Wait. So cable TV companies are the reason Apple can’t develop a successful television model?

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Well, this is interesting. While you were out cooking things over a fire in the rain, celebrating the summer that just left and an impending fall that people seem to think is beautiful, Jean-Louis Gassee, a former president of Apple’s products division, took to his blog to share some eye-catching thoughts on the possibility of an Apple TV set.

“The idea is exciting and so obvious, it’s got to happen,” Gassee wrote. “Imagine a true plug-and-play experience. One set with only two wires: power and the cable TV coax. Turn it on, assert your Apple ID credentials and you’re in business. The program guide looks good and is easy to navigate; pay channels are just a click and a password away. The TV runs apps, from games to FaceTime and Skype, it just works with your other iDevices and also acts as a Wi-Fi base station using the cable provider’s Internet service.”

Yes, sir. Imagine that. No more wires. No more annoying, unreliable connections. And, most importantly, no more speculation on when or if the giants at Apple are finally going to introduce a practical model for such a thing into our everyday lives. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

It does. So what’s been the problem? As the wonderful people at PCWorld point out, the biggest hurdle for such an idea may be the actual cable companies that currently stand between a normal person and the latest episode of “Glee.”

“It’s assumed that such a device would use a CableCARD,” the site wrote. “CableCARDs plug into the back of a TV set and perform the functions of a set-top box. The devices have never gained much traction in the market. Critics say it’s because cable TV companies are incompetent when it comes to new technologies.”

Gassee agrees.

“Carriers looked at the CableCARD and saw complicated field service calls in their future,” he wrote. “A separate, outboard set-top box is easy to diagnose and fix; a card inside the TV set, not so much. It generates a host of hard-to-understand bugs: Is the card working? Is it kind of working but causing the TV to malfunction? Is the TV working but killing the card?… and so on. More calls, more finger pointing, more expensive field techs.”

Who knew? You really mean to tell me that one of the biggest reasons Apple has never been able to successfully launch an iTV is because our day-to-day cable men/women simply don’t want to put up with learning the ins and outs of how the technology their field requires has evolved? Wow.

What this says about the capabilities of Internet television is simple: They are boundless. Sure, we may have known that what we once considered the future of technology is increasingly creeping up on us and becoming more and more like the present. But when one of the biggest obstacles left in this crusade to have a one-stop shop for all things tech-y is a mere product of convenience or knowledge, we can all pretty much believe that the writing is on the wall when it comes to which direction television-watching is moving.

That $3.9 billion “secret expenditure” Apple made recently may indeed be worth more than its weight in gold after all.


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