which has much higher video quality than over-compressed streaming 1080p (and I imagine far better than any "4K" streamed over the internet), and for cheaper than many services, as Diablo mentioned.

The so-called streaming media boxes (e.g., Roku) seem extraordinarily limited, and many new ones on the market today are corrupted by bad quality control. I hate unnecessary constraints/restrictions on what I can do with my toys, as they make me feel depressed. (At least FireTV Stick, as cheap as it is, wins in terms of portability and free content for Prime members.) So, basically what I would want from a streaming media box is a full computer running OS X, not another thumb-throbbing iDevice running iOS.
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