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DirecTV CEO Scoffs At Competition From Apple TV

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the apple-interfaces-tend-to-impress dept.

GUI 264

theodp writes "In a move that evokes memories of Steve Ballmer's initial pooh-poohing of the iPhone threat, DirecTV Chairman Michael White downplayed the Apple TV hype, expressing doubts that 'Apple's interface will be so much better than DirecTVs' that people will be willing to pay for an extra box. So, will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?"

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264 comments

Irony alert! (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 years ago | (#40201709)

While DirecTV's Chairman is crowing about his viewers lacking an interest in paying for an "extra box" on top of what he provides? Viewers will continue to drop DirecTV service completely, once they use boxes like AppleTV and realize they're saving a lot of money by streaming video content and doing "pay only for what you want to watch" with iTunes store movie or TV series purchases/rentals. So yeah, he's right... They only want one set-top box. Increasingly, it won't be his.

Re:Irony alert! (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40201737)

But I consider the per-view charges of AppleTV very expensive. They're OK for movies, but for weekly television episodes, they're higher than I'm willing to pay.

Re:Irony alert! (4, Interesting)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 years ago | (#40201801)

If you only watch 2 or 3 TV shows regularly, is it more expensive than a DirecTV package?

Re:Irony alert! (3, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#40202003)

I worked the math on this for my usage not so long ago. I could do Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and pay to watch something like 2 regular shows assuming one show per week, and it was still less than I was paying for TV. The exercise was to see what I could get legally for what TV costs... no torrents.

That was with AT&T though, and when I asked about cancelling my TV service they were quick to remind me that my internet service would get more expensive. And now they're capping usage. Those folks know what they're doing.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

RKBA (622932) | about 2 years ago | (#40202123)

I recently inquired with Comcast about my cost savings if I were to eliminate television from my subscription. They told me that my cost would actually increase because I would no longer be getting the XFINITY "Triple Play" discount (TV, telephone, and Internet). It sounded like BS to me, but that was the story I was given by their service rep on the telephone.

Re:Irony alert! (3, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 years ago | (#40202375)

It makes sense from their perspective, in a weird "let's-not-give-customers-what-they-want" kind of way. If they provide you with enough of a disincentive to drop their TV service while you keep internet, they feel like they're (at least temporarily) delaying the inevitable march that consumers are making towards the pay-for-what-you-want-to-watch model of content delivered across the net. It's short-sighted, but then again, when's the last time media companies adopted a smart long-term strategy?

Re:Irony alert! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40202135)

2 tv shows per week at AppleTV rates is about the same as DirecTV's introductory rates. 3 is a little more. You'd be at twice that compared to DirectTV's standard rates. But for Americans that's a very low rate of TV-watching, especially if you have a family with diverse viewing preferences. Of course, if you also have over-the-air access you're getting a lot more than that for free -- or could be if you chose to put up an antenna.

p2p, for you and for me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201815)

Then get it fresh from your friendly local neighbourhood torrent site, usenet server or ftp stash.

If you are of the worrying kind, pay $10 for a VPN not part of your local jurisdiction to completely avoid nastygrams from the star-double-A mob.

Re:p2p, for you and for me (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 2 years ago | (#40202543)

How does that work? The MAFIAA will just subpoena the VPN provider to get your subscriber info, so you've only added one minor step to their legal workflow. Their "local jurisdiction" apparently ends at the border of the Oort cloud.

In fact, you may actually be saving them some work, if the VPN provider is hosting a lot of piratically-inclined users. One subpoena could get them n subscriber records in that case.

Re:p2p, for you and for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202603)

They can, but they don't. My provider is in Turkey, and it just isn't worth the MPAAs time to hassle them when they can simply send a "settle-or-else" to some some family.

It isn't about stopping piracy, it's about getting paid.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

fiziko (97143) | about 2 years ago | (#40201849)

True, but that's largely due to Apple watching the market. Most people weren't "renting" TV shows, so they dropped the pay-per-view model for individual episodes. Instead of paying $0.49-$0.99 to rent an episode, you buy it for $0.99-$3.49 (all prices based on what I've seen in the Canadian store for shows I'm interested in; YMMV) per episode to watch as often as you like. It's expensive pay-per-view for TV episodes because that's not quite what they are selling, because that's not what most people were buying.

As someone with a collector's impulse, I like the prices. When I had cable, I'd pay each month for the HDTV feed, download episodes to the PVR, and felt that any show worth watching was worth owning, so I bought the DVD/Blu-Ray set later. Now, it amounts to paying for the DVD/Blu-Ray set up front and just watching the episodes when I get around it. Instead of finding storage space for one season after another, I found storage space for a 3TB external hard drive for the laptop and stream it all from there. By the time that puppy fills, a far larger hard drive will be available at a lower price, I'm sure. Even with the slightly limited offerings in Canada, I find the combination of AppleTV and Netflix covers everything I've wanted to watch in the past year with the exception of the Academy Awards. (Caveat: I have no interest in local news broadcasts or sports. As far as I can tell, cable is still king for those, although that is also rapidly changing.)

