Apple TV

Related announcements that could indicate a new product

Apple has not made any official announcements on a new Apple TV yet people continue to speculate on the issue. Instead of just reading regurgitated rumors about app stores and gaming The Steaming Advisor would like to share 5 sure signs of a New Apple TV Launch on the way. They are based on precedent from other product launches and a bit of logic gleaned from studying the typical patterns that Apple and other tech companies seem to follow in anticipation of a new product launch. See below. 

Apple has realized that reaching out to individual channel owners may be too much to take on. Instead the company is reaching out to the main network’s themselves and letting them negotiate with their affiliates as the company works to bring about a streaming TV service. This is a very important step for Apple because it makes the long rumored streaming service appear far more possible. Apple has been in the headlines for months concerning a streaming service that would offer local affiliate feeds, a key factor for many on the fence concerning whether to drop cable. By providing local affiliate access it gives users the potential to see not just local news coverage via streaming but local and regional sports teams.

How is Apple making this possible?
As of right now Apple is negotiating directly with CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. CW, another broadcast network is owned by CBS. By working with networks instead of reaching out to hundreds of affiliates individually Apple farms out the responsibility of negotiating for streaming rights to entities with existing relationships and connections. According to the New York Post the plan is working out. While Apple has been quiet on the streaming hardware side of things it has worked feverishly to build relationships going forward. It’s negotiation with HBO to be the exclusive launch partner for HBO Now worked out great for both parties with HBO seeing its app become a top seller in the iTunes store. Apple TV got a major boost spurred by both a price drop and the HBO offer the device rose to the number 3 selling streaming device on Amazon despite its age.

What do affiliates get out of the deal?
The plan which includes revenue sharing between Apple and the affiliates is gaining traction. If Apple is able to put this together it stands to be a major addition to the streaming space and may effectively end Sony’s experiment in this space and stop the recently announced “Comcast Stream” right in its tracks. Apple has never released details as to exactly wich cable channels would be involved with the service but considering the willingness that cable channels have shown to work with Sling and Sony Vue I don’t think Apple will have a great deal of trouble working out deals with a host of other partners.

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Apple TV is a very popular device these days. It may be possible though that even more popular than the device itself are rumors about a new Apple TV set-top box. The 2015 WWDC launched Monday without mentioning the Apple TV at all after months of rumors of a new product on the way with the possible inclusion of a TV service included. Predictably there were headlines abound that Apple did not announce it. Shortly before the event a new narrative started circulating the blogosphere saying the product would not be announced. Whether there were actually plans to roll out an Apple TV update at the event or not is nothing more than speculation at this point because Apple never made an announcement one way or the other. The fact is that the company has yet to make an official statement on the future of Apple TV at all. There is a narrative among tech writers and Jr journalists/bloggers that Apple faces becoming irrelevant without an update to the Apple TV. Is this really the case. Honestly what other product line can command headlines for not being mentioned? Today we are going to take a look at some things that allot of people seems to be ignoring.

Popularity
Apple TV is currently ranked number 3 in Amazon’s Streaming Media Players category. It trails the #1 Fire TV Stick and #2 Chromecast. This means that Apple TV is outselling quad core The Fire TV box, every single Roku model including the voice search supported Roku 3. Not bad for an irrelevant product.

Apple Makes a great partner
When it came time to announce stand-alone services for HBO and Showtime the first partner announced was Apple TV. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that trend to continue as more companies move in this direction. Part of this is because Apple’s branding is so popular and respected across the world. Another is that Apple provides a system for charging customers for the services though iTunes meaning HBO and Showtime do not have to develop an entirely new system to administer the service. As evidenced by HBO’s decision to work with MLB to discriminate HBO Now these companies are not looking to reinvent the wheel. At this point Apple provides the most similar infrastructure to a cable company as can be found.

If it’s not broke don’t fix it
We have become accustomed to seeing technology updated at a breakneck pace but it should be noted that the simple fact that a new product bursts on to the scene does not make the existing products on the market not worth owning. What other set-top box perfectly targets IOS users? What other product on the market offers full iTunes integration? No other product on the market offers an interface as easy to use as AirPlay natively. No Miracast is not the same thing and neither is screen mirroring on the Chromecast. Considering how well it is selling there does not appear to be a need to roll out a new product.

When a new Apple TV launches it will be huge
Apple is never punished for being late. When Apple chooses to release a new set-top box it will be guaranteed to be the talk of the electronics industry. There will be headlines on every tech site about the new product, pictures and so on. This company knows marketing quite well. You can also be sure that whatever rolls out will work very well and be as up to date as possible. We put together a speculative piece on the kind of product that Apple could release that would shake up the market. See it here.

