Apple Opens iTunes Video and AirPlay Up to TV Rivals


(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/01/09/apple-opens-itunes-video-and-airplay-up-to-tv-rivals/

Apple is opening up its TV ecosystem to rivals, bringing iTunes content and AirPlay to Samsung TVs, and AirPlay and HomeKit to others. “Take Control of Apple TV” author Josh Centers explores what it could mean for the Apple TV.


(Simon) #2

I think Josh is right. Not long from now Apple will stop developing and selling the Apple TV.

A lot of Apple users will complain. And that will be countered by exactly the same arguments we were presented when Apple stopped doing AirPort. There’s tons of other manufacturers, they’re cheap (this is always used as the catch-all end-all argument), and they offer good alternatives. We no longer need Apple to do AirPort AppleTV.

Sounds reasonable? Not to me. I like the idea of having an Apple TV between me and my TV. That allows me to keep my TV dumb. No Ethernet and no wifi for my TV. None of my viewing habits get passed on to Samsung or some other sleazy company just waiting to make a buck off of selling out my privacy. Apple TV is the system that gives me convenience, while assuring me that Apple is handling my private data, i.e. they safeguard it because I pay them for their kit, not by handing over my privacy.

And that is why, although Josh might be right technically with this quote, this isn’t the “smart” future I’m looking forward to.

Because the future isn’t a separate box, it’s having the smarts baked directly into your television.

Good thing I don’t need a TV anymore. I don’t trust their “smarts”. I bet some of you won’t either once Facebook-esque data scandals start being reported out of your TV manufacturers.


(Doug Miller) #3

I strongly doubt that. Because of privacy issues that have already happened with Samsung and Vizio TVs (not a single one of mine has ethernet or WiFi connected), I don’t think Apple leaves this to the TV makers.


#4

I have some questions after reading this good article and some others. Is Apple building a Tizen app or is Samsung building the app? In either case, will Samsung be able to track iTunes data usage, whether or not the user has turned on the privacy setting on the TV? Smart TVs do collect a huge amounts of data, as do Roku, Fire, etc. I’m hoping that whatever plays in iTunes, continues to stay in iTunes.

If Apple hadn’t made iTunes and iPod PC compatible, neither of them would have become the wildly successful, game changing and category defining successes that are, and will be, case studies in business schools across the world. And they helped convince many millions of people to think different and switch to Macs. Making iTunes available on smart TVs is a great way to draw people into the ecosystem, and I’ll bet that Apple is also talking to Sony, LG, Visio, etc. about iTunes. This could be especially critical to growth in China, India, and other countries.

Years ago, before smart TVs were introduced in the wild, I thought Apple would build a revolutionary TV and upend the entire category like the did with music players, phones and desktop computers. I also ranted and raved on this forum about it at that time. But as the article mentions, the profit margins for TVs are very low. For years, Apple cranked out monitors and printers in order to sell Macs, but stopped the minute that other manufacturers with more firmly and widely entrenched distribution started cranking out equally good products for for less money.

The fact that PC and mobile phone replacement cycles are slowing rapidly is why Apple has been so aggressive with services, which have been hugely successful. That’s why they are paying billions of bucks to develop a streaming TV service to go up against Netflix, Disney, Hulu, Amazon Prime and a host of traditional TV networks. I’m sure they didn’t just ink a deal with Peanuts for peanuts.

But I do think that Apple TV will be around for some time; it’s quite unique when compared to smart TVs as well as other TV boxes and sticks. A few months ago Apple announced a deal with Spectrum that enables Apple TV to replace cable boxes and they are negotiating with other providers. If they weren’t committed to the hardware, I’m sure Apple would have licensed TV OS to Samsung instead of, or in addition to, iTunes.


#5

Simon

    January 10

None of my viewing habits get passed on to Samsung or some other sleazy company just waiting to make a buck off of selling out my privacy. Apple TV is the system that gives me convenience, while assuring me that Apple is handling my private data, i.e. they safeguard it because I pay them for their kit, not by handing over my privacy.

