It’s not a rumor, but a fact that Apple is looking at bringing a game-changing TV experience out of Cupertino. We just don’t know when or how. Or do we? Generally when the Apple TV is discussed, it takes the form of either the current Apple TV, which is a set-top box, or an Apple-branded high-definition television set. I am still not convinced Apple will make its own television, though it’s certainly possible. However, a company that prides itself on the end experience would face many obstacles with a 46-inch or even larger TV.
There’s shipping — you can only fit so many 150-pound televisions in boxes on a plane, in an Apple store or in a freight truck. But even worse, once the television is at the Apple Store… some lady is going to carry a hundred pound item to her car, and then have to take it out and carry it into her home? And we haven’t even touched upon the biggest issue, and that’s installation. Apple is going to offer a service to wall-mount your TV?
Do you know what happens when you wall-mount a TV? You need an electrician to move an outlet for you, you need someone to snake the multiple HDMI cables into the wall through two different single-gang boxes, you need a painter to patch and paint any notches or holes, and the list goes on and on.
Regardless of whether Apple launches a television or a new set-top box, there is something more that people seem to miss. Why is television so bad?
Besides the fact that content is getting worse, it’s horrible because we have to jump through hoops to watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it, and how we want to watch it. Cable providers’ interfaces, program guides and set-top boxes are an absolute atrocity to mankind. They are slow, outdated, buggy, useless and complex. If Apple enters this space, the company won’t just slap a beautiful interface on top and call it a day. The bigger vision is to reinvent how we consume television and internet video.
The way for Apple to do this is to decouple your shows and movies from time, networks, services, live or recorded, streamed or downloaded. That’s the path forward. I don’t care what time The Newsroom is on, what network it is on or whether it has been recorded on my box or not. I just want to watch it. A universal search option that could span many services would be amazing — just type in the show you want to watch, and no matter if it’s airing right now, is available on Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, or anywhere else, just show it to me or let me rent or buy it.
Your content when you want it, where you want it, how you want it — that’s the way to fix TV and only Apple can pull this off.
The Boy Genius Report is a periodic column written by BGR founder Jonathan S. Geller. It offers insights and opinions on various products, companies and trends across the consumer electronics business and beyond. Jonathan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.