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Ap­ple TV will pro­vide a “much more im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence and opens up other av­enues like e-commerce”

Ap­ple TV plugs into an ex­ist­ing TV set us­ing HDMI. It plays iTunes mu­sic, movies and TV shows and also of­fers a range of games, apps and ad­di­tional con­tent through an iTunes-like store. The big­gest US TV broad­cast net­works (CBS, NBC, Fox and oth­ers) are offering their con­tent through apps on the de­vice, but UK broad­cast­ers are re­luc­tant to get in­volved in defin­ing the fu­ture of tele­vi­sion. Of the BBC, ITV, Chan­nel 4 and Chan­nel 5, only the BBC has an­nounced plans to sup­port the de­vice. Al­ready avail­able on other plat­forms, iPlayer is one of the big­gest on-de­mand video ser­vices in the world.

“I am de­lighted that iPlayer will be com­ing to the new Ap­ple TV in the com­ing months, help­ing to bring the BBC’s dis­tinc­tive and loved con­tent to an even wider au­di­ence”, promised BBC Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, Tony Hall. Crit­ics ob­serve Sky’s Now TV ser­vice is al­ready avail­able for Ap­ple users, as is the highly pop­u­lar Net­flix ser­vice.

Dy­ing tra­di­tion

An­a­lysts noted the im­por­tance of BBC sup­port. “iPlayer com­ing to the Ap­ple TV is a land­mark deal”, Ian Maude from the re­search firm Enders Anal­y­sis told BBC News. In part that’s be­cause Ap­ple TV de­buts at a time when tra­di­tional

view­ing pat­terns are chang­ing rapidly. Asymco an­a­lyst, Ho­race Dediu notes that tra­di­tional TV use fell by circa 30 per­cent among peo­ple aged 12-34 years in the last five years. That’s bad news for tra­di­tional broad­cast in­dus­try de­pen­dence on ad­ver­tis­ing, as those lost view­ers will be­come the high­est in­come group over the next decade. This will drive con­tent pro­duc­ers to Ap­ple TV.

Bat­tle of the set-top boxes

Ap­ple TV isn’t con­fined to tele­vi­sion con­tent. The com­pany’s move to run ver­sions of iOS apps on the sys­tem means the com­pany can ex­plore fresh fron­tiers in liv­ing room apps, from mu­sic to tele­vi­sion, games to movies on de­mand, ed­u­ca­tion, ecom­merce and more. BTIG an­a­lyst Bran­don Ross be­lieves Ap­ple TV will pro­vide “[a] much more im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence and opens up other av­enues like e-commerce… Imag­ine you have, say, the Dis­ney chan­nel app and around it you put a store and peo­ple could browse the store that’s re­lated to the con­tent that they’re see­ing”.

It’s a com­pet­i­tive space and Ama­zon, which runs its own stream­ing ser­vice and sells its own stream­ing de­vice, re­sponded to Ap­ple TV by end­ing sales of the de­vice on its site, claim­ing a de­sire to “avoid cus­tomer con­fu­sion”.

Ama­zon’s com­pet­i­tive slap and slow adop­tion by broad­cast­ers are un­likely to dent in­ter­est in Ap­ple TV. It is likely UK broad­cast­ers want to see how things work out for US net­works offering con­tent through Ap­ple”s box. They will want to find out if it can de­liver the kind of steady rev­enue they need to sup­port their busi­ness – if Ap­ple can­not bring the US net­works this kind of suc­cess then in­ter­na­tional users may face a frus­trat­ing de­lay. It is also pos­si­ble Ap­ple has a big­ger plan for sub­scrip­tion-based ac­cess to TV net­work of­fer­ings, as widely spec­u­lated upon over the last couple of years. The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Ap­ple was in talks to “of­fer a slimmed-down bun­dle of TV net­works this fall”, ear­lier this year – could Ap­ple have sim­ply changed sched­ule?

Ap­ple al­ready has a sched­ule to im­prove its new set-top box, in­clud­ing new Siri ca­pa­bil­i­ties. “In a few months, Ap­ple TV own­ers will be able to tell the de­vice to find a song or al­bum the same way they’d tell it to find a movie”, it told Buz­zFeed News. Ap­ple hasn’t yet shared sales fig­ures for the new Ap­ple TV.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion Ap­ple TV of­fers me­dia stream­ing like ear­lier mod­els, but its prom­ise lies in the abil­ity to build and sell apps and games for it.

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