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The Apple Broadcast Network

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the interesting-future-ahead dept.

Advertising 190

Hodejo1 writes "In 1959 5,749,000 television sets were sold in the US, bringing the cumulative total of sets sold since 1950 to 63,542,128 units. This number supported, through advertising, three national television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS (a fourth, Dumont, folded in 1956) and numerous local independent stations. Now here are another set of numbers. As of April this year Apple sold 75 million iPhone and iPod touch units, devices capable of delivering video via Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Add to that figure 2 million iPads and counting. By the end of the year Apple should have about 90 million smart mobile devices in the wild. That makes a proprietary amalgam greater than what the TV networks had in 1959 and one that easily serves as a foundation for a pending broadcast network that will be delivered not through tall radio towers, but through small wireless hubs and the Internet. Call it the Apple Broadcast Network. iAd is how Apple plans to pay for it."

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190 comments

How they plan to pay for it? (4, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471812)

They've already "paid for it" with the bucketloads of cash they've made from selling all the devices.

Re:How they plan to pay for it? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472416)

Using my rough calculations, with $100 bills, $900 million is about 1 cubic meter in volume. Apple makes about $8 billion in profit per year. 1 bucket (unit) is 0.01818 m^3. This is about 480 bucketloads of cash (roughly 80 tonnes). Really, at this scale they should be thinking of using barrels or truckloads to move their cash. Even a pipeline would be more feasible than buckets.

BUT WITH A tv YOU CAN ONLY WATCH ... TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472504)

With a phone or mp3 player you, by definition, do something completely different. Like jiggle tits, sound off a fart or two, and download yet another 99 cent POS (piece of software) or two or three.

Do not need. Do not want. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471816)

Apple has nothing to say that I find worth hearing. Apple has nothing to show that I find worth seeing.

Re:Do not need. Do not want. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471996)

Apple has nothing to say that I find worth hearing. Apple has nothing to show that I find worth seeing.

Remember, if you say you like Apple and express interest in their products and services, you are just giving an opinion.

If you say in a non-inflammatory way that you don't like Apple and do not have an interest in their products and services, why then you are "-1, Flamebait".

Yup, nothing hypocritical about that, mods.

Re:Do not need. Do not want. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472182)

Apple has nothing to say that I find worth hearing. Apple has nothing to show that I find worth seeing.

Remember, if you say you like Apple and express interest in their products and services, you are just giving an opinion. If you say in a non-inflammatory way that you don't like Apple and do not have an interest in their products and services, why then you are "-1, Flamebait". Yup, nothing hypocritical about that, mods.

I agree with parent, so mod me down too. You know you wanna.

OUseless without an unlimited data plan (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472034)

Nobody wants to pay to download ads, just like nobody wants to pay to download Wired magazine's 500 megabyte iPad edition (which is what happens when you cancel flash support and leave everyone scrambling).

Re:OUseless without an unlimited data plan (4, Insightful)

PenguSven (988769) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472208)

nobody wants to pay to download Wired magazine's 500 megabyte iPad edition (which is what happens when you cancel flash support and leave everyone scrambling).

Two things...

  1. Apple never indicated that Flash would be supported on it's iPhoneOS devices, so how can they cancel support for something they never supported?
  2. How is it Apples fault that Adobes "solution" for a lack of flash, is to bundle a heap of IMAGESinto an App?

Re:OUseless without an unlimited data plan (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472318)

They've still got WiFi, which covers a LOT of places. It covers my house, my parents house, my friends houses, my work, and many restaurants, hotels, and other places of business. Most of the places I use my iPhone, usually when I'm sitting around waiting for something, WiFi is often available.

For the rest of the time, yes, theres 3G. Someone (Engadget or Gizmodo) did some calculations the other day and found that it would take ~11 hours of streaming TV shows on Netflix to use up the 2G monthly allocation the new data plans have. That's for a normal computer, not lower resolution designed for mobile viewing.

They could get people to watch quite a bit of content without killing their bandwidth caps, especially if you pre-load it when on WiFi for on the desktop and then sync it to the phone (basically, as video podcasts).

I will agree that the fact that cap is there would make me have to think about watching content when I had to get it over 3G/4G/HyperPonyDataRadio, when I wouldn't have thought about it before.

Video over 3G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471826)

Not anymore!

Over what bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471828)

s of April this year Apple sold 75 million iPhone and iPod touch units, devices capable of delivering video via Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

The 3G connectivity is not sufficient for watching video in volume comparable to TV. TV bandwidth is essentially free (a true one-to-many broadcast,) whereas 3G is not (it's limited and shared.)

Even the Wi-Fi connectivity is lacking in many cities, let alone countryside. I think we are a good decade away from being able to depend on our Internet links for reliable, always-on TV viewing.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471866)

Well said... AT&T's new tiered 3G plans will kill this easily... I can watch unlimited Television for free (broadcast networks of course).

Re:Over what bandwidth? (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471934)

With net neutrality not an issue, I wonder if AT&T will have its arm twisted into giving "free" passage to any Apple specified content where it doesn't contribute to the cap, while anything from Hulu, YouTube, and other places get charged the metered rates. This way, users end up going to Apple's content because it doesn't cost them anything.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472040)

With net neutrality not an issue, I wonder if AT&T will have its arm twisted into giving "free" passage to any Apple specified content where it doesn't contribute to the cap, while anything from Hulu, YouTube, and other places get charged the metered rates. This way, users end up going to Apple's content because it doesn't cost them anything.

