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I purchased Apple TV over two years ago. Back then, Netflix was the only third-party channel. Hulu Plus for Apple TV was a dream, not a reality. Apple TV has come a long way. Every few months, I am pleased with the additional content and features. This evolution will continue, and recent developments provide hints as to the direction.
Rumors abound about iTV — the all-in-one Apple TV set. This might materialize, but I have my doubts. A set-top box can work with any TV. It’s a hard sell to get people to ditch their HD TV and get an “iTV”, especially with 4K just around the corner. If iTV launches with 4K capabilities, it would be too expensive for most people. Apple has become far too accessible to create an ultra-premium TV.
Apple can simply sell more set-top boxes than all-in-one TV sets. From a strategic point of view, iTV doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t totally denounce the idea. Apple has a way of reinventing existing technology, taking it to a whole new level. That said, Apple needs to sell a lot of these things. A set-top box can gain far more traction.
An all-in-one Apple TV set would likely offer higher quality and better design than anything else on the market. That said, a set-top box would work with any TV and users would be more inclined to buy an upgrade every few years. People don’t buy HDTVs often. I have a 6-year-old HDTV, and will consider a replacement when 4K becomes accessible. If Apple TV releases a new set-top box this year, I may buy it if the features are compelling.
I doubt that Apple will deliver an all-in-one TV set. I think Apple TV will evolve into higher capacity machine with a faster processor, enabling gaming capabilities without a separate iOS device. The addition of Bluetooth capabilities seems to indicate compatibility with gaming controllers. Unfortunately, with only 8GB of storage capacity, the current models of Apple TV won’t be able to run decent games. Indeed, rented movies and TV shows are known to disappear from the buffer if a user watches other content.
Apple is working on some major deals. Negotiations are proceeding with Time Warner to provide subscribers access to on-demand content. Negotiating with Time Warner isn’t easy, as stymied negotiations with CBS have revealed. Apple is also working directly with content providers to bring their programs to Apple TV. Apple recently acquired Matcha.tv, creators of a content portal app similar to Yidio. Whatever happens, rest assured that Apple TV will continue to improve. I’m impressed with how far it has come. Many people expect a refresh of Apple TV, or even iTV, to be announced at their upcoming event on September 10th.