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DirecTV CEO Scoffs At Competition From Apple TV 264

Posted by timothy
from the apple-interfaces-tend-to-impress dept.
theodp writes "In a move that evokes memories of Steve Ballmer's initial pooh-poohing of the iPhone threat, DirecTV Chairman Michael White downplayed the Apple TV hype, expressing doubts that 'Apple's interface will be so much better than DirecTVs' that people will be willing to pay for an extra box. So, will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?"
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DirecTV CEO Scoffs At Competition From Apple TV

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  • Irony alert! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:43PM (#40201709) Journal

    While DirecTV's Chairman is crowing about his viewers lacking an interest in paying for an "extra box" on top of what he provides? Viewers will continue to drop DirecTV service completely, once they use boxes like AppleTV and realize they're saving a lot of money by streaming video content and doing "pay only for what you want to watch" with iTunes store movie or TV series purchases/rentals. So yeah, he's right... They only want one set-top box. Increasingly, it won't be his.

    • Re:Irony alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:47PM (#40201737)
      But I consider the per-view charges of AppleTV very expensive. They're OK for movies, but for weekly television episodes, they're higher than I'm willing to pay.
      • Re:Irony alert! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rockout (1039072) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:53PM (#40201801)
        If you only watch 2 or 3 TV shows regularly, is it more expensive than a DirecTV package?
        • Re:Irony alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SomePgmr (2021234) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:21PM (#40202003) Homepage

          I worked the math on this for my usage not so long ago. I could do Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and pay to watch something like 2 regular shows assuming one show per week, and it was still less than I was paying for TV. The exercise was to see what I could get legally for what TV costs... no torrents.

          That was with AT&T though, and when I asked about cancelling my TV service they were quick to remind me that my internet service would get more expensive. And now they're capping usage. Those folks know what they're doing.

          • by RKBA (622932)
            I recently inquired with Comcast about my cost savings if I were to eliminate television from my subscription. They told me that my cost would actually increase because I would no longer be getting the XFINITY "Triple Play" discount (TV, telephone, and Internet). It sounded like BS to me, but that was the story I was given by their service rep on the telephone.
            • Re:Irony alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by rockout (1039072) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @02:18PM (#40202375)
              It makes sense from their perspective, in a weird "let's-not-give-customers-what-they-want" kind of way. If they provide you with enough of a disincentive to drop their TV service while you keep internet, they feel like they're (at least temporarily) delaying the inevitable march that consumers are making towards the pay-for-what-you-want-to-watch model of content delivered across the net. It's short-sighted, but then again, when's the last time media companies adopted a smart long-term strategy?
              • by tsotha (720379)

                Nah, there's no double bank shot reasoning going on here - your cable company charges you more because they lose money when you drop basic TV. There are channels for which people are willing to pay extra, like ESPN or HBO. Those broadcasters charge the cable company money for each subscriber. And then there are channels (like HSN and travel channels) that nobody would pay for, so they pay the cable company to be delivered to customers on a per subscriber basis. They're basically 24/7 advertising channel

            • Re:Irony alert! (Score:5, Informative)

              by Xrikcus (207545) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @04:13PM (#40203213)

              I tried to drop comcast TV last year and they told me it was cheaper to have internet + basic cable than internet alone. Of course it was... until 6 months later that specially discounted package ran out and my bill jumped. You have to keep an eye on it.

              • Re:Irony alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

                by RKBA (622932) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:01PM (#40203563)
                Yes, that was what happened to me. My package discount ended and Comcast raised my monthly charge. I called and told them it was too expensive and that I had to cancel something or cut back on services, and asked how much I would save by cancelling television service from my "Triple Play" package. They transferred me to some sort of "Customer Downgrade Department" (Yes, Comcast actually said they have a department called something like that, although I'm not sure of the exact name). The "Customer Downgrade Department" person was the one who told me that Comcast had reinstated my package discount (and I hadn't even asked them to do it, hooray!), and because of that it would cost me more each month without TV included in the package than with it, so overall the end result was that the telephone call did save me some money even if their policies do seem insane.
          • By God!

