Rumors have been popping up about an Apple DVR. While this is very exciting, it is also an interesting step towards the way we watch TV. Apple has always catered, or at least adopted, by creative professionals. It only makes sense that they help consumer bring creative working into their homes. Wether it be songs or movies, Apple has got the bases covered. But TV is another story, how does Apple make that better?
There are two very interesting things happening right now. The writer’s strike has caused a lack of television programing. And now we are living in a DVR world. Honestly everyone that I know, with the exception of my parents, have and use a DVR. I don’t think any of them could live, or watch TV without it. Now there are some problematic issues with the DVR, the ability to skip over commercials could cause some issues with funding shows. However, the combination of these two thing has totally changed the way many people watch TV. The iPod did not kill the radio, and I don’t think an Apple branded DVR with access to iTunes will kill TV. But it’s enough to shake things up.
So why is the Apple DVR necessary? Most people want one device. Frankly it’s pain to switch from my DVR to my current Apple TV. It’s only a few clicks, but still. People want one central device. And while the current Apple TV does a lot and adds a lot of promise, people have TVs to be able to watch TV. If there was one device that could mix the Apple TV with a DVR, it would be the ultimate TV gadget.
There are a few things that will make an Apple DVR a success. Obviously it would require new hardware, and I think that most existing Apple TV users would upgrade. The combination of iTunes with live TV could be great for iTunes sales. Let say we are watching the latest episode of the Office. But we missed last weeks episode. We could buy it on iTunes right then and there (if NBC comes back). This could be a very good combination. And changes are it is going to be awhile before a device like this is able to come to fruition. The digital transition happens in a little less than a year. This is important because all over the air broadcasts will be digital, and Apple with not have to deal with the older analog. This is similar to the Apple TV itself, no SD support just HD.
Yet again there is a major block in the way, the cable and satellite companies. While this will be a necessary addition for many customers, there is also a niche that will be able to get everything they watch with a simple combination of over the air reception and iTunes. Currently there are only three TV shows that I watch on cable. Everything else is broadcast. This would be a perfect solution for me, I could get ride of cable, buy those shows on iTunes and record the rest of my shows on the DVR. I would save save over $1000 is just a year (not including the cost of what the Apple DVR might be). Sure this would make channel flipping hard, but I think the DVR has already changed that. Honestly I don’t flip anymore unless it is really late, and can’t sleep. But that is very rare, at least for me. I know that I’m not the only one that would totally accept a solution like this.
I also think that people expect a solution that will work for everyone. And while that’s great it’s not really a reality. We’ve recently seen Apple take some new step with the iPhone to help out the business world. Some interesting stuff, and while it’s great to make a lot of people happy, it makes it even worse to piss off the core. So going forward Apple is going to have to make some interesting steps. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
The face of media is truly changing. Media is always going to be there, but the way we get it is going to change. This is Apple’s opportunity to step in an make something great; A innovative way to watch our personal media collection, watch podcasts, listen to music, view pictures, internet video, rent movies, and watch TV when and how we want to.