A real “smart TV” should seamlessly unify all of this content so that users don’t have to put much effort into finding something they want to watch.
That’s why Apple is a perfect candidate to make a true smart TV happen. Apple already knows that the real magic of the iPod and iPhone was that the software was so easy to use. Apple’s expertise is in simplicity.
Apple can try and woo cable networks and studios all it wants, but the truth is that it’s not going to do for TV what it did for music. There will not be one company that opens the entertainment floodgates. The reality is that delivering all content on one platform is going to be a slower process than bringing virtually all music to iTunes and all books to the Amazon Kindle. Content providers aren’t in a crisis the way that the music industry was at the turn of the century.
Actually, the iTunes Store started out with a scant 200,000 songs available for purchase, if memory serves. Only once the record labels — desperate though they were — saw how people were willing to pay real money for songs of a known quality that were easy to find, did they really jump on board.
Apple TV has been going on for years now; long enough for the mostly-nelgected device to be ready for its fourth iteration. Apple tried renting shows for a buck a pop (they typically cost $2.99 to purchased), but gave it up because not enough people were renting. But that was when there were far fewer ATV units in people’s living rooms. Cupertino’s “hobby” is now a billion-dollar-a-year business — we should all have such hobbies.
Is this the time to try again?