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How Apple May Revolutionize The Way Soccer Fans Experience TV

CUPERTINO, CA - JULY 16:  Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer Inc., speaks during a press conference regarding the Apple iPhone 4 reception problems at the Apple headquarters July 16, 2010 in Cupertino, California. Jobs announced that Apple will provide customers with cases at no additional cost to help solve the reception problems and refund customers who have already bought the apple bumpers until September 30, 2010. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

On September 1, Apple will hold an event for the media where they’re rumored to relaunch their Apple TV product as Apple iTV (or a similar name). While much of the tech world will be waiting in anticipation to find out if the rumor is true, the ramifications for soccer fans could be massive.

If Apple’s iTV product is as much of a game changer as the iPad and iPhone products are, don’t be surprised if the relaunched device could revolutionize TV as we know it.

For soccer fans in the United States who want to their soccer, there’s a middle man. The middle man goes by many different names. Sometimes he is Comcast Cable. But he always goes by names such as Verizon FiOS, Time Warner, DISH Network, DirecTV and so on. Many soccer fans in the States would love to get Fox Soccer Channel in HD or Fox Soccer Plus. But most of us cannot unless we want to do business with a different middle man. Goodbye Mr. Comcast. Hello Mr. DirecTV. However, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes many of us are bound by contracts or are unable to do a deal with Mr. DirecTV because of the type of buildings we live in, etc. And in some cases, the middle man has a monopoly. It’s either them or your satellite company.

With Apple iTV, everything could change. If the Apple iTV platform develops apps that can be downloaded on to that device and then played on our television screens, it’s a game changer. No longer would we have to go through a middle man. Fox Soccer Plus could create an app which would be available to everyone in the United States for a nominal fee. Fox Soccer Channel in HD would be available, too. Goodbye middle man. Consumers could pick and choose which TV apps they would want. HBO, yes. Showtime, yes. PBS, check. And so on and so forth.

The advantage of this type of model is that it puts the consumer in direct contact with the content provider and also allows the customer to only purchase TV apps for the networks or programs he or she chooses to watch. Right now, our cable and satellite systems have hundreds of channels. But if you’re like me, I only watch six or seven on a regular basis. The others just take up space and become an annoyance as I have to skip past them to find what I want.

There is still much work to be done before we get to our dream situation where the middle man goes away. For many of us, the middle man will continue to be our ISP and they’re likely to fight with all of their might to keep our business. But just as iTunes changed the music industry, and the iPhone finally brought the mobile web and apps into the mainstream, Apple iTV is set to revolutionize the way we think about video content. Hot on its heels is Google who are planning a late 2010 launch of their Google TV product. But if Apple can announce their relaunched product on September 1, they’ll definitely have a head-start and will be able to ride the momentum of their successful iPhone 4 and iPad launches. Soccer fans should pay attention to what happens.

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45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. jmansor

    March 17, 2011 at 8:57 am

    WIth NBA and MLB widgets on the Apple TV, how long until Fox Soccer get on? I think this would be a great thing. I would run out and get an Apple TV in a heartbeat.

    • The Gaffer

      March 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

      John, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens in the near future. The way I envision FoxSoccer.tv is that it could follow the Netflix model and be added to as many devices as possible to encourage people to subscribe.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • CTBlues

      March 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

      You have been able to use those services on Roku and Boxee for a while now.

      • The Gaffer

        March 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

        But FoxSoccer.tv is not on Roku or Boxee…

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

  2. Yespage

    August 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Revolutionize what now? What will truly revolutionize digital media is widespread 4g availability. With the ability to download at speeds up to 6 Mbps, users will be able to watch any feed of whatever any league wants to offer online, from anywhere a 4g signal is available on either a computer or laptop, which can be used on its own or fed to a television.

    That is the revolution. Not whether Apple will release something that can do something that my laptop already can, for half as much.

  3. Kyle

    August 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    All these advances sound all well and good for Apple and those who are into having the latest new thing. I don’t know if it is me getting older but I just wish some people would leave well enough alone.

  4. Don

    August 26, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Hooking up the computer to the TV is a bit of a pain unless you have it consantly connected.

    FSC.TV on Roku would be very very easy.

    Can someone make this happen already.