Re:Irony alert! (4, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#40201859)

I use my Apple TV mainly for playing music off my main iTunes library, but I looked at the video and saw $2.99 per episode for TV shows? I have Amazon Prime streaming and see similar stuff: $1.99/episode for a 4 year old How It's Made.

Everyone is talking about the merits of different technology, but the real road block to adoption seems to be an insanely broken pricing scheme. I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?

Re:Irony alert! (5, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#40202075)

I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?

Multiply that by the number of subscribers (not actual views) and you'll find that CC is getting a hefty check. Even people who never watch CC are paying that monthly fee. Compare that to the actual revenue from episodes sold (and "sold" is a 1 time payment, not monthly or per view), and I think you'll find it makes sense. Also, episodes "sold" generally don't include commercials, so they're giving up that revenue stream too. Completely different business models.

Rental is yet another business model, one that's closer to the cable/satellite model.

Cable/satellite = all you can consume, but only as long as you maintain your subscription. When your subscription ends, all access ends with it. Pay the same whether you watch 1min or 500hrs per month.
Per show rental = Pay per view (or a window of xx hours). Access ends after xx hours (or one view).
Per show purchase = Pay more per show, but pay only once, and watch it whenever you choose, as many times as you choose.

Either way, the content creators and/or distributors will want to make ~ the same amount of revenue. So, you will pay more up-front for a purchase, but you don't have the recurring fees.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40202161)

Either way, the content creators and/or distributors will want to make ~ the same amount of revenue. So, you will pay more up-front for a purchase, but you don't have the recurring fees.

Correction: each way they want to make AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Re:Irony alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202091)

To some people, two bucks is a trivial amount of money.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40202325)

I've never used the iTunes store but I wonder if the price difference is due to the downloadable/steamable shows not having (as many) ads.

I'd like to know how much the people making the shows get per viewer. I bet is is close to what we are willing to pay.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

xs650 (741277) | about 2 years ago | (#40202331)

"I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?"

I think the present system sucks and am not defending it, but...

At 0.25/month from each subscriber, they are likely taking in more than 2 bucks per actual episode view because a small minority of subscribers actually watch Comedy Central, even though it is a popular show.

If individual shows had to depend on paying subscribers paying by the episode. most shows would never get off the ground.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

dark12222000 (1076451) | about 2 years ago | (#40202371)

If individual shows had to depend on paying subscribers paying by the episode. most shows would never get off the ground.

Given the nature of most of those shows, is that a bad thing?

Re:Irony alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201861)

At the volume of TV we watch, it was obvious to give up even basic cable, let alone the premium subscription service. Frankly life is better when you watch a couple hours of TV a week instead of a couple a day, try it.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40201963)

This is true, but that's down to the content owners - Apple does not set the price. I'm sure if they could offer them cheaper to aggressively compete with cable TV they would, but the prices have obviously been set by the owners of said competing cable service to ensure they're not.

Maybe that will change.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

milkmage (795746) | about 2 years ago | (#40202121)

actually, that's not PPV.. Apple killed rentals (for TV shows) last year because nobody was renting.
http://www.macworld.com/article/1161983/apple_axes_tv_show_rentals_for_itunes_apple_tv.html [macworld.com]

so when you consider it a sale, it's about the same as getting the discs with the added benefit of getting the latest episode the day after it airs. (except for really popular shows like Game of Thrones)

Apple season pass for Sherlock S2 is 19.99 (vs. 6.99 per), the DVD from amazon is 19.96, amazon (digital) season pass is 15 bucks (no freebies for Prime).
PBS is also streaming Masterpiece Mystery if you haven't seen S2 yet.

Re:Irony alert! (0)

phoomp (1098855) | about 2 years ago | (#40202273)

If you watch a lot of TV, you're absolutely right. However, I find that lately there is very little on TV that is interesting enough to be worth my time, never mind my $.

AppleTV may have to deal with ISP and data costs (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40201917)

AppleTV may have to deal with ISP and data costs do you really think Comcast will give them a free ride??

Re:AppleTV may have to deal with ISP and data cost (0, Flamebait)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#40202069)

What this is fucking free ride you are mumbling about? I paid for my pipe, and though it may be shared with my neighbors, it's none of your fucking business where I suck down my content from.

You are an idiot.

Re:AppleTV may have to deal with ISP and data cost (5, Insightful)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#40202183)

What this is fucking free ride you are mumbling about? I paid for my pipe, and though it may be shared with my neighbors, it's none of your fucking business where I suck down my content from.

You are an idiot.

You had a nice rebuttal. The name calling was unnecessary and makes you look like the idiot. Try and just stick to your argument, youll get much farther in life...

comcast 300GB and then $10 per 50GB (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40202235)

Comcast 300GB and then $10 per 50GB.

HD IPTV can burn cap fast and haveing HSI without cable tv costs more then HSI with cable tv.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40201971)

While DirecTV's Chairman is crowing about his viewers lacking an interest in paying for an "extra box" on top of what he provides? Viewers will continue to drop DirecTV service completely,

This is inevitable, broadcast services are dying a slow death as multi-cast and on-demand services become more prevalent.

once they use boxes like AppleTV .

