Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apple TV: a Content Device Needs Content

Content businesses use technology, but are not fundamentally about technology. Back in the days of analog television, three decades ago, a couple of delivery systems, such as laser discs, provided much-better image quality. Laser disc lost out in the market to VCRs, which offered visibly-worse image quality.

But there were two distinct advantages: lower device cost and much-greater content selection. All other things being equal, consumers will tend to choose wide content choices over video quality, and lower-cost devices over higher-cost devices.

But all would-be video providers have to convince content owners to license content. And that will remain a key challenge for any would-be developers of new TVs and video playback and purchasing systems.

An Apple television foray makes sense. People could use any Apple device to buy TV shows, movies, music or games through iTunes and then play their purchases across all Apple's products.

But, so far, it does not appear that Apple has been notably successful at convincing content owners to license TV programming for sale through iTunes. Apple television

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