Apple TV gets an upgrade; Amazon wants you to know it’s NOT talking to cable providers.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

This guy. I'll tell you. This guy. (Photo courtesy The Associated Press)

This guy. I’ll tell you. This guy. (Photo courtesy The Associated Press)

Apple and Amazon — it wouldn’t be a Friday in late January if we didn’t give you a quick two-for-one to close the week out, right? Right. So, let’s go.

Apple, you seductive beast, you

Timmy Cook’s pet project is back in the news, friends. Thursday, a whole boatload of rumors began swirling about news regarding the company’s set-top box. Yes. Apple TV is getting an upgrade. From the highly reliable Mark Gurman from the highly reliable 9to5mac …

“We’ve learned that Apple is making progress on its development of a successor to the current Apple TV and that the device is well into testing,” he wrote 21 hours ago. “We are led to believe that the new device, which is said to be a set-top box rather than a full-fledged TV set, will likely be introduced in the first half of 2014. We understand that the product will include a revamped operating system that will be based on iOS. … We understand that the new Apple TV will include new types of content, leading us to believe that an App Store or a ‘Game Store’ for the device is under consideration.”

And that’s sort of it. A new app and game store. A possible motion controller. Use of the same software featured on iPhones and iPads. Not much by way of TV stuff, right? Right. Enter Zack Whittaker of ZDNet, who makes a strong point …

“By simply opening up the door to another point of purchase directly in the living room, Apple’s revenues could see a significant spike in the following fiscal quarters,” he wrote. “During Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, the company generated $4.3 billion in iTunes Store and App Store revenue, up 22 percent on the same quarter a year earlier.”

Thus it must be asked: Could this added step into the living room be nothing more than another movement toward clearing the way for Internet television domination? Elbow your way into the crowd, pretend like you’re a wallflower, wait for the right time, and then BOOM — everyone simply can’t imagine their lives without an Apple TV.

Kind of like an iPod, no?

Still, plans for an actual television seem to be wishful thinking, according to … well … every news organization that seems overly excited about this non-story story. Keep flirting all you want, Easy A. That dress of yours still looks infinitely better on Roku, anyway. Call a cab, sweetheart. It’s about time you retire for the night.

To explore pay TV or not to explore pay TV, that is the question

The Wall Street Journal turned some heads earlier this week when it reported that the Washington Post‘s new owner had decided to approach big boy television companies about possibly licensing their channels for an Internet-based pay service. It would be like your typical, run-of-the-mill cable deal — pay for the channels, watch them online.

But then Amazon went and did this …

“After initially declining to comment, Amazon said in a statement late Tuesday, ‘We continue to build selection for Prime Instant Video and create original shows at Amazon Studios, but we are not planning to license television channels or offer a pay-TV service,'” a trio of writers reported Tuesday, only to follow that up with, “Amazon has approached at least three big media conglomerates seeking rights to distribute their channels online, people familiar with the matter said.”

Because in addition to inexplicable wars, terrorism, famine, poverty, racism, bigotry and financial ruin, the notion of if Amazon wants to stream “The Big Bang Theory” live is so darn important that all rumors must be kept secret and insinuations must immediately be dispelled and then anonymously challenged. It’s like, really. This stuff is soooooo important that nobody wants to go on record? People are paid to dedicate their working lives to figuring out if the company is merely talking to networks? Forget imminent threat to all athletes at the Olympics — let’s report on if Amazon Prime will someday offer NBC at a discount!

Anyway, the most intriguing nugget in the story? Check this out:

“Amazon invested about $1 billion in content in 2013, according to Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali. Spending on streaming video, as well as other initiatives like grocery delivery and mobile devices, has hurt the company’s profit margins. Launching an online pay-TV service likely would mean higher content-licensing costs for its streaming video business.”

Wow, the amount of money blown on nonessential (though albeit fairly neat and culture-shifting) technology is nuts. A billion dollars on grocery delivery and “Alpha House?” Goodness, gracious, what a cottage industry this has become. Oh, and for those looking for the news here, consider: If Bezos goes and changes the game enough to force the costs for content-licensing to go up … well, what do you think is going to happen to those $9 Netflix subscriptions we have all grown to love?

Money makes the world go ’round, friends. Money makes the world go ’round.

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