This made me laugh. Apple has had no success with AppleTV and for good reason, they are trying to follow the same "micropayment" model that is killing the other companies, when you look at it, paying $2 per episode is no different then pay-per-view. AppleTV has completely failed to take off and unlike Microsoft they are unable to bundle it with their other offering due to the fact it's a bit of hardware.

This "Direct TV" guy (they don't exist in Oz) is right about that, people don't want another box, his or Apple's. They want this shit built into their TV sets and not have it controlled by someone else. This is why Napster and Bit Torrent is such a huge success, not because it's free but because it provides people with what they want.

Apple TV is a failure. A successful on demand service will integrate with what people already have and provide access to what they want without asking for payment every single time.

Re:Irony alert! (2)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 2 years ago | (#40202139)

It doesn't matter who delivers it, Hollywood will eventually get $100 per month out of you. It happened with cable, then later with satellite, and in another few years it will happen with streaming. Just wait and see.

Continue to drop? (2)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40202205)

Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] :

Year Subscribers
1994 320,000
1995 1,200,000
1996 2,300,000
1997 3,301,000
1998 4,458,000
1999 6,679,000
2000 9,554,000
2001 10,218,000
2002 11,181,000
2003 12,290,000
2004 13,000,000
2005 15,000,000
2006 15,950,000
2007 16,830,000
2008 17,620,000
2009 18,081,000
2010 19,200,000
2011 19,890,000 (DTV was hurt by the NFL lockout in 2011)

And they are expanding their service into Latin America.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#40202415)

I don't think so. Most users don't even know how to change their TV inputs... My wife can't figure out how to enable the DVD player from the DVR. One device is really where people want things.

Regarding the Steve Ballmer comment.. to be honest, the iPhone never was a threat to Microsoft. Microsoft had a very small niche market for phones, and to this day still has that market. The iPhone has done little to change that. In fact, Windows Phone 7.x has slightly improved their market share.

Re:Irony alert! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40202519)

The market of people actually capable of streaming TV on demand through internet is still very low. Nothing to worry about. DirecTV will lose some bleeding edge tchnologists, probably people getting internet from cable anyway where DirecTV gets most customers from those who either can not get cable or who dislike cable.

Kind of reminds me of (1)

mlingojones (919531) | about 2 years ago | (#40201725)

then-Palm CEO Ed Colligan in 2006: [daringfireball.net]

We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

We all know how well that turned out for them.

Re:Kind of reminds me of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201791)

Well, it wasn't the PC guys who figured it out. (If you count PC guys as the Wintel world)

Re:Kind of reminds me of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201843)

...You don't consider Apple PC guys? What do they make then, fruit trees? Pretending that Apple x86-compatible computers are different enough from non-Apple x86-compatible computers to need another name beyond the brand is just silly, lay off the marketing hype.

Re:Kind of reminds me of (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#40202079)

Normally, people equate "PC" world to x86 computers running windows.

Technically Macs run on x86, but consumers still see a "PC" as a beige box, and a Mac as a different animal.

Re:Kind of reminds me of (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 2 years ago | (#40201819)

You don't have to be much of a chess player to figure out options in play to see that DirectTV doesn't have all the pieces: ...Hardware, data pipe, storage, backup, device integration outside of video/audio, content and that nebulous thing called Ease of Use.

Re:Kind of reminds me of (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#40201901)

The "PC" guys figured out that the best phone wasn't a complex phone but a small screen computer. Maybe they are also figuring that the best TV isn't a complex TV but a big screen computer.

Re:Kind of reminds me of (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#40202339)

Apple TV is more likely to be a big screen phone, running iOS. If they plan on continuing with their content censorship they may also limit their success, unless they decide they want to be the next Disney.

"Extra box"? (3, Informative)

danaris (525051) | about 2 years ago | (#40201727)

Given all the rumours, it sounds more and more likely that Apple will be releasing an actual TV set of one sort or another. That wouldn't be an "extra box," it would just be a replacement TV.

I wonder what Mr. White would think of the chances of that sort of "Apple TV"?

Dan Aris

Re:"Extra box"? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40201743)

He'd probably think the market of people who want to pay for a whole new TV isn't all that big.

Re:"Extra box"? (2)

danaris (525051) | about 2 years ago | (#40202083)

He'd probably think the market of people who want to pay for a whole new TV isn't all that big.

Except that X thousand people buy new TVs every year. Sure, it's not a growing market like smartphones and tablets, but it's not like a TV is a "buy once, use forever" thing.

And if Apple's TV set offered something especially compelling—like enough content deals with the major providers that you could cancel your cable or satellite service, and still get all the shows you liked as they aired, for a competitive price—then people might find reasons to replace their old TVs with one.

Not saying I have any particular reason to believe that Apple has achieved that, just that it's the kind of thing I would expect them to consider necessary and sufficient to release such a TV.

