Analyst: Apple TV faces big challenges

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 21-12-2011

While rumours are circulating that Apple is moving forward with Steve Jobs' vision of overhauling the TV experience, at least one analyst is unconvinced of Apple's ability to succeed in transforming how people watch TV.

Vince Vittore, principal analyst at Yankee Group, doesn’t buy the premise that just as it transformed both the music industry and the mobile phone industry Apple will do the same for the TV industry.
"While having the Apple brand on a TV or TV-linked device will sell units, the ultimate success of any product in the video world rests largely with the content lineup," said. "Unless Apple is able to bring a unique set of content to the equation, it's hard to see how any product will be more than just another box for die-hard devotees," Vittore suggested.
And indeed, as RTVN previously noted, the Apple TV strategy of offering a way to play iTunes rentals or purchases on the living-room screen has generated lukewarm interest from consumers and some suspicion from media owners. Plus, as an over-the-top (OTT) service, it hasn't had the benefit of support from cable, satellite and IPTV companies.
But the content problem could be solved through smart business modelling. The Wall Street Journal is citing unknown sources in reporting that Apple is in talks with pay-TV operators about a potential partnership strategy.
Also, while Apple has been vague about details of what it is working on, experts believe that multiscreen streaming capabilities will be a major part of the design, Vittore noted. This would allow users to send content from their iPhone or iPad directly to their TV, without any need for a set-top box, ultimately replacing the remote control with a personal mobile device. Voice recognition and commands are also rumoured to be part of the package-- all potential differentiators.
The CE behemoth is making the rounds to various media companies to discuss its ideas, but the WSJ sources said there are as yet no concrete proposals for new licensing deals.