Just another Apple Built TV service idea...
It is a common practice to guess what Apple would do next to a level that even CEOs of companies have started putting up concepts and ideas of what the next apple device would be. Lesser mortals like us often take it on us to do that as well.
I am no UX designer and whatever I attempted till now hasn't resulted in anything convincing to me. So I decided to present my concept of how an apple tv would work as an idea. Simple text and let your brain do the imagination.
Think of it completely in the world of websites and their RSS feeds. Your Apple TV experience could be like watching videos like you read news on a RSS reader like Pulse.
Assuming the major TV networks opens up their content (Like they do in their own app now) and their programming list (like they do now) to Apple. All that apple has to do is to build an RSS like Video app that aggregates these content from multiple providers. The idea is that Users can visit a single Apple page and register for the network content. They can either subscribe to a network completely or subscribe to a show (of varying and competitive pricing).
1. A User will create their own list of channels like "News" that combines programming from multiple news networks, "Entertainment" from multiple networks like TBS, TNT, NBC etc, "Sports" from ESPN, FOX Sports etc.
2. Each User created channel would feature these programming in a timeline like you see news on a live RSS feed. If you have more than one programming a particular period in time - the Interface will automatically mark them as "Unviewed" and the programming anyway lives in the cloud (Apple's or the networks') You could always retrieve it on demand.
3. Essentially your channel is your collection of programs that you'd like to watch. Sometime you need everything in a channel and that can be a separate channel by itself.
4. If you would like to go to a live programming from a particular network like CNN - during a breaking news you could go there as well. Think of it like going to a website from an RSS view of the news. If you have subscribed to the network as opposed to a specific content you get to see their live programming. Else, if the network chooses to open up the content for a specific time - you get to watch it. If you have to order it - you order it on your screen. All through your iTunes account. (Think of if it like WSJ RSS feed - to reading the full content on subscription or buying an album vs a Song)
5. If you haven't subscribed to a network or would like to download content - you will do so by buying from iTunes store like you do now.
6. Notifications will be integrated so that your programming notifications are available on your TV and on your iOS device.
7. Your menu controls would be on your iOS device on an App. This programming - since its over the internet would mean you'd be able to watch the same on your iPad while some one else is using Apple TV + A TV in the living room. Unlimited access to content.
8. An apple designed TV would integrate the Apple TV box into the TV such that your living room is now uncluttered. No boxes, No multiple remotes. Your TV and your iOS device with very minimal onscreen control. The current Apple TV will be upgraded with these features for Non Apple Built TV screen.
9. Apple may choose to subsidize iPod touch when bundled with the Apple built TV. Additionally if Games and other apps can be installed - apple would bring entertainment (Via Airplay from your computer) and games apart from Live programming from the network. Facetime as well.
10. A user will end up purchasing High speed Internet from Internet providers. 20 Mbps and you are (probably) set. (I don't know what the usage would be for X hours - the average TV time -of HD)
11. Instead of the networks carrying multiple apps - they open up their content in an agreed manner to apple and apple serves it up by aggregating from multiple servers.
12. Networks will have direct understanding how many are watching a show just like us calculating the page load event in a news website. Their ads will be based on that. [Subscription + Ad based Revenue Model]
13. Just like ATT when iPhone release, Comcast, Verizon, Astound, Time warner would all provide the infrastructure and companies like apple would partner between networks and serve the content on their device.
14. Not all would want Apple's model or use Apple's service. This would shake up the way set top boxes are designed. They would end up merely being the container for software, which has a RSS like Video provider.
15. Apple might end up patenting that user interface to provide RSS like A-la-carte channels. Of course - X% revenue to apple. Apple brings content directly to User. More targeted viewer base than by having a cable operator shove everything to the user - whether they like it or not. (how many of us watch more than 10 networks)
16. Smaller channels capable of producing and releasing content can now register for apple TV. Verge can start live news content for technology news and videos from such tech sites an be submitted as content and user will say be able to watch Vergecast, 90Secs, reviews of the day etc like a news channel. If its Free - as it is today - it will always be free and accessible by viewers for free.
a. It also means you'd end up getting channels across the globe in a much easier manner. Might need some legislation to easily pick any channels but possible.
b. If you buy a TV in the US and say try to use it in Europe - all that you'd do is get all channels that are approved to be viewed outside US and may be set you up for listings locally for EU. Like Itunes store music availability. (I hope they can get off this restriction and view everything everywhere)
The issue I see is most of these cable operators would be not very happy giving up their entire business but would instead remodel it the same way based on Apple's. Comcast could do the same. On the other hand they could find ways to cap the traffic to apple servers and provide theirs in a beneficial manner. Very un competitive but possible.
Apple has to still set up to download programming via satellite and setup serves for live streaming of them to your apple tv. That also means they get the feed, encode it in such a way that it can reach a consumer.
This explanation is to give an idea - but the real work is to design the interface in an uncluttered manner.
Tell me what you think.