    • patrick

      August 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Don if you have wireless in the house, most newish PCs, even desktops, come with wireless. Thus you are always connected. I have a mac mini connected via HDMI and use it as an entertainment hub, my music, my photos, my movies, my tv shows, and use it as a DVR and DVD player. I don’t have a keyboard or mouse, simply connect via the every easy screen sharing. It really couldn’t be easier.

  5. patrick

    August 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Apple is smart, yes. But they are also very very greedy. Sure there will be apps like the iPad ABC app which is free and allows you to watch ABC programming for free like a VOD box. But besides the MLB video app, there is hardly any live programming. At least none that is legal. Veetle has been a godsend to soccer fans, but for the first time ever games have been pulled over rights claims this year.
    Apple will again create a canvas for companies to develop apps for, but they will also focus on selling content via the iTunes store. And will fight apps that weaken that model. And lets be honest the PL will be so slow to adapt to a digital model that it will be left to the TV providers (FSC, SKY, ITV etc) to develop these apps. Which I can’t see as they won’t want to screw with their live over TV model.

    Will the iTv will change the way we watch TV? maybe a bit, but more to the end of having a hub for our digital content. And still won’t have the freedom as attaching a mac mini to your tv where you can play almost any streamed content or file type. I have the newest mac mini attached to a 50″ Samsung, and with the new DVI output, I’d say 50% of what I watch is via the mini. The rest off FiOS is split between news and free VOD. I pay about 125 bucks for TV and internet. With this set up I can stream ESPN3 and Foxsoccer.tv direct to my tv already, and if its not on one of these stations watch other streams, which have gotten better.

    • The Gaffer

      August 26, 2010 at 10:36 am

      Good points Patrick. But TV companies would love to have a direct relationship with the customer (where they can generate more revenue) rather than cutting a deal with the TV provider.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • patrick

        August 26, 2010 at 11:05 am

        No doubt. As a FiOS client I still lack FSC in HD. Would I pay 25 bucks for a HD FSC app? hell yes.

        Which raises the bigger question, with ad revenue dropping and TV content suppliers asking more and more for its product to make up for this shortfall. The positives for us the consumer is competition. We could walk away from bloated TV line ups as you stated. But the question is will the big networks provide live content or just be willing to offer up its programming as they do now via the iTunes store.

        • The Gaffer

          August 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

          It would be live content all the way, as well as content available on demand. The best of both worlds.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

  6. Jeff

    August 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for this article. I hadn’t thought about any of this from a soccer fan point of view. What I’m worried about is that Internet providers will start doing away with unlimited bandwidth and start charging you for your usage. That would really stink. Check out this link that discusses this very issue.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-itv-metered-broadband-2010-8

  7. CTBlues

    August 26, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I don’t see this happening because the cable providers wont let it happen. They will cry that they can’t compete with it and it will get shut down by the FCC. Also if they charge as much a month for a channel like they do for HBO or Showtime you would get 8 channels for $120 a month. I guarantee if this got popular and people started to cancel the TV parts of there cable packages the providers would do 1 or 2 things: 1) make the TV part required to use the internet TV services and 2) raise internet costs.

    Gaffer I think your article is a pie in the sky dream, but I would love to eat my words and be wrong.

    • patrick

      August 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      They can cry all they want, the FCC doesn’t regulate video content on the internet.

  8. Heisenberg

    August 26, 2010 at 8:36 am

    How is this different than Foxsoccer.tv? Is it just because the apple product can connect to your TV? I have a Western Digital TV Live that has usb, ethernet and hdmi to the TV yet it doesn’t enable me to watch any more soccer than I can on DirecTV.

    What we need is an open format that services like foxsoccer.tv can use to produce a feed that can be picked up by the apple product, by the western digital product, and maybe even by the XBMC or XBOX360/PS3 to give us a way to watch these matches on our TVs.

    • Phenoum

      August 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Pretty much. Apple have created a ridiculous cult following via their marketing. They constantly lie outright in their ads and everyone believes them. Seems the Gaffer is taken with them too.

      Apple has a loooong history of using last-years (or three yr old) features and tech in their “new” products, and justifying it by saying “we did it better”. They hold back on obvious and inexpensive features so that next year, the can release it as a “game changer”, ect (case in point: iPad has no camera. Really Apple?)

