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Re: TV, what do you think Steve meant when he said “we’ve cracked it”?

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Re: TV, what do you think Steve meant when he said “we’ve cracked it”?
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Mr. Katan
Join Date: May 2004
2021-07-22, 10:46

I believe this was in that Isaacson bio, where Steve (Jobs) is talking about TV and says something like “we’ve cracked it”.

Fast-forward a decade…is it all this streaming, subscription stuff? Is that what he was talking about? Where, instead of paying for cable and maybe Netflix or sone other service, you’re now shelling out $6-12 (or more) for about a half-dozen services and still can’t reliably see what you used to just 5-8 short years ago?

Remember when you could actually find/watch popular movies on Netflix? That’s all a thing of the past. Now it’s just iffy stand-up concerts and made-for-Netflix movies or series.

I have to believe Steve was talking about it from the business/provider angle because, for the consumer/viewer, ain’t nobody “cracked” shit from where I sit.

The companies are all raking it in (and that’s fine, that’s how this stuff works), but I fail to see how nickel-and-dining yoiurself with multiple, specialized streaming services (Prine, Apple+, Discovery+, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, etc. is easier, more affordable or as varied as things were 10 years ago.

Yes, cable sucks. But this other stuff isn’t much better, IMO. If one is very specific in their tastes and wants, I suppose something like Disney+ could provide 90% of the entertainment one needs, but you really gotta have a 24/7 hard-on for Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, don’t you? The Marvel stuff, for me, is a one-and-done deal. I’m not going to sit and watch Thor or Ant-Man movies on an ongoing basis. The shows may be hit or miss. They seem to come and go quickly.

Maybe it’ll be easier to assess 1-2 years from now when all this original episodic fare has kicked in and there aren’t long gaps between things (I’m looking at you, Star Wars).

How has your TV viewing (and monetary outlay) changed over the years? Are you still on regular cable or have you ditched that and subscribe to multiple services now instead?

What do you like, and not like, about this “new way”?

I’ve noticed lately, watching TV, that if a commercial isn’t about auto insurance or the latest “ask your doctor about…” prescription drug, then it’s a promo for a streaming service (Discocery+, Disney+, Hulu, etc.). Those are now the big three advertisers. Not soda and beer, shaving cream, automobiles, Ritz crackers, feminine hygiene products, etc.
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
2021-07-22, 11:36

Look at the streaming platform template that Apple was offering in the early days - could that early realization of the streaming "product" have been it?

Was that launched within 2 to 3 years of his passing?

Those apps have become an embedded commodity in smart televisions.

I was watching the Science channel on cable and EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL was for the new Discovery streaming platform.


Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
Mr. Katan
Join Date: May 2004
2021-07-22, 12:05

Yep, with that Joanna Gaines hottie in half of them for their Magnolia(?) network.

I assumed "cracking it" would be some true pick-and-choose, a la carte type of thing, where one got to choose only the networks/channels they really wanted (DIY, Food Network, HGTV and Game Show Network would pretty much be my four), and pay a reasonable fee for those. The more you choose, the better break on pricing you got. But, no matter what, it shook out better than the typical cable bill.

But I'm hopelessly naive about such things, and should know better by now that no company is going to buy into that and make it that easy/pleasant.

Netflix has always been hit or miss for me, but I could always find something (Korean crime/police/gangster flicks became a thing for me for a while, and I saw about 25-30 really good movies...but they're hard to find now for some reason). But it seems everything has left. The Sopranos and anything that was HBO has, naturally, departed for HBO Max (understandable). And we all know where Marvel, Star Wars, etc. movies went. I did enjoy The Irishman and The Highwaymen movies, but that's two measly movies over the course of 18 or so months. They have a shitload of Jason Statham movies available, but if you've seen 1-2 of those, you've basically seen them all, right? It isn't like one of them is going to be accidentally extra good or something.

A changing landscape, for sure.

I do think when some of those original series get fully up to production/release and so there's a reasonably steady, reliable and overlapping flow of fare (Obi-Wan and all the other SW shows to come), things might feel different. But, right now, with a few exceptions, it just seems like you're paying ~$8/month to see movies you can see on AMC and TNT and roll the dice on a TV show (Wandavision, etc.).

When I turn my old Apple TV unit on, I see all those squares of various outlets/networks. But to really partake, you have to enter in your cable credentials...which misses the whole point. If I have my cable credentials, why am I going through the hassle of viewing it through Apple TV, just so I can watch on-demand reruns of spitball CBS shows that I don't watch to begin with?

TV is just a big convoluted mess these days. Maybe it'll shake out in the years to come, but I'm probably not going to bet on that.
Tweeting @kierankelly
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
2021-07-22, 12:21

Funny that you bring this up. My wife and I were just talking about this the other day.

We were discussing a new smart TV with all of the apps and I remembered that quote from SJ.

I don't think this is what he intended at all.

The very first version of the TV app was set up to be almost like a TV guide but it seems like they built it before they got buy in from all of the content providers. It's getting closer to that stage now, but I still don't think we'll ever really know, until someone writes a tell all book in 20 years.
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