Dan Aris

Re:"Extra box"? (1, Informative)

Crasoose (1621969) | about 2 years ago | (#40201751)

Looks like there will be a box, here is a link from apple themselves: http://images.apple.com/appletv/images/buystrip_hero.png [apple.com]

Re:"Extra box"? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40201893)

Looks like there will be a box, here is a link from apple themselves:
  http://images.apple.com/appletv/images/buystrip_hero.png [apple.com]

Did you just whoosh us?

Are you trying to be subtly humorous?

Or have you completely missed the fact that the little "Apple TV" picture you linked has been for sale for a couple of years and isn't the mythical Apple "Living Room Killer" device that the Jobsian disciples are fervently praying for?

heh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40201729)

That's a dumb thing to say in virtually any context. It's especially dumb in this one because of Apple's excellent track record in bringing a good end-user experience. If the AppleTV rumors are true, the ability to to tell my remote "I want to watch Boardwalk Empire" or "record all new episodes of Game of Thrones" could be a game changer that will cause DirecTV to scramble to catch up.

That said, I do think he can afford to be somewhat defiant about it. A $1,500 50" TV is not likely to sell like hotcakes. If Apple holds to their current pattern he's got time to react.
 

Re:heh (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40201935)

"TV, I'd like to watch 'Boardwalk Empire'"

"Mobile Tata - I don't understand boardwalk empire."

"TV, play 'Boardwalk Empire'"

"I couldn't find 'Boardwalk Empire' in your music, Mobile Tata.

"Oh fuck it, make me some popcorn"

"I'd blush if I could"

Somehow, I don't see this as working out too well
(Dialog pulled directly from yeah-but-it's-still-a-beta Siri)

Re:heh (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40201997)

"Play 'Boardwalk Empire'"

"Did you mean "'The Empire Strikes Back'?"

"No!"

"Do you want to watch the original where Han shoots first or the ultra hyper mega blu-ray edition with Hayden Christensen CGIed into every second scene?"

"No!"

"Playing movie"

Han didn't shoot first. (1, Offtopic)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#40202353)

Han shot. Greedo died.

Greedo never had a chance to shoot, because he was dead, from being too slow or perhaps from being too dimwitted to realize that he was making a threat that was just enough justification for Han to grasp a tenuous moral justification for what was arguably cold-blooded murder.

Alternately, there is a version out there where Greedo shoots Han from less than an arm's length away, misses by half that distance, and Han kills Greedo in perfectly justified self-defense.

That version is a little boringer, but also more publicly available. In neither version was there an additional shot *after* Han shoots.

you can't get HBO on it's own and not IPTV only as (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40201989)

you can't get HBO on it's own and not IPTV only as well. and then if you can get that there is still the ISP data fees as well.

You must take a base package or on the hidden but in the old FCC law of limited basic + HBO + maybe a cable card + SDV tuner (very unapple and not likely to be on a apple tv) or the even bigger mess of apple tv driving a cable tv box. that can be at the lowest level of useing IR blasters. and with that to make use of any kind of DVR like setup you may need more then 1 cable box and then there may be HDCP issues as well.

I don't think apple will want to put up with the cable card mess as it can be a big customer service issues with lot's of finger pointing with apple on one side and the cable co on the other.

Re:you can't get HBO on it's own and not IPTV only (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40202101)

...you can't get HBO on it's own...

Currently...true.

But what's to say that Apple isn't courting HBO and the like to be able to stream them through and AppleTV or like device?

As long as HBO get's their money, and potentially more customers...why would they not jump at this opportunity?

well that stream may goes over cable ISP's (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40202241)

well that stream may goes over cable ISP's.

So the cable co may push back at HBO over that and try to lock apple tv out of HBO.

Re:you can't get HBO on it's own and not IPTV only (2)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#40202479)

As long as HBO get's their money

Hi, welcome to the 21st century. I see you have just arrived. I know this will seem very strange to you 20th century visitors, but here's the deal: HBO doesn't give a damn about getting their money, except maybe in terms of discouraging it from happening. None of the media companies do. Their main business model is that whenever a customer comes to them and waves money in their face, the media company's response is "Fuck you! Get that fucking money out of my fucking face."

HBO is only going to be interested in this, if it comes with some assurance that customers will be unhappy, and will have increased motivation to stop sending their monthly checks.

The video industries know what Apple did to the poor bastards in music, who were all trying to go out of business but are now burdened with so many accursed sales directly trackable to Apple's store. Forewarned MPAA companies are not going to have their suicides sabotaged the same way -- they're not that oblivious.

Re:heh (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about 2 years ago | (#40202227)

The last major product line Apple introduced was the iPad in 2010, which stunned analysts because it cost half what they confidently priced the rumoured device at [cio.com] .

Yes, it was half of what a full-blown computer could do, but obviously consumers have decreed it the right half.

And while some claim the iPad isn't a "real" productivity environment so it shouldn't be considered in the same league as a desktop/laptop, a TV with PVR, game console, internet box, etc, is almost exclusively a content consumption or gaming device anyway, which iOS excels at. A full-blown Apple TV can't be dismissed as "just a toy" because it doesn't have a full office suite.

