Archives For Apple

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…

sad_tivoMultiple data points had indicated a TiVo Mini launch this week… yet here we are, Miniless. As to the shifting announcement, one can only guess – perhaps TiVo’s still getting the device’s technical or marketing ducks in a row. Better yet, maybe they’re taking time to reevaluate the TiVo tax. Regardless, TiVo support seems to have confirmed the situation as we understand it:

We had to delay the release. Unfortunately we have not announced when the release was rescheduled to.

So while we wait, or perhaps in lieu of an eventual TiVo Mini purchase, by using an iPhone or iPad as an intermediary, TiVo Stream owners can already move video from TiVo to a secondary television via Apple TV. Now it is a bit of a hack and, in my experimentation, I did experience some dropped frames. But for occasional usage or those on a tight budget, here’s how you’d expand the capabilities of a TiVo Stream: Continue Reading…

tivo-stream

We’re massive fans of the TiVo Stream. While imperfect, it truly offers the best way to beam your live and recorded television around the home…. assuming you have both a TiVo Premiere of some sort and an iDevice end-point. And so it shall remain for Android owners in the foreseeable future. RCN, a TiVo MSO partner, has soft launched TiVo Stream rentals – running a reasonable $5/month (given the $130 retail price point). As a discussion side note, it was mentioned that “Android support is coming, but not anytime soon.” Of course, Android has always taken a bit of a back seat to the iPhones and iPads for TiVo – which we assume has been both something of a strategic decision and a technological concern related to Google beefing up the platform’s security (as TiVo mentioned at CES). So the TiVo app might make it’s way to Android 4.2 later this month, but it’ll be some time before my Kindle Fire HD receives TiVo Stream capabilities.

(Thanks Sam and Jason!)