            You Americans should rise up against your internet & connectivity oppressors.

            Throw away some tea perhaps?
            • Nah. People only take notice if you throw away something worthwhile as a form of protest.
            • Re:Irony alert! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by sir-gold (949031) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:50PM (#40203889)

              When the original Boston tea party happened (1773), there weren't armed guards and locked doors protecting the cargo, and there weren't security cameras recording everything with the police only a phone call away.

              Damaging Telecom property (as much as I would love to) is probably an considered an act of terrorism, at which point you don't even get due process, you just "disappear" to gitmo

        • by Shavano (2541114)
          2 tv shows per week at AppleTV rates is about the same as DirecTV's introductory rates. 3 is a little more. You'd be at twice that compared to DirectTV's standard rates. But for Americans that's a very low rate of TV-watching, especially if you have a family with diverse viewing preferences. Of course, if you also have over-the-air access you're getting a lot more than that for free -- or could be if you chose to put up an antenna.
        • by SeaFox (739806)

          If you only watch 2 or 3 TV shows regularly, is it more expensive than a DirecTV package?

          It's more expensive that a streaming plan on Netflix or Hulu.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          If you watch only 2 or 3 TV shows regularly, then what are you doing with ANY cable service?

      • by fiziko (97143)

        True, but that's largely due to Apple watching the market. Most people weren't "renting" TV shows, so they dropped the pay-per-view model for individual episodes. Instead of paying $0.49-$0.99 to rent an episode, you buy it for $0.99-$3.49 (all prices based on what I've seen in the Canadian store for shows I'm interested in; YMMV) per episode to watch as often as you like. It's expensive pay-per-view for TV episodes because that's not quite what they are selling, because that's not what most people were

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Most people already "rent" shows. They watch them once and forget about it. That is how the cable pricing model can work. The marginal cost of a single show rental is cheap enough.

          Now forcing people to only rent can add up quick.

          However, that's only a problem if you force them to only rent and never to buy. If Apple was giving people one-and-only-one option, I could see how that might not go over well.

          Apple may have set themselves up to fail here.

      • Re:Irony alert! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:02PM (#40201859)

        I use my Apple TV mainly for playing music off my main iTunes library, but I looked at the video and saw $2.99 per episode for TV shows? I have Amazon Prime streaming and see similar stuff: $1.99/episode for a 4 year old How It's Made.

        Everyone is talking about the merits of different technology, but the real road block to adoption seems to be an insanely broken pricing scheme. I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?

        • Re:Irony alert! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gstrickler (920733) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:34PM (#40202075)

          I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?

          Multiply that by the number of subscribers (not actual views) and you'll find that CC is getting a hefty check. Even people who never watch CC are paying that monthly fee. Compare that to the actual revenue from episodes sold (and "sold" is a 1 time payment, not monthly or per view), and I think you'll find it makes sense. Also, episodes "sold" generally don't include commercials, so they're giving up that revenue stream too. Completely different business models.

          Rental is yet another business model, one that's closer to the cable/satellite model.

          Cable/satellite = all you can consume, but only as long as you maintain your subscription. When your subscription ends, all access ends with it. Pay the same whether you watch 1min or 500hrs per month.
          Per show rental = Pay per view (or a window of xx hours). Access ends after xx hours (or one view).
          Per show purchase = Pay more per show, but pay only once, and watch it whenever you choose, as many times as you choose.

          Either way, the content creators and/or distributors will want to make ~ the same amount of revenue. So, you will pay more up-front for a purchase, but you don't have the recurring fees.

          • by Shavano (2541114)

            Either way, the content creators and/or distributors will want to make ~ the same amount of revenue. So, you will pay more up-front for a purchase, but you don't have the recurring fees.

            Correction: each way they want to make AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I've never used the iTunes store but I wonder if the price difference is due to the downloadable/steamable shows not having (as many) ads.

          I'd like to know how much the people making the shows get per viewer. I bet is is close to what we are willing to pay.

        • by xs650 (741277)
          "I saw that Dish pays around 0.25/month per subscriber to Comedy Central. Yet somehow it's reasonable to ask 2 bucks for a single episode of a single show from that channel?"