A small prediction: If Apple does release a full-blown TV, it will not have HDMI ports, but Thunderbolt ports instead, which at 2x 10 Gbps channels has almost twice the bitrate of HDMI (10.2 Gbps) and might support daisy-chaining better than HDMI. This is additional cost to the end user, but Apple's well known for leaving off ports to save space or costs, and requiring pricey adapters.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201753)

What an idiot.

The TV industry as it stands now is a disaster. Apple is the most likely company to step in and fix things. We are not happy with the current business model, and few companies ever survive a transition to a new business model.

I'm not sure if Apple will succeed, but at the very least Michael White should be worried. Very worried.

Re:Idiot (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201909)

You know, I don't own any Apple products, and I don't particularly have any plans to at this particular moment. (Not that I have anything against it.) But is there seriously no other company in the industry competent enough to step into a market and kick everyone in the ass in the way Apple has been doing? Music players, phones, tablets, ultrabooks, etc., and now potentially TVs. Where will the industry go after TVs? Or will Apple have to hold everyone's hands in that adventure too?

Talking to your Apple TV (2)

Flector (1702640) | about 2 years ago | (#40201797)

I could be wrong, but laying on a couch and talking to your TV for hours on end has the potential to be a soul-deadening experience.

Re:Talking to your Apple TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201889)

I think you're right. Especially if it talks back.

I hate telephone phone trees that force you to interrupt the nice robot. I feel so rude.

Re:Talking to your Apple TV (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40201957)

I could be wrong, but laying on a couch and talking to your TV for hours on end has the potential to be a soul-deadening experience.

As if laying on your couch and simply watching your TV is the pinnacle of Western Civilization?

Re:Talking to your Apple TV (1)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#40202107)

As if laying on your couch and simply watching your TV is the pinnacle of Western Civilization?

TV, that's like a rotary phone, right? Some weird 20th century tech that old people are fond of, right?

Apple TV hype? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201805)

I wasn't even aware there was Apple TV hype. I thought that thing had come had gone.

DirectTV scoffs (2)

asmiller1950 (625539) | about 2 years ago | (#40201809)

He should be VERY careful about what Apple initiatives he dismisses so blithely. A lot of giants have fallen with such an attitude and we're all better for it.

He's probably right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201827)

Both Apple and Google have tried this before. It's turned out that TV is a tough market to break into. Obviously, nothing is ever completely certain, but odds are he will be proven right.

What is he supposed to say???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201851)

Is he supposed to say: "Apple's interface will surely be much better than the one we've spent the last 10 years working on and we expect to lose much if not all of our customers to the Apple juggernaut."

I doubt that their shareholders would be very pleased with such pronouncements.

Re:What is he supposed to say???? (1, Interesting)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#40201985)

Is he supposed to say: "Apple's interface will surely be much better than the one we've spent the last 10 years working on and we expect to lose much if not all of our customers to the Apple juggernaut."

I doubt that their shareholders would be very pleased with such pronouncements.

Of course! The Followers of the Book of Jobs demand that all potential competitors bow down before the greatness of all that is Apple and its greatness, surrender to the forces of the inevitable, and acknowledge they are powerless to stop the Cupertino Juggernaut.

but... considering Apple has been trying to do this for years, already, and failed so far... and no longer enjoys the presence of the Best Leader to guide the holy jihad against regular TV... AND most consumers prefer buffet pricing for things like media, the DirectTV guy might have a point, too.

Why is anybody excited over an overpriced TV and pay-per-view pricing (that pretty much only works well for Wrestling, Boxing and Porn), just because it's got an Apple brand name?

Re:What is he supposed to say???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202031)

Its better because its apple. Slap an apple logo on an empty cardboard box and millions will buy it.

Re:What is he supposed to say???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202159)

Why is anybody excited over an overpriced TV and pay-per-view pricing (that pretty much only works well for Wrestling, Boxing and Porn), just because it's got an Apple brand name?

The same reason anybody was excited over an overpriced mp3 player a decade ago?

Re:What is he supposed to say???? (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#40202099)

No, but he should take Andy Grove's advice, "Only the Paranoid Survive". It's a book he should read.

Re:What is he supposed to say???? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40202433)

My TV "interface" is an ON button. It also functions as an OFF button.

I hope I get the chance to pay Apple $2000 to revolutionize this interface.

DirecTV good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201857)

I like DirecTV. It is reliable and has better standard packages than other suppliers such as Comcast, DishTV and Warner. I have one place with Fios and one with DirecTV and Fios has reliability issues in simply keeping a show playing while you watch it. They have occasional network downtimes.

I got a quote from Verizon to install broadband and TV at a new address and they refused to unbundle TV from Fios so I could use my existing DirecTV account. I wanted to bundle broadband, wireless, and even dial up which is still used in rural communities here in CA where there is no Fios, DSL or even wireless data! Cavemen!

Nope. No electrons for you.

So near as I can tell the way to roll is to get the new higher bandwidth Fios for $90/mo, subscribe to DirecTV and use their free any screen service to view it over broadband in any placed a cable box is not in place. I wonder if I can play my DVR content over broadband? I think yes.

