Bigfoot has been jealous lately. No one seems to want to talk about him, except perhaps a certain beef jerky company. The mythical controversy du jour is Apple's
The hub of your living room
That's not really the core component of the hypothetical Apple TV strategy. Wasn't Apple supposed to destroy cable companies with a la carte viewing? Brightcove's solution sounds a bit like a next-gen video-game control scheme. The Verge's lead graphic, of a flight simulator controlled with an iPad, only adds to that perception.
But the idea that Apple doesn't need to build an actual TV to offer Apple TV makes a lot of sense. Apple's AirPlay technology has already gotten some developers to create control schemes combining an iDevice and the Apple TV box, so Brightcove's dual-screen development would only result in tighter integration. The relative openness of the Apple TV platform has a number of developers excited about its potential, regardless of its ability to kill cable providers. That's especially notable considering that Microsof's
A TV is not a computer
Let's also keep in mind that TV manufacturers have been in a race to the bottom for years. The industry has had such fierce competition that most of its key players are bleeding red ink, and even hardware retailers like Best Buy
Apple's set-top box is Apple TV. If Apple wants to fight the content providers, there's no reason it can't do so through that device instead of a TV. It's already proved with AirPlay that a TV can become part of a multi-device entertainment hub, just as Microsoft has with SmartGlass. There may be some die-hard Appleheads willing to shell out super-premium prices for the Apple logo on the back of a flat-screen, but millions with iPhones and iPads would enjoy the synergy between content on their mobile devices and their supersized screens, if enabled with a relatively inexpensive middleman device.
Cast a wider net
The price point of the set-top box also makes more sense. Even if Apple were to boost its set-top price to justify offering more content than Netflix
Would Apple be the most valuable company in the world if its iPhones cost $1,000? Probably not. Apple has a history of making new markets, but I'm not sure the market is as willing to adopt expensive TVs as some analysts believe. "Because it's Apple" isn't a good enough reason to buy into the idea of an Apple TV as the next big thing, but an Apple set-top box with the same functionality could expand the company's reach in much broader ways, as our senior technology analyst explains in our brand-new premium research report.
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