If Apple resorts to this, then that'd be a great reason to avoid Apple's content at all costs as a form of protest against a business practice that needs to be nipped in the bud and discouraged as early in the game as possible. I'm not saying the sheeple will do that, as they are not generally known for considering the full implications of their actions i.e. whether they are encouraging a business practice that is not in their interests. I'm just saying that it's a great reason independent of whether they are capable of appreciating and acting on it.

Advertising ...revenues? (2, Insightful)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472080)

ravenspear: They've already "paid for it" with the bucketloads of cash they've made from selling all the devices.

dmacleod808: Well said... AT&T's new tiered 3G plans will kill this easily... I can watch unlimited Television for free (broadcast networks of course).

It's interesting that you two are overlooking the same thing from different angles.

ravenspear has neglected to take into account that television is not free to broadcast. Even without government regulations and licensing, you have to have a transmitter, and either a live performance (lights, cameras) and/or some recorded performance (playback hardware) to transmit. The electricity alone would be monstrously expensive, and needs to be paid for somehow (say, advertising).

And you're citing AT&T's tiered plans as being a stopper because you think nobody on the receiving end would pay for the service. How do you watch broadcast television without paying for it? Because the broadcaster pays for the transmitter.

So what would happen if a significant chunk of iAd's revenue went into paying an ISP system or carrier for the bandwidth? I could only see it working this way, if you cast the phone's/pad's/computer's user as the audience, Apple itself as the network, and the ISP (or just one primary choice of ISP) as the nigh-inertial cost of doing business.

I can easily imagine reasons why they wouldn't do this—AT&T's 3G coverage and the fact that the iPhone and similar devices are already straining their networks for two. But then again, I thought the hassles of dealing with a mobile phone carrier would be sufficient to keep the iPhone from becoming a reality, so what do I know?

Re:Advertising ...revenues? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472462)

One possibility, also, is to use WiFi.

I do most of my TV watching at home in front of my--oddly enough--TV. I also have WiFi at home. I'm not necessarily that interested in watching TV while I'm out and about because I'm doing other things like driving.

Sure, there might be exceptions. I could see watching a little TV over lunch instead of reading a newspaper. If I have jury duty or some other situation where I'm stuck waiting for a potentially long period of time, I could watch some TV. But lots of restaurants have WiFi. Even some court buildings have WiFi.

Now, I don't take mass transit (It's LA--what is this mass transit of which you speak? :^) ), so I could see it being useful there. On the other hand, again, you're slowly seeing WiFi on busses, trains, etc.

So, watching via a 3G or 4G network probably wouldn't be my first choice anyway. Add in bandwidth caps like AT&T's and I'll probably end up waiting for a WiFi network.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472336)

I can watch unlimited Television for free (broadcast networks of course).

Aaaand... without the constant buffering, or even compression-related visual artifacts you get on streams or even crappy cable TV.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471890)

I haven't watched 'traditional' television since I discovered hulu.com and bought a computer to drive my HDTV. I can't believe I used to be willing to make an appointment to watch a TV show.

I agree about the 3G though. Cell phone networks have been slow to realize that they need to develop a high speed high bandwidth data only network and deploy it everywhere.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (5, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471982)

Cell phone networks have been slow to realize that they need to develop a high speed high bandwidth data only network and deploy it everywhere.

Laws of physics may be against them. If each handset consumes 10 Mbps (10^7 bps) (which is about half of what broadcast digital TV uses - 19+ Mbps) and if you have 10,000 (10^4) viewers in service area of each cell site then you need roughly (10^4 * 10^7) = 10^11 bps. If we assume s/n = 20 dB that requires [wikipedia.org] 10^11 / 6.65 = 11.5 * 10^9 Hz, or about 12 GHz of bandwidth. That can't be done on a carrier that is around 2 GHz! Variations of multicasting could be used to reduce that number somewhat, but it's a lot in any case, even if you reduce the bit rate at the client. At best you could achieve some mediocre reliability of a small picture for a limited number of clients. You can't get to the target bit rate without going into millimeter wave, and that isn't going to work due to poor penetration of buildings. And the root cause of all that trouble is that indeed "never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon loaded with magnetic tapes." Broadcast TV delivers an incredible amount of bits per second, even though each client gets exactly the same bits as any other client.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472150)

No, it wouldn't be simultaneous. Nor will it be in black and white or feature ads for cigarettes.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472184)

No, it wouldn't be simultaneous.

That's just too bad because TV consumption has well defined highs and lows. Think of a major football game, for example.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472164)

As a radio ham and general "get off my lawn!" sort of person, I still feel guilty when I catch up to some TV programme online. There's something very wasteful (at an instant) about using a one-to-one link for what should have been multicast/broadcast.

It's really weird to see more recently arrived 'net users not even stop to contemplate bandwidth allocation. Or throw away food or packaging. The trend's reversing, but at a snail's pace. We can assume there is an infinite amount of sunlight (beyond Earth) - anything else is something we're quite fortunate to have right now.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472274)


If each handset consumes 10 Mbps (10^7 bps)

Straight off, you're off by a factor of 10. Streaming video can quite easily be compressed down to 1 Mb/second corresponding to about the quality of SDTV. Since you'd only then require 1/10th of the bandwidth, that means only 1.2 ghz.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472602)

He's also wrong on the size of cell sites.

In most metro areas, a cell site would probably cover an area equal to about 5,000 handset users.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472554)

I haven't watched 'traditional' television since I discovered hulu.com and bought a computer to drive my HDTV. I can't believe I used to be willing to make an appointment to watch a TV show. I agree about the 3G though. Cell phone networks have been slow to realize that they need to develop a high speed high bandwidth data only network and deploy it everywhere.