          I think the present system sucks and am not defending it, but...

          At 0.25/month from each subscriber, they are likely taking in more than 2 bucks per actual episode view because a small minority of subscribers actually watch Comedy Central, even though it is a popular show.

          If individual shows had to depend on paying subscribers paying by
      • by jo_ham (604554)

        This is true, but that's down to the content owners - Apple does not set the price. I'm sure if they could offer them cheaper to aggressively compete with cable TV they would, but the prices have obviously been set by the owners of said competing cable service to ensure they're not.

        Maybe that will change.

      • by milkmage (795746)

        actually, that's not PPV.. Apple killed rentals (for TV shows) last year because nobody was renting.
        http://www.macworld.com/article/1161983/apple_axes_tv_show_rentals_for_itunes_apple_tv.html [macworld.com]

        so when you consider it a sale, it's about the same as getting the discs with the added benefit of getting the latest episode the day after it airs. (except for really popular shows like Game of Thrones)

        Apple season pass for Sherlock S2 is 19.99 (vs. 6.99 per), the DVD from amazon is 19.96, amazon (digital) season pass

    • by mjwx (966435)

      While DirecTV's Chairman is crowing about his viewers lacking an interest in paying for an "extra box" on top of what he provides? Viewers will continue to drop DirecTV service completely,

      This is inevitable, broadcast services are dying a slow death as multi-cast and on-demand services become more prevalent.

      once they use boxes like AppleTV .

      This made me laugh. Apple has had no success with AppleTV and for good reason, they are trying to follow the same "micropayment" model that is killing the other companies, when you look at it, paying $2 per episode is no different then pay-per-view. AppleTV has completely failed to take off and unlike Microsoft they are unable to bundle it with their other offering due to the fact it's a

    • by Lije Baley (88936)

      It doesn't matter who delivers it, Hollywood will eventually get $100 per month out of you. It happened with cable, then later with satellite, and in another few years it will happen with streaming. Just wait and see.

    • Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org]:

      Year Subscribers
      1994 320,000
      1995 1,200,000
      1996 2,300,000
      1997 3,301,000
      1998 4,458,000
      1999 6,679,000
      2000 9,554,000
      2001 10,218,000
      2002 11,181,000
      2003 12,290,000
      2004 13,000,000
      2005 15,000,000
      2006 15,950,000
      2007 16,830,000
      2008 17,620,000
      2009 18,081,000
      2010 19,200,000
      2011 19,890,000 (DTV was hurt by the NFL lockout in 2011)

      And they are expanding their service into Latin America.

    • I don't think so. Most users don't even know how to change their TV inputs... My wife can't figure out how to enable the DVD player from the DVR. One device is really where people want things.

      Regarding the Steve Ballmer comment.. to be honest, the iPhone never was a threat to Microsoft. Microsoft had a very small niche market for phones, and to this day still has that market. The iPhone has done little to change that. In fact, Windows Phone 7.x has slightly improved their market share.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      The market of people actually capable of streaming TV on demand through internet is still very low. Nothing to worry about. DirecTV will lose some bleeding edge tchnologists, probably people getting internet from cable anyway where DirecTV gets most customers from those who either can not get cable or who dislike cable.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      The cost of the extra box is miniscule. The real problem with AppleTV as it relates to DirecTV is lack of content. There are any number of things on cable you might be interested in that aren't available on iTunes or Amazon.

      Cost simply isn't the problem.

      Neither is "technology".

  • then-Palm CEO Ed Colligan in 2006: [daringfireball.net]

    We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

    We all know how well that turned out for them.

    • You don't have to be much of a chess player to figure out options in play to see that DirectTV doesn't have all the pieces: ...Hardware, data pipe, storage, backup, device integration outside of video/audio, content and that nebulous thing called Ease of Use.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        DirecTV is the player that has all the pieces.

        It's Apple and the rest of the cabal that don't have all of the pieces. ALL of them are at the mercy of content owners that may not want to cooperate and network owners that may not want to cooperate.

