Tag Archives: Apple TV

Xbox One, weak name but strong move to controlling the entertainment hub

This seems to be the year that the big video game console manufacturers decide to release new consoles. Microsoft went first yesterday, Sony is expected to follow this Fall. Unlike other technologies – smart phones, tablets, laptops to name a few – video game consoles have appeared very slow with regards to new generation releases. It has been 8 years since the XBox 360 and 7 years since the PS3…wow…to put that in perspective, 2007 is when the first generation iPhone was released. So 2013 will give us the opportunity to have two major generation upgrades in the gaming console world.

The Xbox One

The Xbox One

The first console out of the gate – the Xbox One. From all reports it brings some new bells and whistles – voice activation, enhanced Kinect, centralized control of music/video/game etc. Of course it has some “negatives” such as no backward compatibility with video games…ugh. All expected evolutions for the console. What this is really about is the continued battle for control of the home entertainment hub. Microsoft said as much:

Indeed, Microsoft is totally explicit about Kinect (and Kinect-related IP) being the central part of its strategy in the console battle as well as in the wider war for the living room — far beyond other aspects of the hardware.

Microsoft, as does a host of other technology companies, sees the entertainment center as the next frontier a place where all their software, content and devices will converge. As much as we love our smartphones and tablets, the television still provides the powerhouse of displays. We still gather around the television and leverage it as the communal entertainment hub some even use it as their personal dance trainer. However no one has really taken the “lead” when it comes to this space. Cable companies are trying to leverage their control of the content to be their play. Microsoft and Sony both look to their gaming consoles as the conduit to the entertainment hub. Google has made forays into the actual hardware – Google TVs. Of course Google is also embedded with search and YouTube in many new smart TVs. While Apple TV has been around for a while but has yet to really get into the game – they do have a firm lock on the streaming content via iTunes. What about Amazon? They also have a massive library of content as well as a device – the Kindle – that can force their way into the conversation. Question for Amazon, do they make an investment in hardware to put themselves physically in the living room?

All these moves will be good for the consumer – allow for a host of choices. Of course the problem might arise if all these vendors go with a walled garden strategy. Where the choice we make in hardware is one we might have to live with for a long time or buy multiple platforms!

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Apple to integrate TIVO into Apple TV…closer to controlling home hub

In an article by Forrester in 2007 when Apply launched the iPhone and Apple TV predicted that Apple was making a play to be the central hub for the home’s entertainment and communication universe. Of course part of that prediction was the ability of Apple to leverage the Apple TV to bridge the chasm between the computer world and the television. Of course at the time I remember telling my father that the Apple TV would be more important than the iPhone….oops. My reasoning was the following:

For the past 10+ years many electronics and content companies have been waging a quiet battle to become the hub of the household. Companies like Sony and Microsoft went at it via game consoles – check out the last Playstation or XBox and realize how much horse power, memory and wifi access these have and you realize this isn’t your Atari or Coleco Vision from the 1980s.

What about the set top manufacturers? They have added extra memory and wireless access. Even the televisions have become more than simple projectors of images. Companies like Panasonic, Samsung and LG have added on board memory, access to social media sites, access to the web just to name some added functionality.  All these players have recognized that while we spend more time on line than watching TV, the television remains the center for the ultimate home entertainment experience. Watching a movie or a tv show on our laptops is great….except when we have a 52 inch LCD High Definition television with surround sound sitting in the room downstairs.

With Apple TV I saw the perfect in for Apple to get their logo and their presence where it is not today – at the television. Couple this with their content management system – iTunes and you have a way to link your computer and your high end television. Now with the rise of the iPhone and iPad you have devices that could very easily communicate, via Apple TV, with your television. Could you envision being able to schedule your recordings via your iPhone or iPad when you are not at home, or pull content from your Apple TV back to your iPad to watch on the bus? How about sending pictures and video that you took from your iPhone right to your television. Or maybe you could do a video conference via your iPhone that is tied to your Apple TV and television. This news of Tivo and Apple TV seems to revive this possibility. Hey maybe Apple should also go out and purchase NetFlix and create an entertainment powerhouse!

Maybe I was somewhat right…just a few years too late!

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