Why do I hold out hope for Apple TV? Well, why do I have this love hate relationship with the local cable TV company? Their service is terrible. Apple’s service is good. Cable TV has a wide variety of content. Apple TV has a wide variety of content with better quality. Cable TV is easier to navigate.
See the picture? Wait. There’s more. Apple TV is a pain to navigate. Channels as apps is a thing and it’s not pretty, even with Siri. Cable Tv is more than $100 per month. Apple TV is a single purchase which lasts for a few years but doesn’t carry local TV.
No matter how I look at it, Apple TV just isn’t ready to kill cable TV as the first video source on my television. Cable TV’s hold can be difficult to break.
Roku has an old fashioned idea. OTA. Over the air antenna. That’s old fashioned but if you live near television towers as I do then HD TV is just a few clicks away and Roku integrates OTA in Roku OS 8. Inside is a smart guid which integrates the standard streaming TV options– Amazon and Netflix, among others– with local live television from major networks, coming in via antenna.
The Roku solution isn’t for everyone but OTA via an antenna works because broadcast signals these days are digital and available in HD (often the lowest of the high definition resolutions, though).
Apple faces a conundrum with Apple TV. It has channels, but not the important ones like local TV and network TV (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox). It has television and movies via iTunes store, but not enough cable TV networks to justify killing the latter for the former. Worse, no matter what, putting Apple TV as the first video input source is an exercise in futility and frustration. It works, but the experience often is less than OTA with Sling TV or Roku– for a lot more money.
Industry chatter says Apple should by Sony. Or, Roku. Or, France. The company has enough money to buy almost anything short of a presidential election. But Apple hasn’t fixed television because TV is a moving target. It’s changing. People younger than me consider channels as apps– YouTube, Netflix, Amazon– as television. I consider them add ons to cable TV. People younger than me don’t mind swapping apps and sources. I consider switching from input one to input to an inconvenience.
Apple has avoided another trend which has merit. Mimicking cable television from the 1980s when there were only a few dozen channels available. Sony has it. Sling TV has it. Google has it. Apple does not.
Maybe it’s me, the Apple customer, who faces the conundrum. Stick with Apple or go with the flow.