Jan 2, 2013 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: Predictions, Products

Happy New Year. I didn't make any particular resolutions for 2013, but I did place a bet — and I'm not a gambling type of person. I don't even play when the Lottery gets to 50 Bazillion. No, my bet was of a different sort — my bet was on an AppleTV break through in 2013.

On Monday evening our DirecTV receiver died. My family was spending nearly $90/month for the service and we don't watch TV that much. During the day the set is off and at night we'll watch either sports, news or one of our recorded shows. On the weekends we typically rent a movie through AppleTV.

Instead of calling the repair dude from DirecTV, my wife and I made a decision to quit the habit — we canceled our DirecTV subscription. We were hassled by the rep, "Why, why, what can we do to keep you?" My answer was 1/2 price, but that went no where. 

So now what?

Well last night we really started looking at AppleTV and spent an hour and a half either watching free shows  through the device or using AirPlay to watch other internet content not available through AppleTV. Now I won't kid you, sports and news are going to be a bit more difficult. However for live news I'm thinking of getting a Sirius/XM satellite radio for the house. We'll be like the 1940's and huddle around the radio instead of the TV. I'm fine with that. I think the monthly subscription is only $15/month. I have this in my car and just love it. A lot of news stations simulcast their TV broadcasts through Sirius/XM. For sports, my brother (you know him as Mark Reschke) showed me a website that has a ton of live, streaming sports. They don't transmit in HD but oh well. I'll live. For the rest of our programming needs, we'll order ala cart through AppleTV (about six shows in all).

While this is going to mean a change to our lifestyle, the end result will probably mean less TV watching (which is a good thing). In addition, the monthly cost for getting content this way will be more than half compared to what we're spending now. $50/month is $600 a year and over 10 years that's $6,000. That's a lot of coin to keep in my pockets.

However, my real bet is that this year AppleTV is going to break out and start offering a significant amount of ala-cart programming, including live sports and news. I noticed the Wall Street Journal has an AppleTV channel. While not live, it's good content to keep abreast of what's going on around the world. I don't see how CNN, Fox News and other cable outlets can stay away. They might even try offering live streaming through AppleTV for a monthly fee.

Finally, I polled four friends who are all in their 40's. Two of them had never subscribed to satellite or cable and had been using the internet for their TV Watching (through iTunes or Amazon), while the other two just canceled their cable/satellite service. I don't know if this is a trend or not, but if so, watch your head, because I think satellites are going to start falling from the sky.

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  1. Kevin ~ Jan. 2, 2013 @ 10:16 am

    I also don't have any cable or Dish, etc... My folks pay $150 a month for cable, internet and phone. That's a crime. And while I could set them up on Oomatel, or the like, it's a hassle, and so this is easy for them. But they are in that elderly category. The youth crowd is moving towards streams from all over the place on the internet. The cable providers are pricing themselves out of the market. It's just that simple. A buddy of mine in LA just dumped his TV package and just streams instead. Not everything is pristine quality, but saving $100 or more a month, by just having Internet access, that's $1,200 a year - that's a big deal of change in today's world. I hope more and more people continue to go this route, in the hopes that folks like Disney and Viacom break ranks and start selling via Apple al-a-carte networks. EPSN and the like for $3.99 or $4.99 a month. I think I'd buy 2 or 3 channels. Think of it this way: That's 2 or 3 channels those networks would be getting paid for, which I'm not paying them a dime right now. The more people that get off the package/bundle wagon, the more pressure it puts on network owners to brake ranks with Time Warner, Verizon and Comcast, and start going via an al-a-carte route with aggregators like Apple. I think Apple only need get ABC/Disney onboard to start, and the rest will cave over time. If Disney shows it won't lose major bank going this way (by losing 10+ channels of pay from loss of cable subscriptions), and instead can increase their revenues by picking up new single channel subscribers like me, and retaining the cable bundle dumpers, then Viacom and Fox will soon join in. NBC/Universal are owned by Comcast, so they will be - absollutely - the last players to join in. And by that point, they are likely to be completely irrelevant. Turning Comcast, Time Warner and the rest into dumb, fast pipes as soon as possible, getting them out of the content ownership game, is the best direction for consumers. #
  2. Paul Johnson ~ Jan. 2, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

    Not gonna happen this way. Content providers and cable operators won't do it. #

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