One of the first streaming boxes may finally become the one box to rule them all. Today, news outlets across the internet are reporting that Amazon Video may finally come to the AppleTV, which would make it the only device capable of working with both iTunes and Amazon. Currently no device does this. If Apple does pull this off, it becomes, in my opinion, the ultimate streaming box.
Apple and Amazon have been involved in a video feud for years. Apple’s strict licensing rules mean that if Amazon wants to rent video from within its app, it would have to give a percentage to Apple. This didn’t fly with Amazon execs, so they simply didn’t develop an Amazon video app for AppleTV. And, having held back the app, they were free to use their own rules to keep AppleTV boxes off Amazon.
It seems like the two companies may be finally done acting like children and that some compromise has been reached that will allow the Amazon app to appear on fourth-generation AppleTVs. No details yet on what that may entail, but it’s good news especially if it comes sooner than later. Like many people, I use an AppleTV box for almost all my video consumption and switch over to a cheap alternative for Amazon Video.
Even better, there seems to also be some movement toward getting the Vudu app on AppleTV. While I’m not a fan of Vudu, a lot of physical discs have come with digital copies that are only accessible through Vudu, Flixster, or other UltraViolet-connected apps. I buy my movies digitally like most of you now, but I still have a large library of digital copies that don’t work on my AppleTV.
Clearly AppleTV has some hurdles ahead of it. It is priced too high compared with similarly capable boxes from other manufacturers and does not support 4K, which is a continually growing concern. However, if you look down the road, it could very soon become a killer box. Here’s one device that would let you access the following:
- iTunes Home Streaming
- iTunes video rentals and purchases
- Sling TV
- DIRECTV NOW
- HBO GO/HBO NOW
- all ABC/Disney/ESPN apps
- Most other provider apps
- Over-the-air television
What was that last one? That’s right, the AppleTV even lets you watch live TV from an antenna. Of course it’s a more expensive solution, requiring a transcoder like the HDHomeRun and an app like Channels. Still, it is possible and I think over-the-air TV is a must-have part of any cord-cutting lineup. This capability is already available for AppleTV or using DISH’s AirTV product but for me the absolute best experience will be when I can integrate my antenna with live streaming services, the top three subscription services, and the top three rental services.
It looks like we finally might get there, and soon. I can’t wait… I’m tired of changing inputs just to watch the stuff I want. Aren’t you?