It's not so much that they haven't REALIZED it, it's just that, well, you said it yourself ... Over What Bandwidth? Video on demand (or even just a three-channel broadcast station configuration like the 1950's) in a ubiquitous network would take more spectrum that we're likely to see available to the wireless carriers in the near future no matter WHAT kinds of tricks they can pull out of their hats by way of reuse or compression.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472614)

I haven't watched 'traditional' television since I discovered hulu.com and bought a computer to drive my HDTV. I can't believe I used to be willing to make an appointment to watch a TV show.

If "making an appointment" is your definition of "traditional" television, then I haven't watched "traditional" television in the decade I've owned my TiVo.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472198)

s of April this year Apple sold 75 million iPhone and iPod touch units, devices capable of delivering video via Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

The 3G connectivity is not sufficient for watching video in volume comparable to TV. TV bandwidth is essentially free (a true one-to-many broadcast,) whereas 3G is not (it's limited and shared.)

Even the Wi-Fi connectivity is lacking in many cities, let alone countryside. I think we are a good decade away from being able to depend on our Internet links for reliable, always-on TV viewing.

For "live" tv no, it's insufficient. For cached TV, it works fine. My ipod can download podcasts at whatever speed it can manage and I watch when it's done. It wouldn't take too much more effort for Apple to put automatic downloading into the operating system on the phones/pods. On my Mac, I run Miro and it downloads automatically without me asking a damn thing. Same with itunes itself. But since the units are so powerful these days and have so much space, needing to go back to home base for automatic downloads or having to manually trigger downloads is annoying and could be easily remedied.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472204)

Well they could have used an idea like Digital Multimedia Broadcasting
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Multimedia_Broadcasting [wikipedia.org]
But now seem to only have the option to push data on closed networks rather than satellite or terrestrial transmission like radio or TV.
Could US telco networks be opened to all, a new 'broadcast' standard is offered or the US public is herded into brand only walled media subscriptions?
The US telcos feeling data use, bandwidth upgrades and pricing is clear.
Apple and telco $$$ time for all :)

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472328)

Exactly, this is why a broadcast model does not apply. As the parent says, Broadcast has a fixed cost, the transmission towers, but it costs essentially the same to transmit to one viewer as it does to 1 million, within a geographical area that is. Cable has fixed costs to get the signal to a customer, but then the recurring costs for infrastructure are minimal. In both cases the issue, I suppose, to get enough viewers to cover the fixed costs, and then the rest is profit. The more customers the better.

Of course with content delivered over the internet there are many recurring customers costs. There is the cost of delivering the signal, and capacity must be added as customers increase. The content provider must build capacity for maximum viewership, and let excess capacity stand idle for most of the time. The infrastructure to deliver the content to the user is owned by third parties and paid for by the person receiving the content. The third party prices internet access based on assumptions that the customer is not going use it that much, and when the do, as in the case of iPhone, has to re price to limit the use.

So, what we are looking at is a system that may or may not be able to handle 42 million people watching to find out who shot J.R. I can tell you Hulu cannot handle the viewers it has now. Netflix does a much better job, but it does such on the iPad, so there is room for improvement. I am just not sure how Apple is going to do this. It takes me well over an hour to download a 40 minute show in standard def from iTunes. Apple does not seem to be set up to deliver real time content.

Re:Over what bandwidth? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472390)

Even the Wi-Fi connectivity is lacking in many cities, let alone countryside. I think we are a good decade away from being able to depend on our Internet links for reliable, always-on TV viewing.

Hey, isn't 10 years the deadline we heard a month ago, where the US government plans to move broadband minimums to 100Mbps?

I have a bad feeling about current capping trends and these forced bandwidth increases. Don't get me wrong, I know grandmothers who only read e-mails and maybe follow a youtube link.

The problem will be every media provider upping their stream minimum to HD or Blueray resolutions in the next ten years, without an appropriate cap re-evaluation on the billing side of the equation. Grandma won't know just how fast her new 100MB pipe is chugging along against her non-increasing cap.

Drivel.. (5, Informative)

Wovel (964431) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471852)

I told the firehose this link-bait was stupid, not sure why it did not listen. TFA article does not make any sense. There is no meat to it. It does not offer any information. The entire thing is pointless.

BTW there is nothing in the article that is not in the summary, so feel free to comment away without clicking. Not clicking is actually preferable in this case. I would dispute the point of the article, but since it makes no point, it is difficult to dispute. It is also, umm, pointless....

Re:Drivel.. (3, Funny)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472012)

Hell and the summary sounds like it came from the movie 'The Ten Commandments'. And Apple declares it.... So let it be written.

Re:Drivel.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472046)

Yeah. Don't comment on "stories" like this - it only encourages the douchebag spammers.

Re:Drivel.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472110)

No kidding.

Not to mention Nokia sold 107.8 million units just this quarter. In other words, in 3 months Nokia sold more than 1.5 times what Apple sold in 3 years. Then you have HTC, LG, Samsung, etc. Apple is a tiny little guppy in the mobile world.

Re:Drivel.. (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472226)

Not only that, but they compare US tv sales to Apple WORLD sales.

When you purchased your TV set, you knew you weren't going to get any content from Philco or Sylvania. Those companies would not limit what you could watch.

Re:Drivel.. (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472302)

I don't know about pointless....

"Call it the Apple Broadcast Network. iAd is how Apple plans to pay for it."

What preceded that statement was a bunch of hype and cheer leading, but that is a pretty big statement there at the end.

