Apple TV app: the long-awaited solution or a useless gimmick?
The world of digital media is… a mess. With Netflix being so popular, along with Amazon Video following on its footsteps and leading a horde of smaller providers — digital TV consumers do have a wide variety of options. This would have been great in any other industry, yet in digital media this only means you have to have separate apps with different accounts and separate subscription fees in order to consume their favorite movies and shows.
Apple tried to fix this by offering a unified TV app, which was meant to become the center of digital entertainment, a single interface to access from your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. Apple TV App has such 4 main tabs:
- Watch Now with two sections, Up Next and Recommended. The first shows the currently scheduled shows and movies, while the latter displays the content you can watch, including free and available from all your subscriptions.
- Library allows adding existing owned content from iTunes and subscribed providers to a convenient list,
- Store to offer apps and purchases from iTunes and providers the user did not yet subscribe to.
- Search helps discover new content like movies or TV shows by title, members of the crew (director, producer, etc.) or cast (actors). The content can then be added to Up Next using Siri or default product page options.
Thus said, at a glance Apple TV app seems to be a well-thought solution, providing an easy, reliable and self-explanatory experience across all Apple devices — the kind of app Apple customers value most. There is a darker side of it, if you dig a little deeper.
The bitter Apple: the new TV app is a hollow husk of what it is supposed to be
Let’s take a closer look at the situation. The new Apple TV app is all about the ease and convenience of managing content, right? This means that the user is finally able to have all of their subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon, CBS, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and others nested under one interface and accessible from their Apple gadgets using a convenient Single Sign-On feature, instead of jumping across various apps on multiple devices?
NO! Despite several years of negotiations, Apple failed to sign treaties with a majority of leading cable TV providers and streaming services. The resulting list of supported providers is rather long, yet it lacks the presence of the major industry players and is, therefore… nearly useless.
How to make it work then? Well, Apple is fighting the system here. While it supports the wish of customers to have easy and convenient access to all of their paid TV apps via a single app, cable TV providers and streaming services are more than satisfied with the existing state of events and continue to provide their services through their own apps.
Sadly, Apple is actually the only market player capable of transforming the cable TV planescape the way it did with music when iTunes hit the market. Naturally, TV market players do not want to follow in the footsteps of music providers that were either consumed by Apple or squished under its mighty iTunes boot. Which means that cable TV market will remain an uncontrollable chaos — unless Apple is able to make their rivals an offer they can’t refuse…