The US operator follows the lead of Canal+ in France, AT&T’s DirecTV Now in the US, and Salt in Switzerland, that all have begun offering their customers Apple TV 4K with their services. In addition, a number of OTT services have begun – or will soon be – offering their on-demand and live streaming services on Apple TV. This includes NLZiet and T-Mobile in The Netherlands.
“As more and more cable companies fundamentally shift how video gets to your TV, your typical cable box is becoming a thing of the past,” Apple TV’s lead designer said at the Worldwide Developers Conference. The move by platform operators makes Apple TV much more than the ‘hobby’ it was when originally launched.
According to Apple, there are now more than 100 apps for Apple TV in ten countries.
Apple previewed tvOS 12 at the event, and said Apple TV 4K will be the only streaming player both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified, and also supporting HDR.
With tvOS 12, Apple further simplifies the authentication process with zero sign-on. Apple TV simply detects the user’s broadband network and automatically signs them in to all the supported apps they receive through their subscription — no typing required. Zero sign-on begins with Charter later this year and will expand to other providers over time.
With iOS 12, users can AutoFill passwords from iPhone and iPad to Apple TV to easily sign in to Apple TV apps.
The Apple TV Remote will be automatically added to Control Center on iPhone or iPad for Apple TV users, giving users quick access to Apple TV controls.
Home control systems like Control4, Crestron and Savant can be used to control Apple TV, including using Siri for voice search and control.
Broadband TV Views. Apple TV may have started out as a ‘hobby’, but the implications can be far-reaching. The set-top may be one of the more expensive devices around, compared with Roku or Fire TV, but for operators it offers a relative cheap way of getting into the TV business.
In the past, operators had to sink a lot of money in developing their own bespoke set-tops and accompanying software, now they can jump on the Apple bandwagon – and still have their own unique UI – without spending a lot of Capex.
The small Swiss operator Salt was quick to jump, followed by heavyweights such as Canal+, DirecTV and Charter, and I am sure many more will follow soon.
Some platforms, such as NLZiet and T-Mobile in The Netherlands, are not (yet?) offering the box itself, but only the possibility to watch their on-demand and linear services on Apple TV, which is an even cheaper way to launch an OTT service, especially as software companies such as Dutch Stoneroos are offering off-the-shelf white label solutions, which make it possible to jump start in the OTT space.
In the coming months, we will also see a battle with operator Android TV solutions, which some operators are embracing. The big question here is – do you want Google looking over your shoulder with every move you make?
Apple makes its money by selling expensive devices, not by selling your online (and TV watching) behaviour to any party that wants to reach consumers with targeted advertising.