I agree with this 100%.

Good thing I don’t need a TV anymore. I don’t trust their “smarts”. I bet some of you won’t either once Facebook-esque data scandals start being reported out of your TV manufacturers.

Scandals started coming out of the woodwork last year:

https://www.cnet.com/news/samsungs-warning-our-smart-tvs-record-your-living-room-chatter/

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/your-smart-tv-watching-you-watching-tv-consumer-reports-finds-n845456

In 2017 Visio was fined 2.2 million by the FCC:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/vizio-the-spy-in-your-tv/


(Tommy Weir) #6

This particular move by Apple is purely about the upcoming service. It has to be ubiquitous.

The AppleTV has a future for sure. Its biggest ‘competitor’ is probably HomePod, but voice, while the future, has a long, long way to go. I could see some merging, a family of media-centred products combining the best of both. But I’d definitely see Apple keeping moving forward in this zone.


(Adam Engst) #7

I just had another thought. With AirPlay 2 and HomeKit in all these TVs, maybe the iOS device just becomes the Apple TV, which is more of the Google Chromecast model (with a Chromecast, you have to use a smartphone to find and cast media).


(Josh Centers) #8

Yes, exactly. The Chromecast technology is how Google Home is able to work its magic, since it “casts” the content URL to the Chromecast receiver. It seems like Apple may be going in a similar direction with AirPlay 2.


(Josh Centers) #9

And just to be clear, I’m not rooting for the Apple TV’s demise. As I’ve explained elsewhere, I’m incentivized for Apple to reinvest in it. But unfortunately, Apple doesn’t seem focused on it. tvOS 12 was disappointing to say the least, and it appears that the OS is in maintenance mode.

Perhaps a new device is coming based on a different paradigm (maybe a smart TV or something akin to Chromecast). I’ve had a number of folks tell me I’m way off base about the Apple TV, and I hope they’re right, but until Apple says more I can only speculate on the available evidence, and that evidence doesn’t point to a promising future.


(Simon) #10

This is exactly where I think Apple is headed. And with that writing’s on the wall for Apple TV. Added benefit (for them): they can direct people to the $350 HomePod instead. :wink:


(Simon) #11

How exactly does this casting work? Does the client device send a URL to the Chromecast from where the Chromecast then streams the content or does the client stream the content (which it is downloading remotely) to the Chromecast?

Is this the same method AirPlay uses?

I’m curious because I wonder how much you can isolate a device like a Chromecast or an AirPlay receiver from the WAN assuming you’re on a LAN client such as an iPhone.


#12

jcenters
Josh Centers

    January 10

And just to be clear, I’m not rooting for the Apple TV’s demise. As I’ve explained elsewhere, I’m incentivized for Apple to reinvest in it. But unfortunately, Apple doesn’t seem focused on it. tvOS 12 was disappointing to say the least, and it appears that the OS is in maintenance mode.

Apple is investing billions in original TV content. And nothing has been leaked one way or another as yet about archival material or partnerships with other production firms. Apple has also been talking about AR/VR for years, and making big investments in talent and acquisitions of companies in the field. I think this stuff might be one reason why they developed tvOS in the first place and got it established in the market - it should work well with glasses and headsets. Apple also has great relationships with game developers, and that’s another angle that could play well here. It could be great for business applications as well. Given the phenomenal growth of services, as well as its investments in content, I think it’s premature to write TV off just yet.


(Josh Centers) #13

A URL is sent to the Chromecast and then the Chromecast streams the content itself. That’s why something like a speaker can cast content to it. There’s also a way to mirror screens to it that presumably works very differently.

AirPlay typically streams content directly, but a capability has existed for some time that offloads the streaming to the Apple TV if the content is from the iTunes Store. Maybe Apple is opening that up some more.

