TV à la carte

My predictions for the Apple event were 1) it would be cool, 2) I wouldn’t be able to afford it, and 3) I would be trying not to want it with all my might.

100% accurate, me.

But as much as I want a new iPod Touch, what is exciting (and even almost affordable!) for me was the new AppleTV. And all I’ve seen is grousing about it, or at best some half hearted “at least it’s cheap now” comments.

Movie fans grumble about not being able to purchase, and the HD not comparing with BlueRay. Legitimate points, certainly. But I don’t think the AppleTV is really going after the home theater movie market. It’s the AppleTV, not the AppleHomeTheater.

The AppleTV is going after cable.

Around here, basic cable costs ~$50/month. That’s too expensive, and so we don’t have it, and consequently we don’t watch. Don’t bother mentioning broadcast, the reception is pretty useless. There are shows we would watch, if we had TV, but we don’t, and we don’t care enough about them to drop money on buying the season on DVD.

But that $50 a month is also fifty $0.99 TV show rentals. And I don’t know anyone that follows that many different shows in a month. And I imagine those people who do already have cable. But for me and mine, who might watch fifty TV shows in a year, this is exciting.

This, my friends, is the possibility of à la carte cable.

(I want to take this moment to note that the iTunes store has the last season of Doctor Who, and I think they’re the complete BBC versions, not the shortened ones that are shown here. That noise you just heard was my whole household cheering.)

Imagine the future possibilities. We have TV show rentals. What if you could purchase season packages for sports? Or subscribe to a news or weather service. I do the latter already with the Wii, but it’s a little awkward. And you can always stream things you own from your computer. Imagine if the Food Network started putting shows on iTunes? The idea makes me positively giddy.

I don’t think that streaming will ever be able to compete with the idea of the high definition home theater. But it can take on cable. And I think it can win.

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2 Responses to TV à la carte

  1. babychaos says:

    sounds excellent… it was the Dr Who bit that got me… shortened? Intolerable!



  2. GeekLady says:

    Indeed, shortened. Doctor Who is aired in the US on the channel formerly known as Sci Fi, but here an hour long show has 20 minutes of commercials, and 40 of show, so Doctor Who was routinely snipped down to fit. At least, so I am informed by one of the graduate students at work who is both a fan and has cable.

    Episodes also have a two week staling period before we get them in the US, which is also intolerable. And it doesn’t appear that iTunes will do anything to alleviate this. It’s really just too bad.

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