1) Apple is going to become a television network. Considering the recent article about their market capitalization surpassing Microsoft for the first time, they just *might* decide to go for it. I really dunno. Sony went took a bunch of steps backwards financially to support the PS3 before going forward, so it could be a calculated risk. They might also license their content competitively to the cable companies and satellite companies for distribution.

I honestly wonder what kind of content they would create. Considering that we would probably need to calculate (with a perfect Grand Unified Theory) all future events in the Universe before understanding how Apple approves content/software in it's app store and their seemingly Quaker like attitude towards sex and sexuality the content itself would probably make the Teletubbies look downright lurid in comparison.

Apple is the bastion of Shiny Happy People right? Some say (who are clearly just jealous) that they are pretentious, beret-wearing, Starbucks-swilling, shallow douchenozzles. Definitely a percentage to be sure, but I don't think we can blame Apple personally. Before you mod flamebait, I totally admit that my sample is a single person (my friend), who also is a total Adobe Slut, so two strikes. If he is reading this, yes I know... I am an ass... but you actually own that fucking beret don't you? Seriously, I have seen him wear the beret. You can't make that up.

Will be interesting to see what Apple thinks its glorious followers want for TV content. Can't wait actually.

2) iAd. i-Advertising. As in commercials and shit. I literally mean shit here, not an attempt at slang.

This one honestly surprises me. Apple has been, in the last couple of years, pretty damn good at putting out shiny objects that people will pistol-whip their mothers to obtain. I would think that this ability to perform so well was an indication of a deeper understanding of where the world is going in regards to technology, culture, and how we want to interact with it... then again... commercials?

For reals? For Serious?

Advertising is dying. Not a question of if, but when. Now we can argue about AdBlock Plus and the ethics of removing advertising and thwarting it all day long. What is without question though, is that the technology to perform such actions is getting better and more used.

I left the cable companies and satellite networks over 5 years ago and did not look back. I have not even watched TV since November 2009, and that was an HD torrent with the advertising ripped out, but those super-lame ad overlays during the actual show.

If you (Big Media) want me back, and a small portion of my money, you are going to have to give me what I want. Content on demand, time-shifted and media-shifted with NO RESTRICTIONS and DRM, and with absolutely no advertising of any kind. I am of course willing to pay on a show-by-show basis, if I decide that I really like it that much and need to see the next episode this Friday instead of actually having a life outdoors now.

Of course I may be different than most, and probably I am, but betting on Advertising to prop up a whole network when Advertising itself has been in a consistent decline in revenues year after year just strikes me as foolish.

So... I found this article quite interesting simply by what it implies to me.

Re:Drivel.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472346)

They told you not to comment, you douchebag.

Re:Drivel.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472378)

Oh, so the firehose ignores you, as well. I've noticed it ignores me, too.

Still, I eat my own... what's that? Do you? Oh, that makes two of us. Coprophage, I think is the term.

Well, yes, the *accepted* term. I think 'Ballmerite' is going too far...

Re:Drivel.. (1)

wkcole (644783) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472850)

I told the firehose this link-bait was stupid, not sure why it did not listen.

Professional courtesy. One robotic mindless incompetent website editor giving another a free pass.

TFA article does not make any sense. There is no meat to it. It does not offer any information. The entire thing is pointless.

It got a bunch of /.ers to visit MP3 Newswire, which appears to the the point of everything "Hodejo1" submits to /.

Re:Drivel.. (1)

Yaur (1069446) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472904)

The article is pure speculation by someone that doesn't even understand the basics of what it would take to bring something like this to market.

exaggerated numbers (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471856)

As often happens when someone is trying to support their position, these numbers are exaggerated. A lot of people have bought two iPhones, so there really aren't that many iPhones out in the wild. The phones are not all in the US, either, and an iPod touch with nothing but wifi may not be the best media delivery system.

In other words, if your business plan (or anything real, other than a slashdot story) depends on these numbers, you better dig deeper so you know what you are really dealing with.

Re:exaggerated numbers (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471888)

Plus TV, especially in its early days, is a single device shared among many eyeballs.

Re:exaggerated numbers (1)

polymath69 (94161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472058)

The guy doesn't even write his dates in ISO standard format. He must think he's posting to the USA Wide Web.

Re:exaggerated numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472464)

The guy doesn't even write his dates in ISO standard format. He must think he's posting to the USA Wide Web.

you're such a dune coon.

read the slashdot faq. this is an American site that happens to also have some visitors from other countries. get over it.

Re:exaggerated numbers (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472230)

On the other hand, if Apple made something like an IP TV station, they wouldn't be crazy enough to make it accessible only from their mobile devices. I'm quite sure that there would be an interface in the style of iTunes that even works in Windows. But having said that, I don't think the problem is the lack of an installed base with the right hardware. I think the problem is getting this service to work and getting content for it.

Also (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472442)

People don't buy phones to watch TV. They buy, well, TVs.

I do not get this idea that retards in the press have that TVs and computers are going to go away and be replaced with phones. No, they aren't. It isn't a matter of technology, it is a matter of convenience and features. Yes, modern smartphones have no problem displaying SD video, and you can surf the web on them. No, that doesn't mean you want to use only them.

I just bought a new TV, it is a nice 46" LCD TV. Why did I do that, if my phone could play media? Because I want a 46" TV. When I want TV I want to sack out on my couch and have a nice large screen to watch on. I do not want to have to hold a phone right up to my face to see what is going on. For that matter I don't even want to watch on my computer. My computer has a nice screen, and it is plenty large for using close up, but I don't want to sit in my computer chair all the time. Likewise, it wouldn't work well to move the system out in to the living room and try to use it there. Hence, I have a TV. Even though I have other devices that could technically fulfill its function, they do not have the features, namely the size, that I want.

