Archives For Apple

chromecast-diagram

As we await Chromecast delivery, an interesting TiVo rumor has crossed our desk. Supposedly Series 5 and TiVo Mini hardware will leverage the same sort of technologies (DIAL? via Flingo?) that Google’s Chromecast has implemented. Cast is similar to AirPlay in that a smartphone, tablet, or computer pipes video to a television. However, unlike Apple’s solution, Cast and DIAL are open to all developers and content streams directly via the cloud-to-TV rather than being relayed through a local device – meaning we’d take less of a hit on mobile battery life and television streaming performance.

dial-tivo

As most regulars know, TiVo’s been far more successful litigating and licensing their patent portfolio than in moving retail hardware and the Premiere line never really lived up to initial “One Box” marketing – given a meager app selection and generally poor performance. However, the incoming TiVo Series 5 presents a new opportunity to excite us content-loving consumers. And, in a classic chicken/egg scenario, while TiVo may not have a substantial enough customer base to warrant app development (as HBO indicated at the Cable Show and MIA Amazon Instant updates)… Google Chromecast does.

It’s quite conceivable that Google moved more Chromecast devices in the last few days than TiVo has in the year or more. So it’s a platform ripe for development. Beyond the existing Netflix and YouTube integration, we know Pandora is on-board and Sling and Redbox Instant are registered DIAL developers. With many more sure to follow. If TiVo can leverage these Chromecast-capable apps as an endpoint, they immediately expand their platform far beyond what looks to be an abandoned  Developer Channel. Could be exciting…!

Apple DVR proposal would pay for skipped ads

Have you heard? Apple wants to get into the TV business. And the latest? The company supposedly wants to create a premium service that allows users to skip commercials. But wait, there’s more! Apple apparently thinks it can set up a revenue-sharing system that will pay programmers for the ads that viewers skip. According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin and “people briefed on the conversations,” Apple is literally proposing to compensate media companies for the dollars they lose to commercial skipping technology.

There are so many oddities and possible permutations to this particular idea that I have to wonder if the media leaks are accurate. First off, there’s the premium ad-skipping service. Haven’t we had DVRs for more than a decade? What’s new? And if nothing, why would Apple need or want to negotiate some new type of payment plan to do what TiVo or other OTA DVRs already do?

Second, there’s the issue of determining the value of a skipped commercial. Is an ad worth more depending on when and where it’s skipped? If viewers increase ad-skipping behavior with other services, is the value of the ad decreased? What if a viewer sees part of an ad, but not the whole thing? How is the revenue split decided? Will Apple provide data on user behavior to programmers to validate ad-skipping fees?

Third, if Apple is willing to negotiate with programmers, why not just use the standard retransmission fee model? Sure, it sucks. But does create a compensation plan that requires complex evaluations for every commercial skipped sound any better?

Maybe Apple’s proposal to programmers is actually a modified retransmission scheme with blanket ad-skipping fees worked in. However, even that seems odd because it suggests Apple is willing to set itself up to pay more for content in order to attract licensing deals. Ultimately that move would put it at a serious disadvantage among pay-TV providers. How would Apple stay competitive?

The whole situation here sounds weird to me. The way I figure it, either the news reports are wrong, or Apple still has a lot of work to do figuring out television programming in the living room.

appletv-espn

After three years of effectively, if not contractually, providing exclusive ESPN360 ESPN3 WatchESPN set-top box access, the Xbox 360 gains a competitor in the Apple TV ($99) today. Further, as revealed to us at the Cable Show, HBO GO has also made an Apple TV app appearance. However, unlike the Xbox 360 or forthcoming media-centric Xbox One, Apple doesn’t require an annual fee to access compelling online content. And Comcast seems to like Apple a whole lot more than Roku, as they’re permitting HBO GO aTV authentication for their subscribers.

x1voice

Following in the footsteps of DirecTV, Comcast is the latest provider to bring voice navigation to the television:

The X1 Remote app first launched in mid-2012, giving X1 customers the ability to control the TV, navigate Xfinity On Demand choices, search for programs and tune to TV shows and movies directly from their iPhones. In addition to uniting the TV screen with customers’ mobile devices, the latest version adds the ability to issue voice commands for guide navigation and content discovery. For example, users can say “When is the next Phillies game?” or “Show me all action movies on HBO.”

Continue Reading…

We have no religious issue with porting an Apple app to Android. If it made sense for us to do that, we would do that. #

Apple CEO, Tim Cook

CW on Apple TV

Internet-delivered TV is a messy market right now, and into the fray, Apple TV has tossed a new partnership with the CW network. The CW will soon have an app on Apple TV devices that shows TV episodes the day after they air on cable. All content will be ad-supported, and no pay-TV subscription will be required.

Apple TV continues to putter along, gathering users, but not particularly breaking through the clutter of Internet-connected media streamers. The launch of a new CW app is noteworthy, however. It marks the first time Apple has offered content from a network outside of the iTunes store and sites like Netflix and Hulu.

From the CW side, the move is interesting because the network is offering cable content as a stand-alone, ad-supported offering. Even ABC is requiring authentication for streaming content, and those shows are (also) otherwise available for free over the air. The CW app is also available on the Xbox and Windows 8 devices.

Apple TV, meanwhile, may get another boost later this year with access to the HBO Go app. There are rumors that Apple and HBO are negotiating terms, though fans can already access HBO content on the Apple TV by using AirPlay to stream video from an iPad.

tivo-android

TiVo has just refreshed its line of Android apps, with the highlight being Jellybean (4.2) support. Unfortunately, TiVo Stream capabilities remain MIA… despite Android representing greater than 50% of US smartphones and presumably frustrated MSO partners.

The complete rundown:

  • Additional Away Mode functionality so that users can manage their Season Passes and ToDo Lists while on the go!
  • The new TiVo tablet Browse experience
  • Support for Jelly Bean (Android 4.2)
  • General Bug Fixing Continue Reading…