On May 30, Apple chairman Steven Jobs’ May 30th announcement the alliance of Apple TV with YouTube.
Before this announcement, critics had deemed Apple TV, introduced earlier this year, as yet one more failed attempt at media convergence. But, with the addition of thousands of original YouTube videos, searchable with the Apple TV Remote, there emerges some hope for Apple TV in the marketplace.
For years, many high tech magazines and Silicon Valley pundits have been heralding the upcoming arrival of media convergence where all traditional television programming, downloadable entertainment content, and Internet-based interactive content will soon merge and be broadcast from one box in your living room.
To contrarian pundits, this ongoing promise of media convergence has emitted nothing short of a pungent odor reminiscent of the year 2000 “Dotbomb.” They further claim that, while YouTube has successfully created its own new wave version of a television network, showcasing mostly original short video clips of widely varying quality in both content and resolution, the novelty of this dearth of mostly mediocre content will soon wear thin. When compared to network television programming with the lowest possible production values, even some of the highest quality YouTube videos tend to fall far short.
Critics also claim that YouTube’s flow of high quality content is especially vulnerable to stiff competition from other major entertainment players, including Microsoft and Sony, who are currently sinking big development money into their own video content hubs. And another area of vulnerability is the fact that YouTube is currently dangerously exposed to litigation involving content copyright issues.
This alliance with YouTube, however, isn’t Apple’s first alliance with Google, YouTube’s parent company. Google Maps is one of the main features of Apple’s iPhone, providing satellite mapping photos of different locales.
Critics also take aim at Apple’s vulnerability to unresolved copyright issues with entertainment company giants who have been particularly resistant to providing downloadable content to Apple’s iTunes platform.
They further claim that Apple TV still lacks important features that cable television providers currently offer. While Apple TV has the ability to download and buy feature films and television shows, it doesn’t offer rentable pay-per-view content.
The critics who support this alliance of Apple and Google see that Apple TV offers another direct threat to Microsoft’s monopoly-like business practices, leveling the marketplace’s “playing ground” by creating yet one more non-Microsoft compliant device that’s hooked to the Internet.
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