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Apple TV rumors have morphed from being about television sets to streaming services. The latest rumor regarding the plans to bring a streaming TV service is pretty predictable. According to multiple sources the service which had been rumored to be announced at the Apple developers conference in June along with a refresh of the Apple TV set-top box, has reportedly hit a snag in its roll out due to the lack of support for local television affiliates. Aside from the fact that this pattern regarding the reporting of unsubstantiated rumors as though they were facts and then backing away from them after the headlines fade is getting old it does portend something for the future. As companies start looking at streaming as a linear  television solution this issue will likely pop up again and again? As much as people say that they expect the local channels on any TV service it really may not be worth the trouble. Why do we say that?

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The New York Times is reporting that Apple has a new remote in mind when its rumored Apple TV refresh rolls out this June. The remote is said to be wider and features a touch pad. A touch pad indicates a considerably larger design that the current model which is small and skinny enough to lose in a large wallet. The departure begs the question what would a touch screen be used for on an Apple TV remote?

Will We see full Screen Browsing?
There have been rumors and hopes for a browser for the new system. Could a touch pad be part of that? Anyone who has used a browser on an Android based set top box (without a remote) certainly knows the frustration of entering text with an on screen keyboard and a remote.

Could a touch pad be used in gaming?There is not a tablet based game that does not involve touch. With rumors of games being a draw for a new device one has to wonder if there is a plan to integrate more controls for the casual gaming crowd.

Is Apple trying to design the new product with more non IOS users in mind?
The Apple TV even at it’s age is a wonderful accessory to a home with IOS devices. The ability to use AirPlay, Mirror, utilize IOS devices as remotes and share media from wireless devices and Apple laptops allows for full integration of Apple based media. But its close association with its own ecosystem has prevented it from being the popular choice for those outside of the Apple Family. Maybe with plans to use the box as a home automation hub the new device is aiming to be more agnostic.

Is there a major UI design on the way?
Navigating the current Apple TV with the supplied remote is efficiant and simple enough and hardly calls for a touch pad. If Apple is truly working on such a feature for the remote maybe it is important for basic navigation. Could it allow for zooming and and other gesture based controls like its mobile system?

One thing is for certain. If a new Apple TV product is announced in June it will be the tech story of the summer. People will likely focus on some aspect of the device that the general public will totally ignore and it will likely sell a lot of them. With a rumored cord cutting solution on the way in concert with the device there is sure to be a great deal of attention on it. If a company can convince millions to pay at least $400.00 for a watch I bet it can design something to make people want to watch TV.

 

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For those out there who signed up for the free month of HBO Now but have seen their fill of the service you might now be asking How do You Cancel HBO Now? HBO Now has been available for just over a month and if you signed up at the start of April that month is over. If you would like to unsubscribe to the service here is how to do it.

These instructions are based on the instructions on the Apple Support site here.

iTunes Settings

If you are an early adopter of HBO Now you had to sign up for the service with an Apple product. This means that you must use iTunes to unsubscribe. Follow these steps to do so.

On an iPad follow these steps

  1. Start at the home scree and tap App Store.
  2. Tap the “Featured” button from the menu on the bottom
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap your personal Apple ID. If your Apple ID is not displayedSign In and enter your information, then tap your Apple ID.
  4. Choose View Apple ID
  5. If Asked enter your password and tap OK.
  6. In your Account Settings screen, scroll down and choose Manage App Subscriptions.
  7. Tap the subscription you want to manage (HBO NOW) choose a subscription category.
  8. From here you can change your subscription so that it does not auto renew.

From a computer use these Steps

  1. If you do not have iTunes installed download it and install it
  2. Open the iTunes program
  3. Sign in to iTunes with your ID
  4. Go to Store  and View Account.
  5. Once at thr Account Information page, scroll to the Settings section.
  6. Choose Manage to the right of Subscriptions.
  7. Select the subscription you want to manage.
  8. Use the options to choose to manage HBO Now and turn off Auto-Renewal.

 

What is Better HBO Now or HBO on Sling TV? Because of a combination of second hand dissemination as well as outright poor reporting the two completely separate services have become entangled and in some cases both have been labeled as HBO-Go. Let’s explain what is really offered with these two services.

HBO Now

HBO Now is a free-standing service owned and operated by HBO. It is currently available on the IOS family of devices including the Apple TV, iPad’s, Apple computers and the iPod touch. The service is almost a carbon copy of HBO-Go. The difference of course is that HBO-Go is an outgrowth of an HBO cable subscription while HBO Now does not require a subscription.  It offers on-demand programming including a full catalog of HBO’s original series from the last 20 years, a large collection of Hollywood hit movies, as well as HBO’s comedy specials and sports programming. There is no live feed. Think of it like a Netflix for HBO fans. It costs $15.00 with no strings attached.

Sling TV HBO

Sling Television offers its customers HBO as part of the Internet TV service. In order to access HBO on Sling TV, customers must purchase the Best of Live TV package ($20.00) which is the most basic introductory package offered by Sling. The “Best of Live TV” package offers a collection of pay TV channels including AMC, TBS, ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT among others. The HBO addon costs $15.00.