I would hope AppleTV is a concatenation of subscribed services managed in a unified menuing and DVR system with unlimited storage since X users can mirror the same content which indexes to a single file.

The only limitation is to get existing cable and satellite and broadband vendors to cooperate with Apple making their services easier to actually use. A system like that would encourage folks to subscribe to MORE premium services because it would be LESS hassle.

JJ

DirecTV channel map better then cable systems (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40202061)

DirecTV channel map better then cable systems

#1
is that HD and SD HAVE THE SAME NUMBER or SAME NUMBER with a -1 at the end (part time over flows)
#2
RSN, ESPN, BIG TEN alts are mostly right next to the main channel (no hunting for your alt / over flow feeds)
#3
channels are grouped near each other in way that fit's in in good way. also all the HBO, MAX, SHOW,STARS channels are all right next to each other.
#4
sports games show in the guild as mostly (team name vs team name) cable just says stuff like MLB baseball or NHL hockey and you have click on to look at the more info page to see the team names. (that with hunting for the alt / over flow feeds makes it take more time)

Also better NHL CI, NBA LP, MLB EI with lots games with dual feed HD. Each pack has it's own channels and they are grouped right next to each other and with the team names in the guild you quickly see what game is on what channel.

If want to see a poor layed out line look at the Comcast Chicago land lineup manly the 100-300+ range.

I'm the one he's not worried about. (4, Interesting)

sunfly (1248694) | about 2 years ago | (#40201877)

At one time hooked to our TV was a DirecTV box only. Today we have (in order of usage):

- Apple TV. This is what the kids hit first when looking for something to watch. Mostly Netflix cartoons, our Vimeo home videos, and our Photo Stream. We have never purchased or rented a program from Apple!

- XBox with Kinect for a gaming fix.

- Old re-purposed Dell. This is full of all the DVD's I did not want my kids destroying (locked safely away, and yes we do own them), and a way to access anything on the net the first two don't.

- A real antenna. Sports look horrible on my friends HDTV with all the compression! (needs fed through the computer... someday).

I would be OK with just the first two if Apple would open the interface up for more content. I would happily pay a small ($1-5) monthly fee for channels such as Discovery, Science, etc. I'm guessing this will only happen once these channels are replaced by new content producers that are 'net only.

Subject? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201905)

While I don't suspect he's got much to worry about in the short term (what with the beast that is the HR34), long term, they're going to have to step up. I wish I could watch my local content with their receivers (which, I can't if said local content is video).

Re:Subject? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201927)

Oh yeah.

One other thing. DirecTV doesn't really have to worry about broadband caps, either. So, there's that.

Satellite is the extra box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40201929)

So this guy recons that satellite TV is going to beat out the internet as a content distribution channel?

Somewhere there is a bridge waiting to be sold to this man.

haunt him? no (4, Insightful)

optimism (2183618) | about 2 years ago | (#40201943)

So, will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?

Short answer: No.

The CEO of DirecTV obviously has better intel about the TV/video distribution market, than any slashdotter posting here.

Is AppleTV a threat to them? I don't know, and it really doesn't matter. For the sake of argument, let's pretend that AppleTV is a huge threat, and that DirecTV is doomed, and one man, even the CEO, cannot effect the sweeping market changes to reverse this course.

White's motivation, as with any CEO of a publicly-traded company in the Wall St system, is to maximize his income. He does that by keeping the stock price as high as possible, for as long as possible, even in the face of a known inevitable demise. Then when profitability is clearly compromised, he can collect large compensation for sticking with a "troubled company". Or just jump immediately to the next company. Rinse, repeat, retire.

This is the way the current system works. The CEO is not an "idiot" for not publicly recognizing threats that he/she absolutely knows about. Quite the contrary. His behavior is "smart". It's the overall rules of the system that are "dumb".

Re:haunt him? no (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 2 years ago | (#40202285)

Right, to be ethical they need to get a CEO who sells a product he is pretty maudlin about, and thinks won't be very successful in the face of a product which essentially came out in 2007 and hasn't even touched their business.

Maybe instead of a standard investor meeting, he can say "Well who cares anyway, it's just a stupid TV company. Don't people have anything better to do?"

Well lets see (3, Interesting)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#40201945)

...I've been a directv subscriber since around 1994 when they had 50,000 customers and have their current HD DVR technology.

Pro's: nice picture quality, lots of channels, plenty of downloadable shows.

Cons: Cant stream anything except youtube from a search. No netflix. No hulu. Have to download all shows which can take quite a while and can only start viewing when you have buffered a lot. Most hardware platforms are slower than molasses going uphill on a cold monday morning, and if your brand new HR24 craps out, chances are they'll ship you a replacement HR 20/21/22 that are basically too slow to use. You hit a button on the remote and a while later something happens. Completely opposed to and unsupporting of anything coming through the box that isn't directv supplied and branded.

