Despite Apple’s not-quite-ready-for-primetime Apple TV fail, and linear cable TV failing, one thing is not failing. Watching videos. Yes, that once was the domain of television watchers. My parents told me about the three or four channels they had to endure back in the day.
My generation grew up on cable TV– so-called ‘linear television‘ where every video just, well, streams as you watch it, but according to a schedule. First we had a couple of dozen television channels, then cable networks took over and we have a few hundred channels to watch. And except for the DVR, that’s linear TV as we know it.
Goodbye, we hardly knew ye.
The one constant in the universe, other than God may be watching us and not enjoying what he sees, is change. Change happens. Change is everywhere. Nothing improves without change.
Television is changing and Apple’s Apple TV hasn’t been able to shape the future despite bragging that ‘The future of television is here.’ Really? Where? It’s not Apple TV so it must be something else.
When you stop to think about it then you’ll see the future of television is here already. First, change the definition of television to include any motion video you view on any device and you’ll see what I mean. Cord cutters have been around since there were cable TV
cords cables but have recently become the status quo for specific generations of video watchers.
We have cable TV. It’s hard to cut because some of what I want to watch are on channels that can only be had via a cable TV company. Apple TV helps, but not enough. We also have Netflix because there are shows we want to watch that are not on cable TV or over the air. We also have Amazon Prime because that comes with videos which are shows we want to watch that Netflix doesn’t have, don’t show up on primetime television, and YouTube snippets are painful to find and watch.
Anybody see a problem with that?
Yeah, linear television is failing because scheduled programming had to die and the DVR helped, the internet helped more, and human beings and their habitual change of habits has helped the change move along, nothing to see here; it’s over there. These days we don’t watch much linear TV. But we watch television. Or, rather, videos, shows, movies, et al, because all those programs we want to view have legs and temporary residences.
Legs? They’re available for viewing on television sets, iPads, iPhones, Macs, and other devices that, well have legs, too.
Temporary residences? Now we can take cable TV with us in the form of YouTube TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, whatever Sony’s is called, and a host of others that bring back cable TV from the 1980s– skinny packages for a nominal fee; all streaming, all the time, but with cloud DVRs to help ease the pain.
Linear TV is failing and Apple TV, thus far, is a similar fail because change. What we view has too much content for a cable TV cord, so we bounce around like the moles in Whack-a-Mole looking for video to watch wherever it may be found.
Please, Apple. You fixed the PC industry with the Mac. You fixed the music industry with iPod and iTunes. You fixed the smartphone industry with iPhone. You repaired the tablet industry with iPad. You made watches actually useful with Watch. I can even stand speakers in my ear now thanks to AirPods.
Please, fix television before it’s too late.