February 17, 2014
Each week, I publish a column titled “How To Spend A $25 iTunes Gift Card.” I usually feature a movie or two, each newly available as a rental in the iTunes Store. I absolutely love watching movies, independent films especially, but often miss them when they are in theaters. This is what happens when you have a 7-year-old daughter who wants to see the latest Disney flick with her daddy. Because of this, I spend a lot of time renting movies on iTunes, usually when they first become available. Not all movies are created equal, of course. Inevitably, I run into a stinker and wish I hadn’t just spent the $5.99 to rent the movie in HD. Another way, of course, is to head to a Redbox and rent a DVD. This is usually a fraction of the cost of renting a movie through iTunes, but it is also much less convenient. Netflix, of course, offers unlimited movie and TV show streaming for $7.99 per month. This is a great deal, especially if you like original programs, which I do, such as “House of Cards.” The movie collection the service provides is vastly improved from where it was just a few years ago. Still, it is rare to see a new movie show up here. My viewing habits probably aren’t all that unique. We pay a lot to rent newly released movies, while we catch up on our favorites by subscribing to a service like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. What if there was a better way? ReadWrite’s Dave Smith has published an excellent piece that makes a lot of sense. His bottom line:
Imagine this: For $10-12 a month, your Apple TV gives you total access to the entire iTunes Store. You get all the new movies and TV shows right after they air, and you can watch them as many times as you want. No more rental rules and restrictions. You still have the option to purchase these titles and keep them in your personal iTunes library, but your monthly fee just lets you stream those titles whenever you want.Would Apple actually go down this path, and would Hollywood agree? I would say yes — if the price is right. The Apple TV has always been a “hobby” device. We know that Apple CEO Tim Cook very much wants to change this. Cupertino has found little success in trying to convince cable and satellite providers to allow a la carte television programming via the Apple TV. Perhaps Apple TV’s future isn’t to become the next DirecTV or Comcast. Rather, it’s to compete with Netflix. We could know Apple's plans soon enough. The next-generation Apple TV is expected to arrive in the coming months. Would you subscribe to an all-in-one iTunes service? See also: Apple Pushing Ahead With 'Less Ambitious' TV Service, Report Claims, and What's Next For The Apple TV?