“Hey,” I’m saying to myself. “I like Apple products. I also hate the cable companies. I had better go read that article.”
Well, I’ll never say never, but I think Matt Rosoff is dreaming here.
He posits that Apple could bake an ATSC tuner in the iTV to pull in free HD signals over the air to cover off the broadcast networks. Apple could then cut deals with the networks that people actually care about (ESPN, HBO, etc…) to be broadcast directly to the device over the Internet, much like xBox live does with some offerings right now. Individual shows could be purchased from iTunes a la carte.
It makes a nice academic argument, but I think it’s pretty long odds that this would be a strategy Apple would pursue. My guess is Matt Rosoff has never used an antenna. I have one on my roof, and while it’s a fantastic low cost alternative, and the signal quality is great (uncompressed HDTV), I still experience outages.
Many Americans don’t live within receiving distance of enough free broadcast signals to make this a compelling offering. Or even if they do, Apple simply can’t solve their reception problems just because they are Apple, as Mr. Rosoff seems to imply. Apple’s not going to leave a crucial part of the user experience to the signal strength of a tower in North Platte, Nebraska. They’re not going to leave it to whether a TV is in the bedroom or the basement.
Apple’s going to be stuck partnering with the Cable companies. But if they can reduce the power cable companies exert over their customers, much the same way they reduced the power of the cell carriers, I still think it would be a big win.