Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple Building A Smart TV?

Check out this article from Apple Insider. Steve Jobs may not be running the day to day, but it seems Apple is still innovative in its approach. "...Apple Smart TV could be an opportunity for the Cupertino, Calif., company to consolidate 'TV/Video content, gaming, DVR, as well as other features like apps and FaceTime into one product,' much like the company did with its strategy for the iPad." Does that mean Airplay, too? And given the high customer value, an Apple TV could have great success.

The challenge for Apple will be the cable companies and gaining access to programming without a cable box. The CableCard is not the solution; Apple would need to build a solution inside the set to descramble the cable signal and provide full access to on demand programming as well. Finding those answers would make an Apple TV a real winner.

Netflix Encourages Cord Shaving

My kids are encouraging me to drop our premium services for Netflix. Maybe because we cycle through the on demand list and find little for them to watch, maybe because there is so much buzz about Netflix. And Netflix continues to aggressively build up its content to effectively compete with HBO, Showtime,and others. "Movie rental company Netflix Inc is close to an agreement with Miramax to stream the studio's library in a deal that would be worth 'well north of' $100 million over five years, according to a source familiar with the deal. Miramax's more than 700 titles include hits such as 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Good Will Hunting.'"

And here is the kicker, it is cheaper to get a Netflix subscription then cable premium networks. So it is actually in the family's best financial interest to make the move. So how can Netflix make such aggressive distribution deals. For one, they don't have to share their revenue with a cable provider. And the more content they acquire, the more value to the customer. That means more subscribers to the service and more revenue coming in.

The premium channels have one ace up their sleeve - original content. Starz has Camelot, Showtime has Dexter, HBO has the upcoming Game of Thrones. For viewers passionate for this content, cord shaving is unlikely. For those willing to wait a year for the shows to move to DVD, Netflix will be there. Oh wait, Netflix has original content, too. So that Ace may only be a deuce.