      But the public loves them – like sheep following blindly…

      All that said – No, i dont think this will change the way we consume Soccer in the US. Not at all – the things you mention here are pipe dreams. Maybe we’ll get access to games a week later like all the networks do with their online show feeds (HULU, ect) but who the heck can avoid a result for a week?

      oh, and BTW gaffer – it wont REALLY be HD – only 720P. Again – because Apple wants something “magical” for their iTV update next year…

      • The Gaffer

        August 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

        Phenoum, whether it’s Apple or Google or another company, the reality is that the market (and technology) is headed in the direction of cutting out the middle men. Comcast, as one example, has more than 23 million subscribers nationwide. None of those subscribers can get Fox Soccer Plus or Fox Soccer Channel in HD. Why should we as consumers be “punished” for not being able to get FS+ and FSCHD simply because we’re a Comcast customer?

        Fox would love to give us access to their content and it would mean more subscribers and more revenue. But many of us are now stuck with a primitive system where the power is with TV providers such as Comcast. I could move to DirecTV, but I’ve been with them before and I haven’t been satisfied with their customer service (plus I have other issues with them such as all of the massive thunderstorms I get in Florida that disrupt the satellite transmissions all the time).

        I’m not married to Apple, but if they’ll be one of the first companies to bring this technology to the mainstream, I’m all ears. Yes, there are other companies with similar technology, but the winner in this space will be the one to put the bets on. And right now, I’m betting on Apple to do well (if they will launch Apple iTV as expected).

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Phenoum

          August 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

          Well we’d like that to be the direction that things are going – but it’s going to be really hard to push the cable/satellite ppl out of the way. Did you see the news on how Netflix has a 28 day delay on renting out DVD releases? that’s called the big guns pushing back. Do yo usee the ridiculous greedy health insurance companies running ads and lining washington’s pockets with $ to avoid the “public healthcare” issues that the US needs?

          When big companies stand to lose $, they scratch, claw, sue until they’re blue in the face. I for one do not expect to see this “revolution” you speak of. I follow tech news by the hour, and dont see this happening for quite a while, if ever. Apple was built as a “little-guy” company to compete with Microsoft. Heck – Microsoft even loaned them money less than 15 years ago to stay afloat. They’ve grown immensely, but still have the “little-guy” a$$holeness about them. They own the mindshare right now, but are digging themselves a hole on a daily basis with how they treat developers. Bet on what you want, ignore making android / WebOS apps for the site, and enjoy getting lost in the masses and losing subscribers that see your fanboyism and cant acces you content on their phones.

          Here’s an idea i’d actually want your feedback on:
          ALL of the smartphone companies out there use a webkit-based browser. If you develop a mobile site for webkit browsers you avoid the hassle of the App submission crap, and reach ANYONE with a smartphone. Why lock us non-apple people out when you can appease EVERYONE with something that is actually simpler for you?

          • The Gaffer

            August 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

            Phenoum, I never said it would be easy which is why I titled “How Apple *May* Revolutionize The Way Soccer Fans Experience TV.” Yes, Microsoft bailed Apple out in the past. But now Apple’s market cap is bigger than Microsoft.

            I’m not ignoring making Android/Web OS apps for my site. My developer has an Android app on his to-do list, but it won’t be until later this year. As for Web OS, I realize there are a lot of people who love that OS, but I don’t believe it’s going to be around in the near future.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • Phenoum

            August 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

            Wow, just Wow. I’m looking forward to rubbing that ignorant comment about webOS in your face in a few years. That is – if the comment you just made doesnt drive me to find another site.

            No comment on the webkit-friendly mobile site I see. That would be too easy no?

            • The Gaffer

              August 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

              Phenoum, it’s just an opinion. I could be totally wrong about WebOS. But I wasn’t impressed by HP’s acquisition of them. But maybe they see something there that I don’t. I don’t think it’s a reason why you should find another site. I’m just expressing what I think.

              As for a mobile version of the site, I’ve been testing it out and it’s on our list. But I would need to defer to my developer on that question. I’m a techy as well as a soccer fan, but you and him would probably have a much better conversation 🙂

              Cheers,
              The Gaffer

          • CTBlues

            March 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

            Gaffer,

            I guess you have to eat some of your words. HP bought Palm and is releasing a new phone in April, the Pre3 and a 10″ tablet in June, a 7″ tablet in September, and is going to release WebOS on all PCs and printers at the end of the year. Also look at what Apple did they added a back and front camera on the iPad2, so much for just bring a content device.

