This week Apple has been in talks with majors cable companies such a Time Warner Cable, in hopes of reaching a deal, making Apple TV your newest cable access provider.
If things were to go as Apple has planned, the cable companies would acquiesce, allowing channels to become individual apps or subscription by Apple TV users. This of course would be an epic win not only, for Apple, but also for the many consumers like me looking for an a la carte experience that allows users to sift through the garbage channels we do want and just stick with the good stuff.
It seems, however, that cable companies are reluctant to give Apple exactly what they want, knowing that, if they concede in this manner, it may not be long before Apple TV becomes the big name in premiere television programming.
Much to the chagrin of consumers, hoping to have their cake and eat it too, it appears Apple will be the one conceding, as they continue to discuss the possibility of developing a set top box for streaming cable television in conjunction with the other services currently offered on Apple TV.
When I reviewed the speculated features of the Apple TV set box, I thought to myself, "Well isn't that what TiVo does? Why would anyone choose it?"
Indeed, TiVo offers some pretty amazing features at a price this doesn't sting too badly. In fact, just today, I read that TiVo is releasing its latest version of TV recording device, the TiVo Premier 4 which is a slightly more economical sibling to the XL4.
The TiVo Premier 4 includes four tuners, allowing users to stream and record up to 4 different shows at the same time. It has 500 GB of storage and can hold up to 75 hours of HD programming. This model was developed to solve the problem of multi-show stack ups - particularly on Sunday nights, where users are forced to choose between their favorite shows to watch on demand. Now, the decision is no longer required. With the Premier 4 users can actually "shop" for programs they enjoy prior to their airing and prepare a queue of recordings, which will keep them watching favorite shows on demand for as long as they can keep their eyeballs open to view them. Additionally, the Premier 4 includes favorite internet media providers such as Hulu, Amazon and Netflix, into users search for shows to watch on demand.
When I consider the availability of this box for pretty much any television on the market versus the Apple TV box geared to a specific user base, I can't see how Apple will ever get a leg up in this market. The future of streaming media, however, is a constantly evolving story yet to completely unfold. When it does, perhaps we will all be surprised who ends up on top.
If Apple TV offers a cable box top set, would you buy it, or opt for a TiVo instead?