I certainly think people will continue to consume media on their portable devices. After all, if you are in the doctor's office waiting it is convenient to have a device in your pocket that can entertain you. However that doesn't mean it'll become the primary or major way people get their media.

A big problem, in terms of streaming to mobile phones, is that pesky little thing called Shannon's Law. It states that the amount of information you can get in a given channel equals the bandwidth (in Hz) of the channel times the log of the signal to noise ratio. Well this is a real problem for high speed sustained wireless. The frequencies you are working with aren't that wide. When you are working in the 1900MHz range, you can only have channels that are tens of MHz wide. You can't have 1GHz channels or anything. Also, because of the low signal levels (-80dBm or less generally) your SNR sucks. 20dB at best, and it can be as low as 6dB for GSM. That equals not a whole lot of bandwidth. Now it can be fine when people use it in spurts. You allow someone to use a bunch of channels and get a big transfer, then someone else can use them. However if everyone is trying to sustain downloads, as is the case in streaming media, you simply run out of bandwidth.

Unfortunately, just upping the frequency isn't a solution either. The higher the frequency, the less penetrating power it has, and the more line of sight it is. A 100GHz signal could have great bandwidth, but won't even go through a wall. So in the frequency ranges that are useful, there's just only so much bandwidth you get.

As such, you aren't likely to see anything replace TV and cable/fibre as the main video content delivery for most people. It is simply a nice way to watch. Phones will remain a peripheral device, used occasionally but not the main thing.

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471864)

..."America is still devoted to worthlessness."

Huh? (5, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471868)

How do you get from "people own devices made by X" to "X has a network"? Dumbest. Story. Idea. Ever.

Re:Huh? (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472212)

Yeah, we've seen what titans Zenith and RCA became by making television sets.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472314)

Right, because RCA TVs and Apple iPhones are absolutely comparable. They both display moving images. They both play sound. And they are both internet-connected devices running software written and updated by a single party. That party maintains a persistent connection to them, and has an avowed interest in becoming a media distribution power. Oh, wait.

I am not suggesting that Apple will literally play streaming video over all these devices. However, it's an interesting way to think about the vested power here. They have 90 million devices that they essentially own in everyone's pockets, backpacks and living rooms. They are one update, one App Store app, away from becoming bigger than all four broadcast networks at their peak.

Re:Huh? (1)

Scott Tracy (317419) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472786)

Well, RCA did create NBC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBC), to make content for their devices (in a 1920s kind of way). So that's actually an exact parallel to the Apple situation we're discussing (which is nuts in and of itself, but that's for a different thread)

Yay Apple (2, Insightful)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471872)

Once again another apple story with no point. The climate in 1959 was much different than it is today. They only had radio and uhhm, tv. There was no internet, no video games. It was either watch tv at home or go to the movies. Today we have so many more options.

My cat ate an Apple: post it on slashdot! (2, Insightful)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471878)

Of course, since there was a story on Microsoft on the front page, we had to see this baseless speculation of a random guy on the net. I suppose everyone wants this stories, because they keep coming...

As for the subject I understand they have a content distribution network called iTunes and it works quite well. They will produce the iFridge before ever creating two competing products. Is there any point at all in this speculation?

Re:My cat ate an Apple: post it on slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471978)

OK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvDsrL2uCss

I must be missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471916)

I don't understand what this is trying to prove. Yes, mobile phone sales by Apple are greater than the TV sales in the 1950s. They both have advertising. Okay, good analogy so far. But the video people want to watch isn't coming from Apple, it's coming from Youtube and a number of other independent sites. The bandwith is coming from AT&T. I don't think Apple is interested in providing either the content or the bandwith themselves at this point, unless you mean iTunes sales. And those should be supported by the price of the content itself.

Uhh, 1959? (2, Insightful)

thenextstevejobs (1586847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471926)

Anyone care to enlighten me to why the ___ it matters how many Apple devices there are compared to how many TVs there were in 1959? Somebody playing madlibs with summaries?

Re:Uhh, 1959? (1)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471960)

It's easier to find numbers for televisions than invisible pink unicorns?

More seriously, the idea is that Apple now had access to a huge and amazing content delivery system. It's a reasonable point if poor sourced and confusing in the origins of its numbers.

Ignoring all the other problems, the post fails at basic math. The US population in 1959 was just under 178mil as per the census (http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/popclockest.txt). Google tells me that we're at about 307mil right now (http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=uspopulation&met=population&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=usa+population). 63/178 > 90/307. Methinks someone got confused between greater-than and less-than.

Ads (3, Insightful)

RafaelAngel (249818) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471932)

I despise how everything I now want to interact with (TV, Internet, video games, the old paper media) must be all based on ads. Can't somebody think of a better way? And if I have a subscription, can't I receive an ad free version. Thank (your favorite deity) for AdBlock and the mute button. I remember a time when there were only two commercial breaks when watching a TV program, now it's four. It sometimes feels like there is more commercials than actual program. I demand that these media outlets pay me for watching these ads. I might actually pay attention to them if I was paid to watch them.

Re:Ads (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472028)

There are only two models, ads and subscription/purchase. Ads have worked for radio, TV, newspaper for decades (and still more or less does for TV and radio). Subscription/purchase has worked for... HBO and books, it used to work for music and movies but then they became easy to rip and it was over.

