Smart 4K/UHD TVs Could Stop Apple TV Growth Cold

Sony A1E Smart 4K/UHD TV
Smart. Sony’s A1E 4K/UHD OLED TV has the electronics in the stand where there’s more room.

A recent analysis by The Wall Street Journal and PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that video customers are increasingly fond of subscription services such as Amazon Video, Netflix, and Hulu. See “Apple Reignited the Mac, Now It’s Time to Do the Same for Apple TV.” This could have repercussions for the Apple TV model of single video-on-demand purchase or rental.

What’s happening is that TV makers are increasingly including, in their smart 4K TVs, hardware and software to access these favored subscription services. A recent NPD report says:

According to the forecast, by 2018, and through the end of the forecast period, household penetration of smart TVs will achieve relative parity with streaming media players as platforms delivering apps to TVs.


Now predictions about sales and market share can be tricky, but in this case, there is ample evidence to affirm this prediction. First, there is the known shift to subscription services cited above.

Second, the industry is skeptical as to the success of 4K Ultra HD disc sales as customers increasingly embrace internet TV. Third, as customers think about going without 4K Blu-ray players and DVRs (or switch to cloud DVRs as with DirecTV Now), it will occur to them that they may not need any kind of extra OTT box at all.

This is an unintended consequence, but it ends up also solving that dreaded dilemma “How do I select from all those many inputs?” that mystifies so many customers.

Amidst this environment, it’s going to be hard for the Apple TV, already far behind the Roku, to flourish. One way out of this dilemma is for Apple get very, very aggressive with the Apple TV design and offer what the competition can’t. Thinking the unthinkable, perhaps Apple missed the boat after all by electing not to sell its own smart 4K/UHD TV.

We like to assume that Apple will roll out a glorious, must-have 5th gen unit, but huge challenges remain. The shifting sands of the 4K revolution might shift right out from under Apple TV in a few years.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of July 10th.

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I have a 4k Sony Smart TV powered by Android and a Sony Soundbar, and an Apple TV4. ONLY the Apple TV4 correctly wakes up the TV AND the Soundbar when its switched on, the Apple TV wakes up the other devices over HDMI. It just works. About 50% of the time, switching on the TV fails to power up the Soundbar over HDMI so the Soundbar control has to be accessible. So it just doesn’t work, as its supposed to. I have a Sony upscaling BluRay player and that doesn’t either… If only everyone could actually implement standards as… Read more »

Lee Dronick

My wife and I are (have been) very much enjoying the BBC or Canadian mystery shows

A Place to Call Home the series set in post WWII Australia.

I am also enjoying Will the new series about William Shakespeare.

Apple TV has TED talks

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

@geoduck: Agreed. My TV watching is primarily news-related, which is not about entertainment, however perverse, so much as it is about information. To the extent that I watch Netflix, it’s been to stream one of the many Star Trek series. Almost invariably when I try to watch a movie to which I don’t already have access, I never get passed the first few minutes before I turn it off. Time, like a mind, is a terrible thing to waste. @lee: Point taken. Perhaps I insufficiently balanced my aversion for the thoughtless, content-poor, pointless drivel that passes for entertainment, and for… Read more »

Lee Dronick

D’oh! I have been enjoying the series Genius on the National Geographic Channel

Lee Dronick

There is good stuff on TV, but a lot of fluff. I have been enjoying on the National Geographic, drama shows on PBS, cooking on the Travel Channel, and some other shows. As with every media you have to ignore the clickbait and find the treasures.


Wab95 I could not agree more about the quality of TV. I seldom turn ours on because I have no interest in most of it. At this point I don’t even think about turning it on any more. My wife has to remind me about Dr. Who or something else we want to watch. More often, she turns it on and I go elsewhere, or put on headphones. We have a Netflix account. My wife watches several hours a week on it. I think I’ve watched maybe two hours on Netflix in the last year. (Actually it’s become a running… Read more »

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: Whatever happens on the TV front, may the best solution win. I truly don’t care which does win, because, under the current set of offerings, sentience loses. Presently, most of what is offered on TV is mind-numbing tripe that one can only hope will one day (I won’t be here to see it, I’m sure) be supplanted with at least a greater prevalence of programming that, never mind intellectual and cultural enrichment, can entertain without ever lowering the bar on the least common and basest social denominator. Until that happens, entertainment consumers like myself will continue to navigate a… Read more »

John Kheit

Most smart tv UIs are terrible. My LG oled comes with web OS 3.0 and it’s pretty fantastic. I still use TiVo and Apple TV, however, Web is 3.0 is the first credible smart tv ui I’ve seen, and on the 2016 and newer lg oled tvs, the processor they use is finally fast enough that the experience is very fluid and good.


I will likely purchase a set top box this fall, after I see what Apple does with the next iteration of the Apple TV. I have been contemplating the purchase of a new TV. But I refuse to allow an Android TV into my home. While I understand that televisions are commodity devices and Apple did not really have a way to create a product that would make it in the market, it is really a shame. The privacy and security of Sony, Samsung and LG TVs scare me a great deal.


I’ve tried to help older people who had “smart TVs”, and the OS built into these things still has a long way to go before it can supplant the Apple TV/Chromecast/Roku add ons.

Mike Weasner

The drawback to facial recognition as the ONLY method of authenticating yourself to your phone/tablet is that the camera (or other facial sensing device has to be able to actually “see” your face. When I mount my iPhone on my telescope the phone won’t be able to see me due to the orientation of the device on the telescope and there wouldn’t be any light anyway (and I don’t want the flash/screen to light up!). And in the winter my face would be covered up anyway. Touch ID via Home button or screen needs to still be available.


One factor impacting adoption of the new iPhone model is the economy. I don’t want this to decay into a political discussion but there’s a lot of worry out there about what’s going to happen to the US economy in the next 6 months or year. My company just announced layoffs specifically because most of the companies we deal with are putting off equipment purchases. They are worried about what’s going to happen. Uncomfortable times are worrying. IT starts with CEOs and leeches down to the people on the floor and worried people spend less. So as good as the… Read more »