In short, unacceptable for 2012, poised for a major faceplant from someone elses set top box. Obstructionism and protectionism only work until someone has something as good for less money that works better. I don't think thats Apple TV because I can't see anyone seriously spending a couple of bucks per tv show. Netflix and hulu are incomplete. But as soon as someone puts out a streaming package with full sports, all local broadcast and pretty much everything I can get from directv minus the big dish and tons of wires and little boxes for under $100...directv will start hemorrhaging money and subscribers.

Having had the chance to speak to a number of directv senior and middle management, they consider the customer a barely necessary evil and have absolutely no idea as to how to treat customers. When you're the best show in town, you can get away with that.

ZOMG! Rly? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40202023)

If Michael White is that stupid then it explains a lot. The Direct TV UI is completely horrid in every way. The guide sucks the menus suck, the remote sucks. It's better than the garbage that Comcast has, but only marginally. All of the Cable or Satellite providers have the crappiest UI possible on their boxes. Because they refuse to spend any money on them so they have the box engineers simply slap one together for the least possible cost.

Apple is going to wipe the floor with them. If apple finds a way to have a $45.00 a month subscription to most of the desired channels out there but in a On demand form, They will utterly destroy Dish and the others.

Re:ZOMG! Rly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202503)

If apple finds a way to have a $45.00 a month subscription to most of the desired channels out there but in a On demand form, They will utterly destroy Dish and the others.

That's kind of key there (well, kind of. Your price is far too high. If they can get every single thing Direct TV offers, no exception, for $30 a month, then yes). So far, all Apple has are overly expensive iTunes content. Without the content, they don't have a chance. And with only partial content, you'd just get netflix for cheaper.

People will put up with crappy software if that's the only they can get at the content. Windows really isn't bad now, but in the Windows Me day, there's a reason they still had a monopoly. How do you expect to convince someone to switch if they can't run their favorite software?

More channels = comfort (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#40202029)

DirecTV, along with cable, have this model where you have to buy channels by the package not a la carte. So out of 200 channels maybe there are 10 that you watch regularly. Not only that but the default setting on DirecTV is to also show you the channels that you DON'T get to entice you to get them. This all plays in to the prevailing American mentality of "more is better". Big house, big SUV, big refrigerators, big everything. This is why Costco is so successful. Why buy 2 rolls of paper towel when you can buy 50? What does this have to do with DirecTV you might ask? I believe that there is a psychological comfort that people get with 200 channels even if you don't watch most of them. If it got pared down to just the channels you want I think that many people would feel cheated. "What...only 10 channels? But my buddy has 200!!". Unfortunately the wasteful-hoarder mentality works against the just-get-what-you-need mentality. I see this time and time again. People driving down the street in 9 passenger vehicles alone. People in the grocery store with enormous carts full of food. People buying big houses only to have several of the rooms never used. I'd love to see a la carte programming but I just don't see it catching on for the reasons above.

What extra box? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 2 years ago | (#40202045)

First off, if I want to add an HD receiver in my house from DirecTV, I'm sure I'll have to spend $99.

Secondly, hasn't Foxconn let the cat out of the bag that Apple is working on TV units with Apple TV functionality baked in? There won't be a need for an extra box anymore.

Apple doesn't own a data path (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40202063)

DirectTV has a satellite downlink, with their own satellites and antennas. AppleTV just has the Internet. Only in countries with net neutrality will Apple TV win out over the offerings of cable TV companies and telcos. The Comcast 300MB data cap is good for maybe 60-70 hours of HD video. Average American TV consumption is 5 hours a day.

Already paid for the extra box. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202077)

People aren't willing to pay for an extra box? Tell that to me, with my Blu-ray, AppleTV, Roku (on the other tv) and DVR. This jackass already has my money with DirecTV (actually way better than any cable provider I've seen), so what does he care if I also stream netflix on my Apple TV, or listen Pandora on my Blu-Ray player? It's not like he's making less money a month from me.

TV is not UI-driven (0)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40202129)

TV isn't fundamentally interactive. Why do I need to pay extra for a slick Apple GUI to replace about 5 button presses on my remote?
And why should we believe Apple will have access to TV content on better financial terms than DirecTV? ITunes consistently has worse pricing than Amazon and Zune (XBox) marketplace.

A TV is not a tablet computer, and a TV is not a handheld computer (a.k.a. mobile phone). What does Apple really have to offer TV watchers?

Re:TV is not UI-driven (2)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#40202225)

I somehow think (and expect) that Apple knows this and has more "up it's sleeve" than what any of us are guessing...

Re:TV is not UI-driven (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 years ago | (#40202301)

They haven't announced a TV. Apple is probably working on lots of products they haven't announced. The ones that don't make sense get cancelled before they are announced.

I think it's possible Apple will re-invent TV somehow. But they will have to do something really big, like buying some huge content production company (such as Viacom) or creating a new video game platform to rival Xbox and Playstation. Otherwise it's just an overpriced version of the TV monitor I already have.

Interesting timing (1)

smurd (48976) | about 2 years ago | (#40202131)

I just dropped Dish Network in favor of Roku this month. I just found I wasn't watching any of the dish channels for the last 6 months.