        Those are also the same companies that are the incumbents.

    • by paiute (550198) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:08PM (#40201901)
      The "PC" guys figured out that the best phone wasn't a complex phone but a small screen computer. Maybe they are also figuring that the best TV isn't a complex TV but a big screen computer.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        Apple TV is more likely to be a big screen phone, running iOS. If they plan on continuing with their content censorship they may also limit their success, unless they decide they want to be the next Disney.

  • "Extra box"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by danaris (525051) <danarisNO@SPAMmac.com> on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:45PM (#40201727) Homepage

    Given all the rumours, it sounds more and more likely that Apple will be releasing an actual TV set of one sort or another. That wouldn't be an "extra box," it would just be a replacement TV.

    I wonder what Mr. White would think of the chances of that sort of "Apple TV"?

    Dan Aris

    • He'd probably think the market of people who want to pay for a whole new TV isn't all that big.

      • by danaris (525051)

        He'd probably think the market of people who want to pay for a whole new TV isn't all that big.

        Except that X thousand people buy new TVs every year. Sure, it's not a growing market like smartphones and tablets, but it's not like a TV is a "buy once, use forever" thing.

        And if Apple's TV set offered something especially compelling—like enough content deals with the major providers that you could cancel your cable or satellite service, and still get all the shows you liked as they aired, for a competitive price—then people might find reasons to replace their old TVs with one.

        Not saying I hav

    • Everything that will be on Apple iTV will also be on the current AppleTV
    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Speaking of which, that's what Google TV is aiming for too. Not to mention all the Samsung "smart TVs", and no-doubt other proprietary takes on the concept.

      Although none of them have exactly stormed the market yet, I'm of the opinion that we're still waiting for a break-through model, the same as happened with the iPhone and smartphones. Might be Apple TV, might be Google TV, might be something else- but when it happens, subscriber satellite/cable providers will start to feel the effects.

  • That's a dumb thing to say in virtually any context. It's especially dumb in this one because of Apple's excellent track record in bringing a good end-user experience. If the AppleTV rumors are true, the ability to to tell my remote "I want to watch Boardwalk Empire" or "record all new episodes of Game of Thrones" could be a game changer that will cause DirecTV to scramble to catch up.

    That said, I do think he can afford to be somewhat defiant about it. A $1,500 50" TV is not likely to sell like hotcak

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ColdWetDog (752185)

      "TV, I'd like to watch 'Boardwalk Empire'"

      "Mobile Tata - I don't understand boardwalk empire."

      "TV, play 'Boardwalk Empire'"

      "I couldn't find 'Boardwalk Empire' in your music, Mobile Tata.

      "Oh fuck it, make me some popcorn"

      "I'd blush if I could"

      Somehow, I don't see this as working out too well
      (Dialog pulled directly from yeah-but-it's-still-a-beta Siri)

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        "Play 'Boardwalk Empire'"

        "Did you mean "'The Empire Strikes Back'?"

        "No!"

        "Do you want to watch the original where Han shoots first or the ultra hyper mega blu-ray edition with Hayden Christensen CGIed into every second scene?"

        "No!"

        "Playing movie"

        • Han shot. Greedo died.

          Greedo never had a chance to shoot, because he was dead, from being too slow or perhaps from being too dimwitted to realize that he was making a threat that was just enough justification for Han to grasp a tenuous moral justification for what was arguably cold-blooded murder.

          Alternately, there is a version out there where Greedo shoots Han from less than an arm's length away, misses by half that distance, and Han kills Greedo in perfectly justified self-defense.

          That version is a littl

    • you can't get HBO on it's own and not IPTV only as well. and then if you can get that there is still the ISP data fees as well.

      You must take a base package or on the hidden but in the old FCC law of limited basic + HBO + maybe a cable card + SDV tuner (very unapple and not likely to be on a apple tv) or the even bigger mess of apple tv driving a cable tv box. that can be at the lowest level of useing IR blasters. and with that to make use of any kind of DVR like setup you may need more then 1 cable box and

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        ...you can't get HBO on it's own...

        Currently...true.

