Rumors, rumors, rumors lead to …

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Before we get back to our regularly scheduled blogging, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer upthis fantastic column from The Associated Press’s Frazier Moore that you can find in its entirety here. Not only does he take down idiots such as myself who have shunned cable television altogether, but he also raises a few very valuable questions about the current state of television. It’s thoughtful. It’s smart. It’s pointed. And most of all, it’s a great read. Honestly. Go check that out before reading further. Go on. 

Keep going.

Back yet? Good. Now we can return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

…  So all that Apple news was much ado about … wait for it … something! Exclamation points abound.

Yes, in addition to the announcement of another iPad (conspicuously without taking the leap to anoint it the “iPad 3,” mind you), the heads behind Apple trotted out an update to its Apple TV set-top box today, with the latest generation of the product set to go on sale next week. And as the fine people over atCnet outlined earlier today, the new box will offer the following:

– 1080p movies and TV shows from iTunes Store

– A redesigned 1080p user interface

– An ability to re-download purchased movies through iCloud

– “Genius” recommendations for movies 

– Photo Stream resolution bumped up to 1080p

– Single-core A5 chip

– 1080p output

So many features, technology reporters said to one another with big eyes and open mouths at the media event. Ryan Nakashima of The AP, meanwhile, said the following …

“The box will continue to offer online movie streaming services that require monthly subscriptions such as Netflix. On Wednesday, Netflix Inc. said customers will be able to sign up for its service directly from an Apple TV box and pay for it through an iTunes account,” Nakashima wrote before explaining how unfortunate it is that not everyone is sold on the iCloud feature.

“Movies from Sony Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. will work on iCloud. But those from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures and News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox won’t initially be available because of existing deals with Time Warner Inc.’s premium pay TV channel, HBO,” he continued. “HBO’s policy is to prevent studios from selling movies on iTunes when the movies are playing on its service, which usually begins within a year of their theatrical release. Consumers who buy movies before they start playing on HBO will be allowed to access them through iCloud. HBO made an exception for sister company Warner Bros. to participate in iCloud in this way, and it will likely do the same for Universal and Fox, said HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson. (Warner Bros. declined comment.)”

And so it goes. As you’ll see if you click over to Cnet, the new box will essentially make your television screen look like an iPod or iPad. It should also be noted that as far as Cnet is concerned, there isn’t much of an incentive to upgrade the Apple TV device if you already have one. Amidst all these announcements and supposed innovations, one thing will still remain the same when this hits stores next week, and that’s the price. Like the models that came before it, the Apple TV set-top box will be available for about a hundred bucks.

The takeaway? Well, regardless of technology experts/writers/meanies thumbing their collective nose at the thing, this is important because it signifies — if nothing else — the notion that Apple is serious about the whole Internet television thing (as I’ve said about 5 trillion times already), and in case you were wondering, no, the people who work there haven’t forgotten about it and what the future may hold.

Sure, these might not be mind-boggling revelations, and yes, maybe if you actually already had one of these things, Wednesday’s announcements probably mean little. But speaking as someone who doesn’t already own an Apple TV box and doesn’t have cable television, reading about the upgrades in interface and picture quality sure does make me think harder about maybe going out and picking one up within the next few months. In fact, after reminding myself that Netflix is going to be the only outlet for “Arrested Development”‘s grand return next year, the idea of springing for the tiny box actually seemed more and more like a viable option, the more and more I thought about it.

As for you? Well, how would I know what you are thinking, silly? What am I? A mind-reader? That said, if you have even the faintest desire to cut the chord within the next year or so, Apple TV proved today that it should be something to at least consider, if for no other reason than the notion that improvements and advancements are probably going to be on the way sooner than we think.

And by “on the way,” I mean “within the next three to five years, Apple will have a stranglehold on the television industry,” of course. Remember: This was the last thing Steve Jobs wanted before he passed away. Today’s news is only the beginning. Grabbing one of these things before the price balloons to $96,029 in five years when the world won’t even remember the word “television” might just be an idea to consider.


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