A little more magic came to Apple TV this week. Last week it was ESPN’s turn to take the spotlight with an option to view up to four NFL football games onscreen at the same time. No longer do I have to suffer through another humiliating Bears game because I can watch the Packers and Vikings and Cleveland all lose at the same time.
Early this week hackers that hack such things as Apple TV found reference to a 4K Apple TV, ostensibly on the way to 1080p sufferers everywhere, perhaps in time for holiday binge watching. Now we learn that Walmart has decided to up its game against Amazon Prime by putting a Vudu app on Apple TV.
Yes, that Walmart. That Vudu.
The Vudu Player for Apple TV lets you play over 4,000 free Movies On Us titles, as well as your existing Vudu collection, natively on 4th generation Apple TVs with tvOS 10. And the Vudu Player is the first (and only – just want to reiterate that) player that gives you access to your UltraViolet digital locker on Apple TV (#humblebrag).
The whole catalog of movies and TV shows tops 100,000 and all you need to do is sign up. I know. Signing up for anything Walmart-based seems icky and fraught with transferable bio-organisms but in this case you can do it online and my professors in college said you can’t catch bacteria from cyberspace. Viruses, yes.
Hey, there’s a whole website about Walmart’s physical customers.
What these tidbits of news tell me is that Apple plans to go all in on 4K video at just about the time there is enough 4K video to binge watch in a day, that major online streaming networks think Apple TV is sufficiently viable to join, and tvOS as a platform is a real thing. Oh, and Apple plans to devote up to $1-billion to create original content which can be viewed… insert drum roll here… only on Apple devices.
What’s missing in Apple TV?
First, there is no Apple-based streaming TV package similar to Google TV, Sling TV, and others who mimic cable TV from 1999 but in higher resolution.
Second, there’s the aforementioned lack of 4K video, but Apple will fix that with more hardware. Remember, Apple is a hardware company and we have to do our part with a purchase.
Third, no Amazon Prime. Yet. Word on the streets says its coming. But every pundit said Donald Trump would implode in the primaries and here we are.
Fourth, Apple TV claims to be the future of TV, but as it stands now Apple TV is becoming more of an alternative for cable TV watching assuming you already have a cable TV account so you can watch the same channels. I’m not sure what the point is here, but Single Sign-on is a good idea that only does what your cable TV company’s remote already does.
Regardless, Apple TV, while the least purchased streaming TV device likely owns the largest revenue and profit slice against Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire, still needs to figure out a better way to navigate between networks as channels and Siri, while better at listening, isn’t the best means to move from channel to channel.
Yet. But magic happens.