Apple has always called their home media center, Apple TV, a hobby. Although it has had 1 major hardware revision, the overall software has remained the same. There have been numerous enhancements, such as the addition of YouTube, Netflix, MLB/NBATV, etc. One thing has always been left missing – and it starts with the letter Q.
Netflix’s major advantage over Apple ISN’T its wide variety, instant streaming on any device, nor $18 price point to get 1 BluRay and unlimited streaming. It’s the Queue. It is the one thing that Netflix does better than anyone else; allows you to easily and seamlessly manage your list of countless waiting films.
Until recently, Apple didn’t even have a real queueing system for its music, movies, or apps. Just last year Apple finally implemented the “Wish List”, which is not only difficult to navigate but sometimes impossible to find! Even when I do add media that I’d like to purchase, I can’t add future releases or items that aren’t available yet. This is where Netflix has the upper hand – not only in its more appealing user interface, but with its ability to add unreleased or unavailable titles to your watch list.
Now I know Apple TV isn’t cheap – $99 to start, $4.99 per movie rental, $2.99 per TV show purchase. When you do the math though, you would have to watch 23 movies in your first year to equal 1 year of Netflix. Your second year of ownership that nearly doubles. I still think Netflix offers the better value of saving what you want on demand for later.
If you take things one step further and factor in Cable prices of $80 or more per month, you would be able to watch over 320 HD episodes of your favorite TV shows for the same price. You even get deeper discounts if you subscribe to season passes, or purchase SD content. For the couch potato the math doesn’t work, but for viewers like me that have weekly favorites (CSI, House, The Soup, Family Guy, and Top Gear) Apple TV can become the better value in the long run. This could further eliminate the concept of DVRs, as you would pay for your episode and your content would be available indefinitely. Sure services like TiVo would suffer, but let’s be honest their overpriced DVR hasn’t been intuitive since the early 2000s.
Unfortunately none of this is possible without a useful queue. If Google can read my mind as I type into their search engine and Netflix can guess which movies I want to see, I think Apple is more than capable of bringing the Queue to the next level.