7 Ways Apple TV Changes The Game And What Podcasters Need To Know And Do About It

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If this is your first time at the Blog, let me tell you this: yes, we love the gadgets and have a house full of ’em, but … this ain’t always about the gadgets. This is about the business and politics behind the gadgets. With that said and done, we’d love to have you as a subscriber.

Apple TV "Take Two" was introduced yesterday. I haven’t found anyone yet who isn’t thrilled with the results.

I would suggest however that this is much bigger than this. Yes, we have cool elements like HD video rentals (which I don’t know about you, but I’ve had on my xBox for what a year now?) and Flickr browsing but I’d really, honestly, like to suggest that Apple TV is now, officially, a game changer and here are my 7 reasons why.

The Podcast Subscription Paradigm Is Dead (with Apple TV at least). With this gorgeous box, I can watch whatever Podcast I want (as long as it is in the iTunes directory) and the word subscription isn’t anywhere to be found. Apple TV is now a video on demand service where you simply pick your favorite Podcasts and play and/or download them on demand. We’ve been saying for years that we need to make the subscription process easier. Apple did it by killing the susbcription process.

This Is Standards Setting. The joke with Apple TV is that this would all be news if people actually had an Apple TV to upgrade. They aren’t as popular as they should be and I don’t think this round will make any kind of dent on anyone’s numbers. It does, however, set the standard. When xBox releases their Podcasting application, it will look more like Apple TV than the Zune. Trust you me this. Want to see where Podcasting will be in 2 years? Visit your local Apple Store today.

Network Quality Suddenly Becomes Important Again. One of the nice benefis of a behind the scenes download process is that you can put your files on a lousy network and it doesn’t really matter as it all happens in "the background." This is no longer the case. If the Podcast you want to watch doesn’t stream well via "click to play," you will switch to another one – there are too many choices. I streamed several gorgeous HD video Podcasts with no problem and watched a few others sputter there way into oblivion. The commonality? The network. Some "big names" in this space don’t stream well at all.

YouTube Is As Important As Any Video Podcast Channel. Subscriptions in YouTube are just another button on this thing now. Actually, come to think of it, the only subscription option is YouTube. Video Podcasters, get your show as a channel on YouTube asap

The Price Just Went Down (Way Down). An Apple TV is less than any iPod touch. There are also no monthly fees like one would pay with their Tivo (remember Tivo?) This is one of the cheapest options in town.

Apple Owns The Premium Process. One of my biggest questions with this was always going to be "how does this affect Premiumcast.com?" At this point, there is no way to grab premium content directly through the Apple TV interface that Apple ain’t directly selling. Apple owns the only sales process for Apple TV. Sure, you can download to your computer and sync over but … why do that anymore? Premium is currently, a walled garden on this gorgeous little box.

Updates Included. We saw how Zune updated their v1 product to v2 without charge. We’ve seen Apple update the iPhone and the Apple TV without charge. We’ll be seeing more of this in the future. It is the new normal. Yes, the Touch update was $20 and I’ll be good scratch that the guy who thought that up has been yelled at by Steve more than a few times.

This one is a game changer people. Mark my words.

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  • master composter

    Cost of updates are tricky because of Sarbox laws. Apple accounts for the income on the AppleTV in a different manner than that of the iPods making it legal to put out free updates for the AppleTV but not the iPod.

    The details are boring and probably available elsewhere. Search Sarbox (or it’s full name) and iPod and you may find a better explanation.

  • http://sparkplug9.com John Koetsier

    My living room to yours … courtesy AppleTV. I agree that this is a game-changer, and I hope Apple sees it as such enough to really market this bigtime.

  • http://www.endorphin.com Bob Franco

    You forgot the 8th way Apple TV will change things and that is – anyone can make a high definition video and post it on their .mac web gallery for anyone to see. If a viewer has your web gallery address, they need only enter that and download your HD video. This opens up a whole new distribution channel that can be used for business and personal use. No burning BluRay discs or shipping hard drives or any media for someone to see a high quality HD video.
    I know I will be using this a lot.

  • http://filmmakerone.com/blog/2008/01/20/why-podcasting/ Tracy Evans

    Great article! I had not considered the “death of subscription” idea before.

    I agree that the whole process of consuming podcasts should be easier, but I don’t think it’s the subscription part that is the current difficulty. I believe it is the multi-step, multi-device process of which subscription is only a small part. And a more “TiVO like” single device could solve this.

    I fear that the video-on-demand model will be, at least for a while, a video-in-a-little-while-after-demand-depending-on-network-factors. I really like pressing the button and seeing it right now, and that is certainly what DVR owners are used to.

    I recently did an article on my site, filmmakerone.com, sounding the alert for filmmakers to consider video podcasting and the possibility of AppleTV being a tipping point.

    In the article, I talk about Everett Rogers, communications scholar and coiner of the phrase “early adopter”, who in 1988 described the point at which the VCR would break through from niche to mass market. That whole process took 10 years. For podcasting, it may take about 1/3 of of that time to bust wide open. Lets hope so.

  • Tom B

    “Yes, we have cool elements like HD video rentals (which I don’t know about you, but I’ve had on my xBox for what a year now?)”

    Not everybody has or wants and XBox. And the Apple TV is quieter.

    “This Is Standards Setting”

    I’m a huge fan of H.264. Great codec.

    “YouTube Is As Important As Any Video Podcast Channel.”

    I really, really think YouTube will be hugely important someday; I just don’t know when or in in what way. I don’t think it’s quite found its “killer app”.

    “There are also no monthly fees ”


  • http://www.filmphotoweb.com Christopher Brown

    Gotta love Apple on this one. Our little ‘hobby’ – that TV/Video thing. Ha. They’ve been heading here, quietly but steadily, for years. QuickTime, Final Cut, iMovie, iTunes, iPods for that matter, the neat little way they coopted the whole podcast notion right into the heart of iTunes. It’s all a brilliant strategy which culminates in the Apple TV. Bring it on, over the stinking, rotting bones of Windows Media.

  • Dick Applebaum


    “YouTube Is As Important As Any Video Podcast Channel.”

    I really, really think YouTube will be hugely important someday; I just don’t know when or in in what way. I don’t think it’s quite found its “killer app”.

    I agree! The lines are blurring among “free short videos” (YouTube Channels, Video Podcasts, etc.) and “fee short videos” (Music Videos, Training Videos, etc.). Maybe the killer app is the “quality” of the content– where you can view (or “preview”) YouTube channels at their current quality, free; or, have the option to purchase/subscribe to HD-quality, suitable for the Large screen and quality sound system.

  • SteveSgt

    Game-changing for a some thousands of the rich and heinous, maybe.

    The AppleTV doesn’t even have standard S-video or RCA composite or component outputs. So it doesn’t work with the TVs that a majority of the people have who live at or below the mean-income level.

    The lack of subscription capability is also dumb. Most people who owned VCRs or who bought Tivos typically used them to keep up on a series of programs — longer-form content split up into weekly or daily chunks. If AppleTV doesn’t do this, it will be useless to those people.

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