        But what's to say that Apple isn't courting HBO and the like to be able to stream them through and AppleTV or like device?

        As long as HBO get's their money, and potentially more customers...why would they not jump at this opportunity?

        • well that stream may goes over cable ISP's.

          So the cable co may push back at HBO over that and try to lock apple tv out of HBO.

        • by Sloppy (14984)

          As long as HBO get's their money

          Hi, welcome to the 21st century. I see you have just arrived. I know this will seem very strange to you 20th century visitors, but here's the deal: HBO doesn't give a damn about getting their money, except maybe in terms of discouraging it from happening. None of the media companies do. Their main business model is that whenever a customer comes to them and waves money in their face, the media company's response is "Fuck you! Get that fucking money out of my fucking face

    • The last major product line Apple introduced was the iPad in 2010, which stunned analysts because it cost half what they confidently priced the rumoured device at [cio.com].

      Yes, it was half of what a full-blown computer could do, but obviously consumers have decreed it the right half.

      And while some claim the iPad isn't a "real" productivity environment so it shouldn't be considered in the same league as a desktop/laptop, a TV with PVR, game console, internet box, etc, is almost exclusively a content consumption or ga

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        No. But a full blown AppleTV can be dismissed as a toy for not being able to tune or decode a TV broadcast, play a raw DVD or BD file, or play your very own home videos just pulled off your USB camera or smartphone.

    • A $1,500 50" TV is not likely to sell like hotcakes. If Apple holds to their current pattern he's got time to react.

      Some people thought the same thing in regards to the iPhone. Ask a couple companies, RIM first among them, how that worked out.

      If they aren't already reacting in some way or another, it's already too late.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        You are talking about one heavily subsidized comm device versus another one.

        I bet you like to whine about how "Android devices are cheap" too.

        People generally do not pay full price for phones and there is no one to subsidize the cost of a TV.

  • I could be wrong, but laying on a couch and talking to your TV for hours on end has the potential to be a soul-deadening experience.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:16PM (#40201957) Homepage

      I could be wrong, but laying on a couch and talking to your TV for hours on end has the potential to be a soul-deadening experience.

      As if laying on your couch and simply watching your TV is the pinnacle of Western Civilization?

      • by khipu (2511498)

        As if laying on your couch and simply watching your TV is the pinnacle of Western Civilization?

        TV, that's like a rotary phone, right? Some weird 20th century tech that old people are fond of, right?

  • He should be VERY careful about what Apple initiatives he dismisses so blithely. A lot of giants have fallen with such an attitude and we're all better for it.
  • RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @12:59PM (#40201835)

    RIM thought the very same thing until Apple handed them their ass.

  • by sunfly (1248694) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:04PM (#40201877)

    At one time hooked to our TV was a DirecTV box only. Today we have (in order of usage):

    - Apple TV. This is what the kids hit first when looking for something to watch. Mostly Netflix cartoons, our Vimeo home videos, and our Photo Stream. We have never purchased or rented a program from Apple!

    - XBox with Kinect for a gaming fix.

    - Old re-purposed Dell. This is full of all the DVD's I did not want my kids destroying (locked safely away, and yes we do own them), and a way to access anything on the net the first two don't.

    - A real antenna. Sports look horrible on my friends HDTV with all the compression! (needs fed through the computer... someday).

    I would be OK with just the first two if Apple would open the interface up for more content. I would happily pay a small ($1-5) monthly fee for channels such as Discovery, Science, etc. I'm guessing this will only happen once these channels are replaced by new content producers that are 'net only.

  • haunt him? no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by optimism (2183618) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:14PM (#40201943)

    So, will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?

    Short answer: No.

    The CEO of DirecTV obviously has better intel about the TV/video distribution market, than any slashdotter posting here.

    Is AppleTV a threat to them? I don't know, and it really doesn't matter. For the sake of argument, let's pretend that AppleTV is a huge threat, and that DirecTV is doomed, and one man, even the CEO, cannot effect the sweeping market changes to reverse this course.