Also, you are paid to watch the ads, you are paid with the content that you are given (otherwise gratis). If you don't want the ads: don't consume the content.

As for a better way, I've noticed that it is always someone else that people think will come up with a better way. The fact of the matter is that there are tons of consumers now who have been spoiled by ripped content so that they just want everything free. The only way to get around that is content-integrated ads that satisfy the ad buyers and the content producers. NOBODY is going to be happy with that.

Re:Ads (1)

RafaelAngel (249818) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472238)

We tout innovation but apparently no one can innovate a way out of using the same ad model for decades. I prefer subscriptions. I'm a happy subscriber of Marvel Digital Comics. Also had HBO at one point. Why can't we subscribe to the channels we want and not pay for the ones we don't want(a la carte). Or better yet have a subscription model per show. The show you like will be ad free while the others, which you'll probably ignore, run like they usually do.

Re:Ads (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472846)

Ad models have changed substantially, think of Google Ads. The point is you can't really get away from (a) the user pays or (b) someone else pays and the user must pay attention to their ad.

As for a la carte, iTunes and netflix already have this. On iTunes, you can already subscribe to a show.

Models (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472636)

There are some more ways to tweak those two methods. There is patronage, then release as a freebie bit torrent, so no one entity has to eat the whole cost. Patronage say the first episode free, released as a torrent/teaser, you (all of "yous") like it and want more, the creator sets up a pool and takes donations until his minimum price is met for the next one or two episodes, then the next is released as a free torrent. That's not quite subscription, but a variant that could work if the content is good enough. The big thing once you have content to move is bandwith and server costs, with bit torrent that is shared so the price per episode doesn't have to be as high for the content creator to still make money and keep it cheaper to offer. Sure tons of leeches, but who cares, eventually if your price is met, even the leeches can serve as word of mouth advertising for you. If it isn't costing you another penny, and you got your loot, who cares then...

A variation on the ad model is let the consumer pick the ads! At least give some option to look at ads that might be relevant to your tastes and shopping interests, not one size fits all forced ads. Like I watch the TV news sometimes OTA, but have no interest in "little purple pills" I should ask some actor-quack about, I just mentally tune those things out for the most part.

    On the net, this could be different. How about a check box with like 20 different types of ads? That and the content issuers vett the ads so they aren't malware or take too much bandwith, etc. I block ads now and also a default javascript block because of security and bandwith issues. I am on a slow connection, pulling ads from five other servers, any one of which could be spewing malware, makes the net *really* slow and is also a legitimate security issue all the time, which all these various sites like to plp;ay make believe doesn't happen/. BS, all of them it seems get nailed with spewing bad ads sometimes, plus, they assume everyone is on some whizzbang ten core machine with a ten meg a second connection. maybe *they* are at big website.com or bigadsite.com, but joe sixpack ain't all the time. They just don't grok this. Like we just saw the best place to get fast cellphone data from ATT is on the Apple campus. So all those devs and execs there get this totally skewed notion of how the net works on their iDevice.

And now, you combine the two tweaks above, for an even different model, as long as there is at most only one or two ads per show/movie/video whatever, not every five/ten minutes. A slight donation in advance, plus somewhat ad supported with the user picking ads they might be interested in, plus the user agrees to upload at least to parity.(I can't do streaming at all except just low bitrate voice, so have to pass on any model for that, I have to download any vid first to view it)

After that right now I got bupkis. The big problem is this expectation of every content creator wants to be a millionaire. Just ain't gonna happen with the way content gets made today, too many people like doing it and it is getting easier and easier to do, it isn't locked in to a few big players anymore.

    Raised on TV over the air, so paying directly for shows..I don't do cable or satellite now, think it is a rip, mostly because there do not have a la carte models,(I hate "plans", make it a la carte, I'll think about getting a dish..) so it would have to be good and with an easy micropayment method. I am not interested in signing up in advance for a whole season for some show over the internet. too much stuff out there to look at. Show by show..that's a possibility, but it has to be cheap. Also perfectly willing to seed a torrent to at least parity to help keep costs down for the producer so they can offer their stuff cheaper.

This is an interesting subject because digital content is such a profound game changer in eliminating scarcity, it is our first real replicator technology. The price of copies is so absurdly low to reproduce that legitimate copies should be priced really low, but they sure aren't now. *If* they had done that in the first place, really dropped prices severely, they could have nipped piracy in the bud. I think the content sellers really missed the boat/shot themselves in the foot and brought on a lot of piracy because they just insisted on charging full price "per unit" for digital content the same as if they were shipping you some expensive to reproduce tangible goods, ie, a vinyl LP or video tape, etc. People by the tens of millions went "screw that". (I don't pirate, but understand the mindset, people hate to be price gouged, so they lose respect)

    There is *no* long term business reason at all to charge the same for a digitally delivered product as a tangible durable goods product. All you do with that and adding in DRM and stuff is piss off your potential customers. It started out lame and remains lame to this day.

  With six billion going on nine billion people within a generation on this planet, there is enough potential audience out there for content creators to be charging cents instead of dollars per digital "unit" transferred. Volume sales at a really fair "digital copy" price is the only counter that might work to full freebie piracy.

Re:Models (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472916)

A few points:

Physical media is about 10% of the cost of production, most of the total cost is on people you don't see or think of who are involved in the production of a song/video. It has always been the case that most of the costs were not for the last unit, its mostly about the first unit.

As for what you call patronage, this will result in WAY to little product--I would never pony up for this model unless it was within a few bucks of the limit and stuck there for a day or two.

