John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Television Must Crack the Customizable Content Code, Too

Apple may have “cracked” the code to creating an integrated, easy-to-use television, as co-founder Steve Jobs famously told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. But the challenge of conquering the living room won’t be overcome by simplifying the user experience alone.

No matter how elegant the mythical Apple Television may be in its design, no matter how intuitive its interface, it won’t be worth much to anyone without great content. For an Apple Television to truly succeed it must crack the content code, as well. And that’s a very difficult proposition, indeed.

Which isn’t to say it can’t be done. Just that there are a lot of content partnerships and licensing terms to be ironed out before the device can ever be brought to market (if that is really Apple’s intent). Among the most important: Deals for live-broadcast TV and truly customized programming.

As Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu observes, the first of these could be solved relatively easily, by integrating the subscription services cable and satellite TV providers already offer their customers.

But that doesn’t jibe well with Apple’s existing iTunes and iCloud services. And it’s not all that disruptive. If Apple truly wants to upend the TV industry, it needs Internet-based programming subscriptions with customizable channel lineups. And, according to Wu, that’s what the company is really gunning for.

“We continue to hear what Apple would love to do is offer users the ability to choose their own customized programming, i.e., whichever channels/shows they want for a monthly subscription fee,” Wu says. “This is obviously much more complicated from a licensing standpoint. … In our view, it would change the game for television.”

It would also differentiate Apple’s television, giving it a big advantage over the competition. An easy-to-use, all-in-one TV solution similar to the iMac, plus the ability to create your own custom channel packages? To many TV viewers, that would be a godsend.


Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik