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What do you see?

If you don't own one of these, you see a black box with a silver remote.  You see an Apple logo and the letters 'tv' next to it.   It's obviously not a TV and so it's too silly to consider any further.

If you do own one of these, you know it's a box you hook up to a modern TV for $99.  Inside that box is a digital movie/TV rental store.  Popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, and YouTube.  Even access to your music, movies, and photos.

Do you know what someone like me sees?

Distribution

Huh, you ask?  Well you to understand that  'people like me' refers to digital content creators.  Filmmaker types.   You must also understand that we couldn't distribute any film without the permission of studios, theater chains, TV networks -- a fleet of middle men controlling the content you see at enormous profits.  In two words:  organized crime.

The music industry used to make music distribution as impossible.  Then iTunes came along and not only made it easy for any musician to release their music to 'stores' and 'radio' --  but they could do so without anyone's permission but the artist.  My young friend Bridgette is doing just this with her amazing little experiment called HAUNTED SUMMER.  In a very short period of time iTunes closed almost all retail record stores and recently allowed you to broadcast your own radio station.

Know an amateur novelist?  They no longer have to dream about pleasing a publisher and accepting a stale donut as compensation.  Thanks to Amazon and iBooks, they can publish at will.  At desirable profit percentages.

Movies are in the process of making this same transition.  From greedy middle-men to you the consumer.
I have a friend who completed a quality feature film on a subject most studios wouldn't touch with a ten foot box of over-priced corn.  A story about two teenage girls that lose their mother to illness and their Dad to... bisexuality.  (You don't see Robert Downey Jr. suiting up in an iron three piece suit for that one, do you?)  One of these days I hope my friend will by-pass industry dinosaur distribution and release her film directly to you.

But there's a catch:  you have to have robust Wi-Fi in your home and you must have a device like the Apple TV.

We can't reach you if you can't be reached.  Thankfully many smart TVs are shipping with such resources built directly into the sets.  Many of us do not have these modern sets (Hello!)  and that's where Apple TV, Roku, and other devices kick in.

The late great but cranky Steve Jobs introduced Apple TV as a 'hobby'.  Meaning he didn't care how many -- or few -- of these silly little boxes were sold.  What he was doing was waiting for the film and TV industry to catch up to him so that -- when ready -- he'd have a tested device already in the pipeline. 

Over the years millions have been sold.  This article indicates that the Apple TV is the number one selling device in this category and sales are increasing rapidly.   One reason why is that any content you can view on your Apple laptop can be streamed wirelessly to this device for home flat screen viewing goodness.  This combination of features is why the silly little box is particularly popular among people unplugging from pricy cable TV. 

This is more than a hobby.  It's a Trojan Hobby Horse.  It will free people like me to say what we are passionate about and free people like you to choose content other than Lone Ranger remakes.

Get excited.
Len Massaar
7/17/2013 17:03:35

I'm excited too, and have been for a while. But until something major happens, all I really have at home is a $99 window into the iTunes Store.

I can do Hulu and Netflix and Amazon through my TiVo. Or through my Blu-ray player.

I would gladly pay a fee for tv cable channel access. But that ain't gonna happen unfortunately. It could. And should. And hopefully one day, it will. But not for a while.

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