Apple TV Remains a Hobby without a Market

Apple TV Remains a Hobby without a Market

Jobs doesn't see Apple TV becoming another iPhone.

Apple TV remains just a hobby, the Cupertino, Calif. company’s chief executive said in a Tuesday interview. The problem: the cable industry.

Cable operators “give everybody a set-top box for free, or for $10 per month,” Steve Jobs told an audience at the All Things Digital conference. “That pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody’s willing to buy a set-top box,” he said.

Offering just another set-top box, which consumers would add to their existing collection of cable box, dvrs, DVD players and associated cables snaking into a home entertainment center seemed pointless to Jobs. “Ask TiVo, ask Replay TV, ask Roku, ask Vudu, ask as, ask Google in a few month,” the Apple co-founder joked. The Internet giant recently unveiled its own Google TV software powered by its Android operating system and included in upcoming televisions and set-top boxes.

To make Apple TV marketable, the company would need to “tear up the set-top box, redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions, and get it to consumers in a way that they’re willing to pay for it,” Jobs said, adding: “right now, there’s no way to do that.”

That attitude is why Apple places a low priority on Apple TV – behind the iPhone and the iPad. “The TV is going to lose until there’s a better –until there’s a viable — ‘go to market’ strategy,” Jobs said.

He repeated the phrase many fans of Apple’s media box hate hearing: the h-word. “I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that’s why we say Apple TV is a hobby; that’s why we use that phrase.”

These latest comments appear to put in doubt reports Apple TV is still a viable product. A recent report suggested the Cupertino, Calif. will combine both its popular iPhone OS and the cloud-computing concept to create a television set able to stream programming.

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About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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