How Can Apple Differentiate in the TV Space...My Thoughts
So we have a ton of set boxes out there that basically do the same thing. FireTV basically regurgitated an Apple TV with games, effectively bringing us "Me Too" device that might work a little bit better and have some additional features.
The Live TV Integration Side
Now I feel the company to first integrate Live TV with the Online Media stuff, will have a huge advantage in this space to come. However, I do not think content providers are going to give this to just one compnay. Like in the streaming music side, I think Content Providers will give this service out to everyone at the same time...just like, making sure there is a even playing ground, and companies like Apple to control the influence, like how they dad with iTunes and Music.
What Will Be Key
So companies like Apple will need to differentiate their service. For Google I feel Android TV is going to be about search and contextualizing users viewing habits and linking it all in Google Now, but that is another post another forum. For Apple this can be the same thing, however, because of the more closed off nature of Apple's ecosystem having access to that data is a bit more difficult.
I think the key will be iBeacons. Yes some of you know I have consistently said if Apple does not control how iBeacons is used it will effectively turn into another ad platform. However, Apple has something in iBeacons many of the other companies do not have. The ability to know who is sitting in front of the television, by virtue of proximity to a iBeacon enabled Apple TV box.
How will it work?
I think it is fairly simple. You walk into your living, with your iPhone and turn on the television and all of a sudden you get a TV profile built for you, which is separate from that of your kids or wife. In addition If the Apple TV notices both you and your wife, boyfriend, etc... are in front of the television together, it gives you a profile based on watching habits when the two of you are in front of the TV...movies, shows both people watch, etc...I think this is a simpler implementation which is more reliable and more hands off.
Gaming will be another feature. Imagine you have a party and everyone wants to play Words with Friends. Using iBeacons and people's iPhones the Apple TV will know who is in the room and could send gaming invites to everyone's phones, with the main board appearing on the big screen.
I think in the end the how live TV integration part will eventually be the same across the board. However, if Apple leverages iBeacons to enhance the experience of the living room, it could be a defining feature that sets it apart from the rest. Yes like everything Apple does it will only be for iOS users, which is more of a problem for multi user devices than personal devices. However, Apple seems to not care about that and this could easily be seen as them trying to lock more users into their ecosystem.