How the Future Apple TV & Services could change the Movie Industry

We can hear a lot of rumors here and there about Apple TV, regardless if it’s a plugged box or a real TV set.

I personally always thought there was a place for the real “Digital Hub” in the living room but the Apple TV was a little bit too limited and the MacMini was perhaps a little bit “too much” without a dedicated User Interface.

So, here’s how I imagine a great Apple TV HD for my own use:

Hardware:
– Apple TV Box you can plug to any Home Theater Audio and Video system
– Native support of 1080p (and possibly higher such 4K)
– Apple CPU Chip and high-end Graphic Card (latest Nvidia) for high quality games in 1080p and higher
– HD 1080p (iPhone 4S) Camera, with optical zoom (to be able to zoom to your portrait for FaceTime)
– Bluetooth for wireless Remote/GamePads
– USB Ports for iPhone/iPod, external Camera, Macbook Air Superdrive, or even the optional Video “In” kit
– 32, 64 or 128 GB Storage
– Can use a TimeCapsule (or any NAS) as storage Drive (and can be used with AirDrop)
– Wireless Remote (such Boxee Box) and GamePad (such Xbox/PS3)
– Running iOS

Some Software features:
– Will run Apps, including all the new Apps in 2048 x 1536 (iPad 3 Retina Display resolution), ready for 1080p TV, including Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Pages, iMovie, Facetime HD, etc…
– Connected to iCloud and App Stores
– Working with SIRI
– Will access to the iTunes Library stored on the Time Capsule and available for all devices
– GameCenter (Direct competition of the Xbox Live) and seamless gaming experience between TV, iPhone, iPads and Macs
– New App: Frontrow for iOS- which will actually be the main menu and will look like the current Apple TV app, but redo for an easier and faster navigation (just like the iPad), with Folder, Pages, etc…

– iTunes Live: It’s a monthly plan for Live Streaming from iTunes to watch live TV Channels (ABC, Fox, CBS, etc… All you can eat style). Let’s say between $19.99 and $29.99 / month (depending the number of channels? Maybe National and International?), similar of some Cable company… but without the need to pay TV Cable anymore. Just pay your ISP for Internet Data… All the rest is data (Message, Phone, TV, Internet, etc…).

In some countries, when you pay for a month to your ISP, you have Triple Play with a 20 Mbit/s connection, with 200 TV channels and Phone (all using DATA… TV uses around 5 Mbit/s). For instance, in France you can get TriplePlay for 29.99€ and the ISP is mainly a “bandwidth provider”. So, it would be no difference to use 5 Mbit/s to watch the TV Channels from the ISP servers, or from iTunes Live servers. Same thing with iPhone plan. Orange add over 60 TV Channels Live Streaming (over GSM network) when you subscribe to any iPhone monthly plan… so iTunes Live could even come (in lower resolution) on iPhone/iPad over 3G/LTE network.

– Tivo-ish App: To allow you to re-watch any episode at any time for free (no rent), with Ads, etc… like a VCR or recorded on TiVo episode. However, you don’t need to record any episode, you just re-download and re-stream from iTunes Live. When using the streaming feature of iTunes Live, you will get short Ads (same way with some internet services such Netflix, Hulu, etc…).

– Or you could just “buy” the episode (without any Ads), in HD, just like if you would buy a DVD. Prices would be lower to match better the current DVD/BR prices. HD movie would be $9.99 (like a music album) and TV Shows episode would be $0.99 for a 22 min episode (such The Simpsons), and $1.99 for a 44 min episode (such LOST). It’s typically the HD quality for the SD price. No more HD/SD buy, HD/SD Rent, etc… Only two choices: Stream with Ads in your iTunes Live Subscription or Buy HD version.

– As long you have an iTunes Live Subscription, you can connect to iCloud and re-watch an episode even if you forgot to record it. It will just re-download the file (with ads, of course… maybe even updated Ads for old content) without any extra-charge (just like a re-download of an app with iCloud).

– Ability to save a streaming/recording from the Apple HDTV storage to an external drive, such the Time Capsule (the same way we can burn DVD with a DVR). That way, no need for internal HDD such TiVo. It would work just like the music in iCloud.

– Integration between iTunes Live, Tivo, iCal, Reminder and iCloud, will be transparent. You can add a reminder to watch a live sport game, TV shows or so… and reminder will be across your devices.

– With Game between $4.99 and $9.99, very high graphics quality, 1080p resolution, Game Center and wireless GamePad, it will definitely kill the Xbox, PS3, Wii market with the $60/70 games, subscription for online gaming, etc……  And you can buy a game on your TV, and continue it on your iPhone or iPad, and even in your Mac pretty soon (if OS X would support iOS Apps). With 2048 x 1536 resolution Apps, they could perfectly run on an iMac 27″.

– The onboard camera (iSight) would be used for both FaceTime, as well as some movement detection, such Kinnect. It would also include an optical zoom with Face and vocal Detection and could be used in wide angle for games and large view of the room or zoomed on the talking person (with automatic detection of whom’s talking).

– The Apple HDTV would have some storage memory for games, some local content synced with iCloud (documents, pictures, music, etc…) and the current downloaded streaming active content.

– As long you pay for the iTunes Live subscription, you’ll have access to any content, regardless if it’s “Live” and “Recorded”. It would be no difference. The main difference then will be to have it free of charge, included in your plan but with Ads… or buy it from the current iTunes store without Ads and with even more features with iTunes Extras.

– With a monthly payment (between $19.99 and $29.99), it will provide a regular earning to Apple (they perhaps don’t make now with the current Movie business model in iTunes), but will also provide good earnings for Content providers and TV channels Apple will deal with, that will also get money from regular Ads. Even if Apple choose a 70-30% distribution (as they do for music, books, apps, etc…), it will still bring serious cash that will allow them to have better balance between Streamed and Purchased content (therefore lower the price for purchased content such movies and TV Shows in iTunes to be more competitive to the physical support).

Prices:
The Apple HTDV Box would be delivered with the Apple IR Remote (such the Boxee Box).
GamePad will be sold separately for $39 (same price as current Sony PS3 gamepads).

Since it would have the similar component than the iPod Touch without the touchscreen and the battery, or will be like a current Apple TV with more connectors, better CPU/GPU and memory, going in competition with the Boxee Box, Roku 2 XS, PS3, XBOX 360, TiVo, etc…

Apple HDTV – 32 GB: $149
Apple HDTV – 64 GB: $199
Apple HDTV – 128 GB: $299

That’s what I’m waiting for Mr. Apple… So what do you waiting for? Just do it and I’ll buy it…

Phil

PS: Of course that would be the first step for the Apple TV to not just be a hobby. Later could come a real TV set that would include the Apple TV and “Digital Hub” services.

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