It's interesting that instead of bothering with making a Media Center competitor, Apple is just selling TV shows online for $1.99 and making a slick commission! They're pretty smart. :)
What we have to take into consideration for the home is the following products/services/features Apple currently offers/has:
- Airport Express
- iTunes Network Sharing
In other words:
- Airport Express — Soon to be updated with video support, possibly hi-def, bringing the “media center”-like system to my TV with the same, Front Row remote control that I can carry around the house.
- iTunes Network Sharing — My Mac downstairs in the kitchen can watch content that I've received upstairs from the iTunes Music Store.
So who would pay $1.99 a show? Let's take my situation as an example. I like to watch about 5 to 7 shows a week. That means I'd pay around $14 to own that show, without commercials. $14 x 4 weeks in a month (average) = $56. How much do we pay for cable, with commercials? It tends to vary, but the difference is fairly slim for most with DVRs, Hi-Def digital boxes, and “Third-Tier Digital Platinum Plus” add-ons and the like. If Apple added a hi-def tuner option via Firewire 800, or even built into their Airport Express? Well, maybe not.
I feel that obviously the iTunes system won't replace the television right away, but as more and more people are dropping their cable/satellite systems for online offerings through BitTorrent trackers and local MythTV systems, it'll be interesting to see what kind of marketshare Apple can conquer in the TV market as their library of shows expands.
UPDATE: “Apple: iTunes Video Sales Top 1 Million” [in first 20 days] — Link
What's next for Apple? Buy a movie “ticket” online, and watch it at home in your own “theater”? Hmmm…. :)