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TV market poses new challenges to Apple TV

Posted: 08 Sep 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share


Rumours about the revamped version of the Apple TV coming to the market is reportedly due to be announced at the company's fall event this Wednesday. Some sources even state that "the new Apple TV will steal the show from iPhone 6S at the September event."

Features of the new Apple TV, leaked in dribs and drabs over recent weeks, include Siri support, an iOS-9 based device, a Bluetooth gaming controller, support of native Apple TV apps, more storage, faster processor, etc.

OK. This might be mildly interesting to the Apple fan base, but none seems to portend a revolution that will topple current TV viewing habits.

New categories of TV viewership have cropped up, among them "cord-cutters," "cord-shavers" (those who once paid for subscription TV or expensive pay TV channels but cut back on services and spending), "cord-nevers" (those who never paid for subscription TV services), or "corders" (pay TV subscribers). But even with all this diversity, or maybe because of it, it's hard to picture how exactly the new Apple TV device might change lives.

In fact, Apple TV, even revamped, might be irrelevant, because consumers' TV viewing patterns have already changed.

Daily Media Habits

(Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media 2015 Study)

Ericsson ConsumerLab's recently released report focused on worldwide trends in TV and media. It indicated, among other things: a 71 per cent global increase in the number of people watching video on smartphones since 2012; in the U.S. this increase is even greater at 136 per cent; that 55 per cent of U.S. teenagers' TV and video viewing time is on a mobile device; and that, in the U.S., 86 per cent of Subscription Video-On-Demand users binge-view at least once a week.

Even the notion of Apple "finally getting serious about pushing into our living rooms," as reported by the New York Times, feels almost archaic.

The key question to ask is: If Apple plans to bring its magic touch, or an "iPhone moment," to TV, what will they have to do with their next Apple TV?

EE Times posed questions to a few keen observers of the consumer electronics industry. Here are the answers.

1. How will Apple be able to conquer TV market?

Merrick Kingston, principal analyst, Connected Home, IHS Technology, set us straight, by pointing out: "In my mind, there's a crucial difference between conquering the DMA space, and conquering TV." By DMA, he means digital media adapter, home entertainment consumer electronics devices that can connect to a home network to stream digital media.

Broadband Technology

(Source: IHS Technology)

Kingston said, "Apple is not, in one fell swoop, going to deconstruct the entire structure of the pay TV market merely by shipping a $149 box. Yes, the cord-never effect matters, yes, there are structural demographic forces at work that threaten the long-term pay TV landscape, but Apple is not, within any reasonable horizon, going to subvert markets where pay TV penetration is currently high."

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