I ran across an interesting note from that past that shows why Apple is considering moving the Apple TV — the set-top box and probably the rumored “iTV” HDTV — from the “hobby” category into a “serious interest” (as CEO Tim Cook says).
The demand for interactive and personalized television services will push annual worldwide set-top box shipments over 200 million by 2013, as providers overhaul their current base with next-generation models, according to the Parks Associates research group.
The firm said in a 2009 report that the global digital transition and new distribution channels like DTT, IPTV, and over-the-top video services will intensify competition in the television service market. Carriers and manufacturers looking for a competitive advantage will replace their current installed base of set-tops with advanced models capable of supporting applications such as time- and place-shifting and Internet-based offerings. Hmmm. A next gen Apple TV would seem to fit this description, no?
“Consumers are attracted to the concept of connected CE, with one-third of U.S. broadband households very interested in a set-top box that connects to their computer and Internet service as well as their TV,” said Jayant Dasari, research analyst, Parks Associates. “While less than 10% are willing to pay a monthly fee, demand is still on an upward trend, especially as the set-top connects to more and more services.”
Growing demand is good news for service providers, especially cable and telco/IPTV operators, who are leveraging the set-top box platform to support their multiplay strategies, he added. With the box connected to a variety of sources, it will expand the battle in the television services market to the entire digital home, affecting every service sector from energy management and security to voice and video, Dasari said.
Most of the trends Parks Associates predicted are slowly coming true. However, I’m convinced that the future of television viewing is fast Internet connections and a la carte programming. For example, I recently counted the number of channels that my family watches regularly out of the 200-plus we receive via Dish TV: it was 30, tops.
Think we wouldn’t ditch satellite/cable TV in a sec if we could only pay for the channels we wanted? And there are lots of folks like us.
Plus, if we were able to make our TV viewing experience better with a modern interface on an Apple TV or iTV, we’d be happy to give Apple even more of our hard-earned cash.
I’m sure that Apple has some serious plans for entering the TV market. And I think we’ll finally see at least some of those plans next year.