I'm worried that if things don't change soon there will be very little in the way of music production and even TV/movies might fall. I'm afraid that, ironically, only the biggest acts will survive and there are just going to be a bunch of people saying, "uh, I thought the price wasn't fair, so I got the torrent. Man, they needed to fix their business model and they never did. Not my fault."

Finally, when I read, "This is an interesting subject because digital content is such a profound game changer in eliminating scarcity, it is our first real replicator technology." I think, please google "gutenberg".

Re:Ads (2, Interesting)

NF6X (725054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472042)

I despise ads so much that I've quit watching broadcast TV or listening to radio. The few TV shows that I do watch, I buy from the iTunes store, because I'd rather pay a couple bucks than have to watch any ads, and I don't watch enough TV shows to justify bothering with a cable TV subscription and DVR (to skip the ads).

When I'm in a friend's vehicle and they have the radio on, hearing the ads is worse torture than their incompatible taste in music. I used to subscribe to XM radio, but cancelled when they merged the XM/Sirius channel lineups and eliminated much of the stuff that I wanted to listen to; at that point, they no longer could compete with my iPod.

I like my Apple products, and barely tolerate Apple's iron fist (there's a lot of room for improvement there). However, if there was an "Apple Broadcasting Network" supported by "iAds", I wouldn't have any interest in it unless there was an easy way to avoid ever seeing any of the ads. I have zero interest in ad-supported products, though I'm not above using ad-supported products and services where I can easily block the ads.

So, to all of you ad-supported product providers out there: Unless you let me steal your crappy product without having to see the ads, I'm just not interested. Die in a fire, and all that. If you think you have a product that's good enough that I can't live without it, then give me a way to support it without seeing ads. If it's a good enough product, I'll happily pay for it; if it's crap, I'll either steal it for free or just live without it.

Re:Ads (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472072)

If it's crap, why would you waste your time watching/listening to it? Is it possible this is just a way to justify to yourself not paying for content?

Just curious, do you have a limit, like once the play count on a song goes over 10, then you buy it? Or might you play a song 40 times but still claim it is crap even if it is catchy?

Re:Ads (1)

NF6X (725054) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472178)

Maybe I wasn't clear enough. The "crap" that I referred to "stealing" is only ad-supported stuff. Like a broadcast TV show that I might record and then watch while skipping the ads (I don't bother doing that any more), or a web page that's festooned with annoying ads (that I happily block). I don't pirate music at all. I have just under 3,500 songs in my music collection, and I've paid for all of them either by ripping a CD that I bought (and still own/possess), or by buying them from a digital provider like iTunes or Amazon. I am quite happy to support providers of quality content, including music, TV shows, movies and software. Even the CDs I own were mostly bought new (except for out-of-print stuff that's not available new), so I generally don't double-dip by buying a CD that somebody else has already ripped. Heck, a friend recently turned me onto the web series The Guild [watchtheguild.com], and I bought it in the iTunes store rather than watching it for free on their web site. I was happy that a portion of the purchase price would be going back to the creators of that series.

My point was simply that I despise ads so much that I refuse to tolerate them at all. I will pay for quality non-ad-supported products. If a product is only available in an ad-supported format, I'll either block/skip the ads or just live without the product.

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472192)

but you *are* paid to watch the commercials - by way of being allowed to watch the program - someone's determined that the program is worth $X / person - you have the absolute right not to watch the program if you feel the commercials are not worth the time. The convenience to catch missed programs by Hulu is brought by a handful of short ads, and usually from the same company over and over again. If I see another ad for 5Hour Energy, I want to scream, but then I realize that with out them taking a few seconds of my time, I wouldnt be able to watch half of anything conveniently distributed through Hulu - they've pumped so much money into the adspace that they practically single handedly keep Hulu afloat. Now, I'm feeling a little sluggish, where's my shot of energy.... (never had one, never plan to try one, but i'll let them bombard me for 2 minutes of my life to get whatever it was I was watching for "free")

TVs can be watched by many (4, Insightful)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471944)

The whole family (which was larger on average back then compared to now) would gather around a single TV to watch together back in 1959. Iphones and even Ipads aren't really conducive to shared viewing like that.

Re:TVs can be watched by many (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472308)

Sharing is evil..

1) each person needs a viewer
2) each viewer needs a license(subscription?)
3) Profit!!

Re:TVs can be watched by many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472338)

Well, your slashdot name goes with your comment like a warm apple pie goes with Thanksgiving.

Competition (3, Insightful)

Puk (80503) | more than 3 years ago | (#32471956)

In 1959, the television broadcast networks were competing with... radio? Today, Apple is competing with an enormous number of Windows- (and Linux-, Android-, WebOS-...) based Internet-connected laptops (and desktops, phones, PDAs, tablets...) capable of showing the same quality video. Oh, and with television (broadcast, cables, satellite...), which has grown a bit since 1959.

-puk

Apple Scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32471972)

"That makes a proprietary amalgam greater than what the TV networks had in 1959 and one that easily serves as a foundation for a pending broadcast network that will be delivered not through tall radio towers, but through the internet via medium radio towersand local wireless cells (and cost infinitely more than free)" Fixed

75 million sounds like a lot until.. (1)

atticus9 (1801640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472036)

You notice that Firefox has 360 million users, Chrome has 70 million users*, and IE has more than both of those combined.

*http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9177101/Firefox_trumps_Chrome_in_active_user_gains_Mozilla_director_argues

Baseless speculation, that's all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472122)

Title says it all.

