AppleTV & iTunes Dissintermediates Cable? Bigger Than Balloonboy Story.

Wowzer. Your’e going to want to read this post, because it’s hot news. And because I put some effort into some seriously solid metaphors that damned well better be scraped by some bigger bloggers.

For years I’ve been bitching and moaning about Apple not putting its little heart into AppleTV (instead of screwing with these ridiculous iPhone toys and their petulant little “apps”).


And all the while, the little Steve Jobs may have his eye on dissintermediating cable television. Fast Company provides some saucy news, and sources “All Things Digital.”

But this isn’t about the AppleTV, idiot. No it’s not about software or hardware. Apple is basically envisioning a $30-per-month iTunes television offering, which would give networks new reach via 100 million iTunes users. And that means you, like the 100 million iTunes users, would start watching shows via Apple both on your computer and (via some box) that big-ass monitor you call a Plasma or HDTV.

Do I need to repeat that? Television shows when you want, and on whatever damned screen you want. Oh, and a gentle reminder that technology companies will control your fate more than telephone, cable, publishers and networks (never mind that whole AOL/Times Warner hickup).

Alas, it’s hard for me to envision a scenario where cable companies don’t start tossing fecal matter like angry apes. But it’s a game of chess, not the beloved “toss-the-feces” we’d play at birthday parties. If Disney, as an example, slept with Apple… what could the angry ex (cable companies) do? They can’t very well drop Disney. And since Disney’s move would be the “tipping point” this all needs, Disney gets to set the terms. Girl, you know those Mickey Mice could nibble up an Apple like Piranha to a cow.

Fundamentally the broadcast networks have to decide whose bitch they want to be. Cable television or Apple’s.

If the music industry feels that iTunes was a good thing (additive revenue that didn’t exactly kill radio or CD sales entirely), then maybe the television networks go the same route. And to keep Apple “in check” they can replicate the terms via Hulu, YouTube or even some genius that manages to build a television-manufacturer standard.

The bottom line, however, is the train already left the station. I’m an example of a fast-follower (not early adopter), and I’m spending more each month on $1.99 television episodes than I am on a cable bill! I loath Verizon’s interface and on-demand library, and persist only because my wife likes depressing news and Nancy Grace, and my kids need their Nick Jr.

To be fair, I’m discovering I liked the control of “lean forward,” but I want to lay down on the couch and bed too. Love my TiVo, but it didn’t catch any fresh fish (like during this damned Fox Fringe hiatus), I dive into AppleTV and try out a new show… maybe buy a few episodes or a season pilot because $1.99 ain’t a bad price for 45 minutes of some boob-tube love making. I’m less often surfing YouTube’s most-popular list because it’s just a sad reminder remind of how much better Sxephil, Shaycarl, CharlesTrippy and ShaneDawson are than me. Last night me, Charlie and Grant and me did start a YouTube binge that began with Edbassmaster, then progress on a downward spiral that culminated in farts and babies. But then we jumped back to paid episodes of Angry Beavers. Damn that intro is hip.

Speaking of YouTube, those trained monkeys better get their own poop in palm. They’ve cornered the market on searchable video, but this is a bidneth model that can move faster than ad-supported web video. I think this crap (you know the kids are saying that now like it means nothing anymore) is bigger than the Balloonboy story. Except the Falcon hiding in the attic and puking on CNN might just be… Comcast, Verizon and other cable providers. I predict Hulu maintains its relevance if this shakes out, unless Apple iTunes makes itself incredibly easy to purchase and view via both web and those BIG ASS televisiony-like monitors. Hell in a few years, maybe we don’t even know or care where our video content comes from.

Yeah- I even think this story might be bigger news even than last night’s AppleTV upgrade:

“WTF? A vertical menu?” he says, tossing his mini white remote that has been chewed to near obsolescence. Fade to black.

6 Replies to “AppleTV & iTunes Dissintermediates Cable? Bigger Than Balloonboy Story.”

  1. I wanted it to be Boxee, but I don’t think that’s going to pan out unless they get a Boxee Box out… like now. I expect a Hulu set-top within a year or two, though. They took the first steps by making Hulu Desktop, which is a great app with a NICE interface.

    Unless Apple can get the deals Hulu has and plays the “this is a pay service, so there are no commercials” game, I don’t see this working THAT well (however – I can’t see it being a failure, either, due to the Apple’s “FOR THE HORDE!” following).

    BUT this is an official declaration of war on cable. No major company has made that. YouTube isn’t an alternative to cable, and nor is Hulu. They both could be but do not offer the same experience. For someone like me, they are perfect. For your casual TV subscriber, they aren’t. Hell, I even WANT to catch the live SNL broadcasts. I have to watch them back later because I’m a cord-cutter, though.

    Boxee was my hope, it’s a great aggregator of these different services, but I don’t think those guys are being aggressive enough. I’m not “in the ring” so to speak (just in the audience), but their strategy doesn’t appear to be that of a competitor. Which is a shame, because like I said, I really like their software.

    But if it’s got to be someone, I like that it’s Apple. I don’t like their douche fans, but they get shit done and they innovate. Their phone honestly has changed my life. I have zero unread messages ANYWHERE.

  2. What the hell is up with all the damned language?

    Speaking of language, how about using proper English?
    “…but I want to lay down on the couch…”
    Can you spot the error? (Hint: transitive verb.)

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