I watched Engadget’s coverage of the Apple announcements (and by “watched, I mean I contributed to the slowing of their servers by repeatedly hitting F5 the whole time), and I’m intrigued by the iTV announcement. I actually went looking for something similar a few weeks back when Amazon’s UnBox launched. While many folks are lauding Apple for this innovation, I disagree that this is really innovation, it’s just the next logical step.
There are devices out there already that provide a way to shove content to a TV wirelessly, but that are about as expensive as the proposed iTV, and much more difficult to work with. The folks at Apple will probably make the iTV experience pretty user-friendly.
The interesting point of this whole thing is that during the iTV announcement, I had my first “Maybe I don’t really need cable or satellite anymore” moment. If we get to the point (not far away now) where all the content I watch can be downloaded or streamed, then why should I keep paying DirecTV? I can buy a lot of a la cart programming for what I pay in satellite bills each month. If the local news channels get on board with this new form of content distribution, then I really won’t be missing anything.
It is a bit of a leap conceptually though. People generally don’t feel bad about sitting down for an hour to watch a television show because we’re conforming to the TV’s schedule. If all my content is on-demand, then I’m probably going to watch less TV because watching an hour long show means I’m more overtly committing that time. Since the show can fit into my schedule now, it’ll get prioritized just like everything else, and many shows would probably fall off the bottom end of the priority stack.