The HBO addon works more like a traditional channel. It has a live feed of HBO so that viewers can see HBO programming as it airs to HBO subscribers on other platforms. The difference is that there is only one feed of HBO vs the multiple HBO channels (HBO 2, HBO Family etc) found on a cable package. The service offers on demand content including HBO’s blockbuster movies, and selections from HBO’s original series. At the time of this writing not every episode of every HBO series is available. I have been told by representatives from Sling that the service will be able offer full access to HBO’s series in the future. As of right now the company has made sure that all episodes of the popular Game of Thrones are available.

Full Cost
Cost $35.00 = ($20.00 Best of Live TV) + ($15.00 for HBO)

Which service is better?

Which offering is best is according to ones needs? At the moment HBO Now is only available on IOS devices. This is only going to be the case through the first three months of the service. So by July the service will almost definitely be available on other platforms. It is not at all unreasonable to expect to find it on Roku and the Fire TV as well as Android devices. HBO has yet to say which platforms will carry the service but I just can’t imagine HBO is going to leave out major players like the ones mentioned above.

HBO Now is very easy and straightforward. Its interface is easy to navigate. Access to the huge library of programming including current shows like Game of Thrones and Real Time is very convenient.

Sling is able to offer the Live feed which means that one does not have to wait until the next day to see their favorite programming. There is an advantage in this for those who favor event television. The debut of a series like Game of Thrones is big new and Sling users get to be in the middle of the discussion. Once the service is able to offer a more complete catalog of series the service will be quite compelling.

For the moment the choices are very clear. If you do not have an IOS device HBO Now is unavailable. Sling offers its service across IOS (but not Apple TV) Mac, Android and PC’s along with Roku and the Fire TV. If you are a cord cutter without Apple products who wants to watch HBO content than your choice is Sling. If you are an Apple user who does not care whether there is access to live programming HBO Now is a natural choice. After the three month exclusive ends and the service becomes available on more devices and as Sling is able to offer the full catalog of HBO series the difference will come down to whether the customer wants HBO programming in conjunction with other channels or whether they want it on its own.

HBO On Sling TV Video

HBO Now Video Demo

If you are an HBO Now subscriber you must have noticed that the full lineup of offerings includes everything from documentaries to movies and TV shows with unapologetic full frontal nudity. If you have a household where this will not be a problem for you then enjoy. On the other hand if this is something that causes concern read on.

You might love Game of Thrones, the Sopranos and Deadwood but maybe you just don’t feel like explaining the various examples of colorful language seen in the shows to an 8 year old. Following these simple steps will help you avoid the awkward dinner conversations.

  1. When you registered for HBO Now in the first place you received an email Subject “Create Your HBO NOW Account” welcoming you to the service and inviting you to register for the service on HBONOW.COM
    HBO Now Create
  2. Tap the blue button “REGISTER ON HBONOW.COM to be taken to the registration page
    HBO Now Register
  3. Enter your name and a password. Fill in each field
  4. Click the Blue Register button
  5. You will now receive an email from HBONOW confirming the account
  6. Sign in here Enter your email/user name and the password you created
  7. Click the Blue Button SIGN IN TO HBO NOW
    HBO Now Sign In
  8. On the next page find your name in the upper right hand corner next to WATCHLIST and click  or tap on it
    HBO Now Find Name
  9. Click or select Parental Controls
    HBO Now Parental Controls10. From here you can select the level for the content for both TV and Movies. Remember though all bets are off if the movie is from the early 80s.
    HBO Now Set Level

We took a look at the HBO Now app on Apple TV. It’s a sharp looking offering. One thing missing. Live TV. This is not so much HBO without Cable it is more HBO Go without Cable. There is a metric ton of content to see but unless we missed something you will not be seeing anything live. Check our HBO Now Demo Video.

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Cord cutting dreams coming true

HBO Now launched this morning bringing the premium movie original series service to cable free and/or HBO free homes. The service which will start exclusively on Apple devices offers users access to current hits like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and the popular Game Of Thrones along with an extensive library of the original series and HBO original pictures that allowed the network to endear itself into the American consciousness over time. The

Apple TV is the exclusive set-top box of HBO Now.
Apple TV is the exclusive set-top box of HBO Now.

network also offers a large selection of movies (in some cases exclusively) on demand ahead of other movie services.

Is HBO Now Worth $14.99?

It depends on the customer. If Game of Thrones is the only reason that somebody is considering the service then no. On the other hand those looking for a new selection of movies and other content may very well appreciate the service. For instance while Amazon may offer a number of older titles including hits from the past like The Sopranos, Eastbound and Down and Deadwood, it cannot provide the latest content. The service may well turn out to be popular with those who do have a paired down cable service but chose to eschew the movie tier of their digital cable plan.

How do you watch HBO Go

Apple TV Via an Apple TV App
IOS devices via a app
Laptops Via the companies website

Get a look at the HBO Now Features

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