With bundling cable tv is cheap (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#40202151)

I keep tying to cut the cord but I pay with DVR HDTV about $35/month on RCN. Frankly, after i assemble all the services with their various monthly fees, and necessary hardware purchases to match what I get from RCN cable do I save enough (or anything) that the inconvenience of piecemealing is worthwhile.

Dumb question there... (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#40202163)

Seriously, what sort of a question is that? "will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?"

He'd do well not to underestimate Apple - they've got some damn good designers on staff and a team that's extremely good at turning technology on its head. And if there's one technology that's long overdue a head turning, it's TV.

All in favor of Apple TV (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40202263)

I for one would love to see Apple become a TV network so it can service its content consuming lockdown loving fan base as they deserve to be serviced, and just let its phone business quietly wither away.

Most video/TV software has a bad UI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40202359)

I used Tivo for quite a while starting over a decade ago, have tried MythTV, XBMC, Boxee. These things actually don't seem bad at all, at the time you are using them. I remember thinking at the time, that I rather liked Tivo.

But do you know what beats the crap out of all of those, making them look like poorly-tested clumsy prototypes?

Thunar.

Not that I'm really a Thunar-lover (though I can't really think of any complaints off the top of my head) but user interfaces for navigating, sorting through, and performing operations (especially a "default operation") collections-of-things, have been evolving for decades. Regardless of what you think of the merits of any one particular one file manager, it has probably been playtested a hundred times better than any of these johnny-come-lately dedicated-to-video-files file managers. And like most hasty specializations, work with video files long enough and you start to realize there's very little "special" about them. Whatever operations you have had to do with both source code files and images and also the garbage collected in your home directory, you eventually end up having to do with your videos. Thunar is hardly the awesomest thing ever (but that's all subjective anyway -- personally I still miss DOpus 5.x) but creams XBMC. Even Windows 3.x's file manager is a better UI than, say, XBMC or Tivo!

I haven't seen DirectTV's interface but if it's still based on a handheld remote and oversized fonts in pursuit of the "10' interface" fad that nearly everyone else fell for too, then DirectTV is beatable. (Has DirectTV yet learned of the existence of the decades-tested mouse and keyboard yet?)

Hard to imagine Apple will be the one to beat them, though. Apple are the idiots who came up with the confusing atrocity knowns as iTunes. They can't even do music right; the idea that they're ready for video is comical. There was a time when that company was famous for relatively good UIs but that was a hell of a long time ago, and now they're just another Microsoft.

Johnny Historians... (1, Troll)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 2 years ago | (#40202361)

People like to be Johhny Historians. "Oh, lol lol, _this_ guy is just crazy, I mean look at all these other people who said shit that turned out totally silly and wrong [knowing wink]!!"

Bullshit. Lots of people who have made such statements turned out to be right, but people just remember the ones like Ballmer made because they happened to be wrong.

In this case, he's more than likely right. On the one hand Apple has hordes of loyal dipshits who will buy anything they shovel them and who want a monoculture. These fucksticks would throw away their TVs and get in lines for a $2000 50" Apple TV in a heartbeat.

The thing is, however, that a TV isn't _about_ the interface. You watch the content, you only interact with it to set up recordings or change channels. Speech recognition is lame in such a concept, you're going to sit there like a god damn idiot yelling at your TV?

So I give him a 70% chance of being right. The 30% chance is due to the idiocy of Applebots, which I may be underestimating.

Happy with my Roku (1)

pivot_enabled (188987) | about 2 years ago | (#40202419)

5 years ago Directv shut off my newly acquired HD receiver after I had been with them for 7 years. Was it because I hadn't paid my bill? NO! It was because my phone line was not connected to the receiver so that they could charge me for pay-per-view which I NEVER used. When I called in and asked "What the hell?" and was told that the agreement required me to keep the phone line connected I told them that was fine, disconnect me permanently.

I have no regrets.

My Roku works great and I pay for what I actually want to watch, and if it is worthwhile I will gladly get yet another box to hook to my projector in the form of an Apple TV but I will NEVER go back to satellite or cable for TV.

Need a new phrase (4, Insightful)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 2 years ago | (#40202505)

Something like, "If Apple focuses on your market, you better focus too". Apple has an unequivocal track record of being a major disruptive influence on any consumer market they choose to enter. Music players. Music industries. Phones. They may not dominate any given market, but they sure as hell disrupt it.

I have to say that I'm actually glad for this. All these markets have essentially been static and stagnant with the incumbents doing the same crap without any real innovation. Then Apple waltzes in and suddenly everything gets really interesting. The phone arena is particularly interesting, because we get to watch the relatively long-lived incumbents (eg RIM, Nokia) thrash, crash and burn in slow motion while everyone looks on and says to themselves, "Wow, I can't believe we put up with the crap they've been peddling for so long!"

Apple killed RIM, DirecTV next. (1)

Zoson (300530) | about 2 years ago | (#40202591)

Just another example of a company resting on its laurels, while someone else moves ahead.
Wouldn't be surprised if DirecTV is gone in a couple years due to a mass exodus of customers to wired technologies. The only market DirecTV will still be able to appeal to is that where there is no cable/fiber optic available.

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