Apple TV 4: Using the App Store

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The video game industry is rife with payola-like corruption. There are too many lame games and apps that somehow get great reviews in the App Store, blogs and major websites. At best, you can look for descriptive reviews and try to get a sense of the game play. The lame racing game I purchased boasted that it actually had excellent controls, but did not specify that it used the touchpad for steering. This experience has had a chilling effect on my app purchases. I am weary of any app that isn’t free. It’s unfortunate that a few sleazy developers are ruining it for the decent ones. I don’t know who to trust, and unlike other app marketplaces, the App Store doesn’t allow trials or refunds.

The Apple TV 4 App Store Will Improve

Apple TV 4 is a relatively new device. Although developers can reuse a lot of their iOS code in tvOS, Apple TV still doesn’t have the traction to interest many developers. Every day, more apps are added to Apple TV, but there are still notable exceptions. Spotify’s absence on Apple TV is frustrating, especially since AirPlay has proven to be glitchy on the new device.

The dearth of tvOS apps is partly due to the smaller market. Apple TV is not selling nearly as well as the iPhone. Most people are content with their cable or satellite box. Game consoles, such as Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation offer better gaming and access to content providers such as Netflix, at a competitive price. In fact, Apple has yet to disclose Apple TV sales numbers, which means that sales are slow.

Media corporations and their deals with TV providers also stymie the progress of TV appliances. There are far too many Apple TV content apps that need to be activated with a cable or satellite subscription. This seems illogical. If you have cable, why would you watch the same content on Apple TV? Modern cable boxes provide on-demand access to content. Apple TV can only offer a better user experience, but the battle for “input 1” is usually lost to the cable box. It’s frustrating for cord-cutters like me. The technology has been here for over a decade, however, the industry still wants you to pay for a TV provider. Cable companies are the most common Internet service providers, however they refuse to be relegated to marginal cost bit-pushers.

Cable companies make higher profit margins selling cable, not Internet services. The cable industry has always been problematic and full of monopolistic tyranny and shady deals. Devices like Apple TV can only improve when these anti-competitive shackles have been removed.

The FCC has recently moved to allow third party companies to interface directly with cable services. This means a future model of Apple TV could replace your cable box. I still feel this isn’t the future of television. After all, digital cable is just a closed network. Your cable box is a computer, most likely running Linux. It is streaming video over the cable company’s closed network. For Apple TV and other TV appliances to advance, we need a radical paradigm shift that should have happened years ago. Until this happens, these devices won’t sell like hotcakes. Developers need customers to buy their apps. I think the Apple TV App Store will get better, but the industry needs to evolve before this happens. Apple, Google, Amazon, Roku and their customers are all just waiting for this to happen.

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