    White's motivation, as with any CEO of a publicly-traded company in the Wall St system, is to maximize his income. He does that by keeping the stock price as high as possible, for as long as possible, even in the face of a known inevitable demise. Then when profitability is clearly compromised, he can collect large compensation for sticking with a "troubled company". Or just jump immediately to the next company. Rinse, repeat, retire.

    This is the way the current system works. The CEO is not an "idiot" for not publicly recognizing threats that he/she absolutely knows about. Quite the contrary. His behavior is "smart". It's the overall rules of the system that are "dumb".

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      Right, to be ethical they need to get a CEO who sells a product he is pretty maudlin about, and thinks won't be very successful in the face of a product which essentially came out in 2007 and hasn't even touched their business.

      Maybe instead of a standard investor meeting, he can say "Well who cares anyway, it's just a stupid TV company. Don't people have anything better to do?"

    • Re:haunt him? no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @03:02PM (#40202685)

      I think you're missing the obvious: poor insight on their part can sink their careers. Rather than comparing what he's saying to Ballmer, I find it more apt to compare it to something said by Ed Colligan, the former CEO of Palm, about two months prior to the iPhone's announcement:

      We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

      After being ousted as Palm's president and CEO, he ended up with the investment group that had sunk money into Palm. That didn't go too well, last I checked, and I haven't found any evidence of him being an executive anywhere else. His failure to recognize the threat to his business, despite having better info than the usual slashdotter, wasn't merely a public facade. His career has never been the same, and that's why his quote has doubtless come back to haunt him. The same may be true here if DirectTV's CEO is in denial of a credible threat. Putting on a strong public face is fine, so long as behind the scenes he's actually working on something to counter the threat.

      That said, you are absolutely correct that until we see what's announced, we have no way of knowing if it's an actual threat or not. As such, the smart thing for him to have said would have been, "We don't comment on hypothetical products." Anything more than that and he's setting himself up, in the case of Apple entering the market and succeeding, to be derided as someone who was caught with their pants down and their head in the sand. That's not an image that makes for healthy careers.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Actually, in many places, even in the US, they have the advantage of easy deployment. They put their antenna, aim it, and done. Cable/ISP need to wire a bunch of houses for them to have a respectable BW.

      I had a very bad experience with DirectTV customer service though, so I don't want them near my house. But I can agree they have certain advantage over internet only TV.
  • Well lets see (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:15PM (#40201945)

    ...I've been a directv subscriber since around 1994 when they had 50,000 customers and have their current HD DVR technology.

    Pro's: nice picture quality, lots of channels, plenty of downloadable shows.

    Cons: Cant stream anything except youtube from a search. No netflix. No hulu. Have to download all shows which can take quite a while and can only start viewing when you have buffered a lot. Most hardware platforms are slower than molasses going uphill on a cold monday morning, and if your brand new HR24 craps out, chances are they'll ship you a replacement HR 20/21/22 that are basically too slow to use. You hit a button on the remote and a while later something happens. Completely opposed to and unsupporting of anything coming through the box that isn't directv supplied and branded.

    In short, unacceptable for 2012, poised for a major faceplant from someone elses set top box. Obstructionism and protectionism only work until someone has something as good for less money that works better. I don't think thats Apple TV because I can't see anyone seriously spending a couple of bucks per tv show. Netflix and hulu are incomplete. But as soon as someone puts out a streaming package with full sports, all local broadcast and pretty much everything I can get from directv minus the big dish and tons of wires and little boxes for under $100...directv will start hemorrhaging money and subscribers.

    Having had the chance to speak to a number of directv senior and middle management, they consider the customer a barely necessary evil and have absolutely no idea as to how to treat customers. When you're the best show in town, you can get away with that.

  • ZOMG! Rly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @01:24PM (#40202023) Homepage

    If Michael White is that stupid then it explains a lot. The Direct TV UI is completely horrid in every way. The guide sucks the menus suck, the remote sucks. It's better than the garbage that Comcast has, but only marginally. All of the Cable or Satellite providers have the crappiest UI possible on their boxes. Because they refuse to spend any money on them so they have the box engineers simply slap one together for the least possible cost.