I wish I could mod this article down a dozen times...
I mean, it is just a bunch of random predictions that are not even supported by real facts. That shouldn't even be on Slashdot, but it still ends up here just because it talks about Apple. That gets old quickly, even to an Apple fanboy.

Yeah, I know, I must be new here, huh?

There are not 90 million iphone/touch/pads (2, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472132)

They may have sold that many, but there aren't that many in use. I'm guessing somewhere near 25% of those 75 million (15-18 million) are out of use. (damaged or retired/upgraded)

Not that it matters really to the story, just making it know that the numbers are overstated.

Oh flippin' wonderful! (0, Troll)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472142)

So we can turn on the news and see a bunch of smug schmucks in black turtlenecks behind a newsdesk reporting Apple-approved pablum 24/7?

Hold on. Where's a leave my set of seppuku knives...

Re:Oh flippin' wonderful! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472528)

Well, one-way media flow is definitely an Apple "way" of internet management. Fortunately, all we have to do is not own an Apple product, to avoid it. This'll be easy LOL.

Those numbers seem fishy to me. (2, Informative)

REALMAN (218538) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472154)

"In 1959 5,749,000 television sets were sold in the US, bringing the cumulative total of sets sold since 1950 to 63,542,128 units."

There are 300 + Million people in the U.S. and you're telling me that only 63.5 million sets have been sold from 1950 to now???

I call Bullshit.

"By 1960, there were 52 million sets in American homes, one in almost nine out of ten households."
Jordan, Winthrop. The Americans. Boston: McDougal Littell, 1996: 798.

"According to data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), there are currently 285 million televisions in use in US households."
North American TV Market and Its Relevance [pdf]. Energy Star Research, 6 January 2006.

Re:Those numbers seem fishy to me. (1)

REALMAN (218538) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472176)

Mea Culpa.

I misunderstood the initial statement. The numbers were for 1950 - 1959

Excuse me while I wipe the egg from my face. :P

Re:Those numbers seem fishy to me. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472360)

And by wiping eggs from your face you mean cum, right?

iAds are in apps, not media (2, Insightful)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472180)

The reason Apple is doing iAds is to improve the experience of in-app ads. User like free and $1-2 apps, and so developers have been putting ads in their apps and the ads are very basic and they take you out to the Web. So iAds are advertising-focused mini HTML5 apps that run inside native C apps, and keep you in your app.

If used in a media app, they may support media, like a free Hulu app. But they work on all kinds of apps.

Besides, $8.99 a month for Netflix on iPad absolutely destroys Hulu. There is no shortage of TV already on Apple devices.

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472218)

This "story" shows exactly why Slashdot is irrelevant now.

I call BS on their TV statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32472298)

According to Nielsen, there were 67.5million American households subscribing to basic cable in 1999. If we assume that every American household only owns one television (hah), that they have only bought one television in the entirety of their lives (HAH), that TVs don't exist outside of homes, and that every single television ever sold in the US if still in service (hope you enjoy hooking up the B&W to a digital converter box); why were 4million households subscribing to a service that they could not physically use?

In reality, the FCC claims that 99% of American households own a television (according to the census, the number of households in the US is around 115million), and that the majority of households own more than one TV. Additionally, and I know this is only anecdotal, I don't personally know any adult who hasn't had to buy a new television at some point (whether when they get their first place, or because an old TV has died).

What I'm trying to say is: Only 63million TVs sold in the US since 1950? [Citation needed]

1959? fail. (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472354)

who gives a fuck how many sets existed in 1959. that was a fledging market, the TV market is now very very mature with lots of players. who wants to watch a significant amount of tv on a small fucking iphone screen anyway??!! this is all besides the point that current plans make it impossibly expensive to stream more then a few minutes of video, the cell phone networks can't cope either.

this whole story is just stupid, has /. run out of real stories and resorted to recycling crap from mac rumor forums or something?

Goodbye Flash. (2, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472376)

That's 90 million people (with a good income) who won't be seeing anything designed in Flash.

If that's not a good reason to stop using Flash on websites, I don't know what is. If you're an advertiser, and you use those annoying Flash ads that we all hate, then it's time to change, or die.

I may not agree with all of Apple's reasons for not using Flash, but I sure as hell love the result.

Numbers are off (0)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472690)

the cumulative total of sets sold since 1950 to 63,542,128 units

Uh, I think you missed a zero at the end there, pal. Wikiawnsers says somewhere around 110 million households in the USA. *I* don't watch broadcast TV, but I still have an ancient 27" TV that a friend of a friend was looking to unload buried in the attic somewhere. The number of households that don't own even one set (even in storage) are vanishingly small. That doesn't even account for the hundreds of millions of TVs bought and broken, or simply given away or trashed over the years. You can't even give away a TV under 27" these days. I can't count the number of TVs I've seen on the curb with signs that say FREE or STILL WORKS! attached. Most households own closer to two sets. I have no idea how they got the 63 million number, that should be 630 million. But 630 million is not a number anywhere near how many products Apple has sold during the entire lifetime of the company combined, so it doesn't make for as interesting of an article.

Maybe I'm not "in the know"... (2, Insightful)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 3 years ago | (#32472800)

Either I missed a major news release and this was a bad article or... this is all merely speculation. Sure, I could see Apple rolling out an advertising system, it's already been mentioned vaguely before, especially since they could lock your system for the ads if they wanted to, it's just... unless it was specifically tied to certain sources of content, forcing adverts on everyone's devices could really start a slow backlash towards Apple on their level of control on the devices.

At least... I think this sort of thing until I look at the control they already have on the devices, and see the possibility of adverts as just another step down the road that everyone will unthinkingly take.
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