The downside to the Apple approach is that AirPlay often breaks if you switch apps or put your device to sleep. I’m a bit foggy about whether that changes with AirPlay 2.


(Dennis Swaney) #14

Do they really expect people to buy new TVs every time something like this is added? I used my 31" Hitachi CRT TV until it died in early 2014; it lasted over 26 years. I still have my Sony Trinitron 13" that I bought back in about 1986 so it is still going almost 33 years. When the Hitachi died I bought a Sharp Aquos but I can’t be buying $2,000 TVs every year or so. Apple will have to make sure that AirPlay is included in ALL models of ALL brands to give customers a choice.


(jimthing) #15

What’s curious is how only Samsung gets iTunes Movies and TV Shows, but Samsung is the only vendor not providing HomeKit support. Despite that confusion, these announcements may be great news for Apple users who own or plan to buy a supported TV set, but what do they mean for the rest of us, and for Apple’s TV plans going forward?

What this means for the rest of us, is that people should skip this year’s TV’s and wait until next year’s come!
It’s ludicrous that none of them have all three functionalities built-in (iTunes Movies/TV Shows + Airplay 2 + HomeKit). And what happens if you want to play music from either your iTunes collection or Apple Music? Presumably you have to AirPlay it to the TV, which seems stupid as the only option, when iTunes Match & Apple Music exist.

What assurances are there about maintaining updates too? I mean, if TV manufactures’ history is anything to go by, then bugger all. At the moment, for most people, it’s hardly a “I must buy into these products!” factor just yet.


#16

jimthing

    January 15

What this means for the rest of us, is that people should skip this year’s TV’s and wait until next year’s come!

Samsung announced that the iTunes app will be available to owners of their smart TVs in their upcoming software upgrade. I suspect that the other smart TV partners will do the same. I haven’t read anything about what Apple’s financial arrangements with these partner are, but I suspect they are at least getting cut in on revenue. It’s a win-win situation for all companies involved, and the more iTunes customers they can get using the apps sooner rather than later, the better.

It’s ludicrous that none of them have all three functionalities built-in (iTunes Movies/TV Shows + Airplay 2 + HomeKit). And what happens if you want to play music from either your iTunes collection or Apple Music? Presumably you have to AirPlay it to the TV, which seems stupid as the only option, when iTunes Match & Apple Music exist.

Apple Music is a subscription service, and it’s available on Android and Windows. My guess is that there isn’t much money the TV manufacturers would be able to make from it at the moment, and Apple probably isn’t currently willing to share any revenue from music with them at this time anyway. But I strongly suspect this might change when Apple’s streaming video services is established in the wild, which is suspected to be sometime this year.

What assurances are there about maintaining updates too? I mean, if TV manufactures’ history is anything to go by, then bugger all. At the moment, for most people, it’s hardly a “I must buy into these products!” factor just yet.

This is a phenomenal opportunity to expand their presence and reach into third world markets, especially China, India, South and Latin America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc., etc., all of which represent great growth opportunities for all parties involved. And Apple will soon be going up against Netflix, Amazon, Disney, etc. in streaming video services. TV manufacturers are also very aggressively attempting to scratch out each others’ eyes in these rapidly growing markets. With competition as cutthroat as it is, I suspect they will be updating their apps from time to time.


#17

Hi all

I didn’t read all your posts, but searched for projector and found nothing mentioned.

I use my Apple TV mainly with a projector for everything you all use your TVs. I have no TV at all. I don’t like those big black rectangles. I have all white walls and with my projector a veeeery big TV and cinema experience!

I control everything with the Apple TV Remote, as the Apple TV correctly switches on the projector and finally switches it off too.

So I really want to buy new Apple TVs as they become available and hope, Apple will have a solution for me even in the future. I also don’t like to have smart TVs or smart projectors connected to the internet. They should stay dumb! I like to have my privacy away from those sleazy companies as Simon tell’s it.

Marcel