    Apple is going to wipe the floor with them. If apple finds a way to have a $45.00 a month subscription to most of the desired channels out there but in a On demand form, They will utterly destroy Dish and the others.

    • If Apple manage to offer that overseas, they might have a winner; I for one would be all over it. I am hoping that one party will come along with enough marketing cloud to convince the content guys that global on demand is the future.
  • DirecTV, along with cable, have this model where you have to buy channels by the package not a la carte. So out of 200 channels maybe there are 10 that you watch regularly. Not only that but the default setting on DirecTV is to also show you the channels that you DON'T get to entice you to get them. This all plays in to the prevailing American mentality of "more is better". Big house, big SUV, big refrigerators, big everything. This is why Costco is so successful. Why buy 2 rolls of paper towel when you can
  • First off, if I want to add an HD receiver in my house from DirecTV, I'm sure I'll have to spend $99.

    Secondly, hasn't Foxconn let the cat out of the bag that Apple is working on TV units with Apple TV functionality baked in? There won't be a need for an extra box anymore.

  • DirectTV has a satellite downlink, with their own satellites and antennas. AppleTV just has the Internet. Only in countries with net neutrality will Apple TV win out over the offerings of cable TV companies and telcos. The Comcast 300MB data cap is good for maybe 60-70 hours of HD video. Average American TV consumption is 5 hours a day.

  • Thanks, but I'll pass on both Apple TV and DirecTV; I think they both are awful.

  • I just dropped Dish Network in favor of Roku this month. I just found I wasn't watching any of the dish channels for the last 6 months.

  • I keep tying to cut the cord but I pay with DVR HDTV about $35/month on RCN. Frankly, after i assemble all the services with their various monthly fees, and necessary hardware purchases to match what I get from RCN cable do I save enough (or anything) that the inconvenience of piecemealing is worthwhile.

  • Seriously, what sort of a question is that? "will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?"

    He'd do well not to underestimate Apple - they've got some damn good designers on staff and a team that's extremely good at turning technology on its head. And if there's one technology that's long overdue a head turning, it's TV.

  • I for one would love to see Apple become a TV network so it can service its content consuming lockdown loving fan base as they deserve to be serviced, and just let its phone business quietly wither away.

  • Need a new phrase (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilsaloving (1534307) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @02:36PM (#40202505)

    Something like, "If Apple focuses on your market, you better focus too". Apple has an unequivocal track record of being a major disruptive influence on any consumer market they choose to enter. Music players. Music industries. Phones. They may not dominate any given market, but they sure as hell disrupt it.

    I have to say that I'm actually glad for this. All these markets have essentially been static and stagnant with the incumbents doing the same crap without any real innovation. Then Apple waltzes in and suddenly everything gets really interesting. The phone arena is particularly interesting, because we get to watch the relatively long-lived incumbents (eg RIM, Nokia) thrash, crash and burn in slow motion while everyone looks on and says to themselves, "Wow, I can't believe we put up with the crap they've been peddling for so long!"

  • Just another example of a company resting on its laurels, while someone else moves ahead.
    Wouldn't be surprised if DirecTV is gone in a couple years due to a mass exodus of customers to wired technologies. The only market DirecTV will still be able to appeal to is that where there is no cable/fiber optic available.

  • I have an Apple TV. There are things about it I like a lot - but there is a significant flaw with some basic functionality.

    You're supposed to be able to play stuff from your iTunes libraries, but the Apple TV regularly and spontaneously loses the ability to actually get the items from them (perpetually "Loading..." the library). You can fix it - instantly - by stopping and then restarting iTunes on the computer itself; but that really shouldn't be something you ever have to do.

  • How else is he supposed react to not only a product that doesn't exist, but one that hasn't even been announced? Panic? People (not necessarily here) mocked Jeff Bezos when he dismissed the threat of the iPad and iBooks to his Kindle business. And guess what? A couple years into it and Bezos was right. Furthermore, let's be honest with ourselves, Apple knows how to do R&D: fail as often as you succeed but when you win, win big. They have had notable failures. Look no further than, well, Apple TV.

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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