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Most of KORTV’s live channels are free. They have a handful of premium channels, with subscription fees ranging from $1.99 to $3.99. One must subscribe to each channel individually. Video on demand requires a $4.99 subscription. While the service offers an abundance of live TV channels, on demand options are limited. The user interface has a feature similar to Bloomberg — the ability to browse live TV schedules. I expect to see more of this in the future, as more hybrid live/vod content channels launch on Apple TV.
For those of us who don’t speak Korean, KORTV is still an intriguing Apple TV channel. It encapsulates 17 live, streaming TV channels, with corresponding on demand content. Some have speculated that cable companies may make the jump to Apple TV, and this provides a model of how this can happen. Instead of 17 channels, imagine Time Warner or Comcast offering 500 channels with additional on demand content. It would cannibalize their business to some degree. However, as more people start cutting the cord and cancelling cable, it would provide a smooth transition to the truly digital domain — IPTV.
I think it would be great for consumers. While cable companies are not the regional natural monopolies they used to be, we still have little choice. I can only choose from two cable providers, and my homeowners association will not allow me to install a dish. With a lack of competition, we’re subject to very high fees for cable. It would be great for consumers if we could choose from many different media providers on Apple TV. As the platform matures, that seems to be the case. Those who claim that Apple limits choices haven’t been paying attention. Apple TV is still just a hobby, and it’s one of the cheapest devices that Apple makes. Nonetheless, the amount of content available is staggering.
I still think the future of video will marginalize live TV. We still need live TV for sporting events, award shows, and breaking news. However, most content can be made available on demand. Netflix has really led the way, offering whole seasons of original shows all at once.
Last and least, Apple TV adds ABC to the lineup. ABC is another content channel requiring a cable subscription for activation. Only a handful of cable providers enable access to this service. There are some interesting innovations, however. The ABC channel provides access to live programming from local affiliates. Even though I don’t have cable, and therefore cannot activate the channel, I am able to browse my local ABC affiliate’s schedule. This is another hint as to the future of Apple TV. Users can access live, local programming based on their computed geographic location. (continue…)