            I can’t wait for June so I can get the Pre3 and stop using this iPhone. Hopfully it isn’t exclusive to any provider.

          • Jason

            October 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm

            Looks like Gaffer was correct after all. Big mistake by HP.

            http://finance.boston.com/boston/news/read?GUID=19824516

      • David

        August 26, 2010 at 11:26 am

        Why would you need a camera on the iPad?

        720P is HD in case you didn’t know.

        • Phenoum

          August 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

          A: i dunno – ask the 1000’s of people that have to pull out a laptop to use skype…

          B: tell that to a person watching 1080P on a 46 inch screen…

          • The Gaffer

            August 26, 2010 at 11:32 am

            The iPad was not meant to be a phone or a camera. It’s a content consumption device.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • Phenoum

            August 26, 2010 at 11:54 am

            Look at you SHEEP! now you’re defending apple for not including a camera for webchat on the iPAd on ground that it’s a “content consumption device??? ROFLMAO this is getting good. ANY story written about the iPad at release mentioned that Apple let everyone down with not including a webcam on that device.

            Think about the comment you just made man. That’s like me telling you that “your iPhone was not meant to be a computer or camera, It’s a telephone device” (something it fails at quite often I might add) not

            • The Gaffer

              August 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

              I’ve had an iPad for a couple of months and never once have I had a need to use a camera for it.

              Cheers,
              The Gaffer

              • Phenoum

                August 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm

                Great 🙂 glad it has met your needs.

                I would have a need for it to stay in touch with my parents and sister who live across the country / Canada and really enjoy chatting with my nephew on Skype. My parents would enjoy having an iPad to use to skype with their grandchildren. The Grandchildren would easily get to the point of being able to call their grandparents on skype by themselves!

                Just wait for the next iPad iteration – they’ll convince you of why you need a webcam – i promise 🙂

                Anyhow – you can tell that i’m quite passionate about these topics. Time to do some work on my Thesis research… lol. Have a great day.

                PS…
                ARSENAAAAAAL!!!!! 😀

          • David

            August 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm

            There aren’t any channels on cable/satellite broadcast in 1080P. The only exception are a few movies on pay per view which are 1080P. Most sports content is 720p because of the smoother image compared to 1080i.

      • Sarcastro

        August 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

        The only people more tedious than Apple fanboys are Apple haters. Just use what gets the job done for chrisake.

    • Peel yourself off the couch

      August 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      means nothing to me i go to the games i suggest u all try it or if your too far away then support your local team u glory hunting sell outs..

      • The Gaffer

        August 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        That’s not fair mate. Many of us don’t have a local team to support. Or if we do, as in my case with Miami FC, they only play at home on an average of once every 3 weeks. Hardly a way to fulfill my soccer fix.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Football's not a matter of life and death ... it's more important than that

          August 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

          but your from wales do you not support a team from wales? watching man city home and away in div 2 was hardly fulfilling my football needs but thats called being loyal now i feel like most city fans do we are being rewarded i dont expect u to do that for miami because your an immigrant and u probably couldnt care less but i catch your drift.

          • The Gaffer

            August 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

            I’m from Wales. I’ve supported Swansea City all my life. If I still lived in the UK, I would go watch the Swans play each weekend.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • Phenoum

            August 26, 2010 at 3:17 pm

            Oh! you’re a Man city supporter? ROFLMAO nevermind the comment below – go back to swimming in all that money that cant buy you a champions league spot…

      • Phenoum

        August 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

        ????
        I live in Arkansas, US – I have no local team you tool.
        Who are you to tell me I can’t join up with my fellow Arsenal fans in the area and enjoy some of the best football in the world?
        And yes – i’d love to go to a game. if you have $2000 burning a hole in your pocket i’ll take it, thx 🙂

        • Football's not a matter of life and death ... it's more important than that

          August 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

          are u honestly trying to tell me that arsenal are the next closest team to where u live? your the tool my friend.. u still not supporting an mls team(like a predictable glory hunter) are you? no local team? then its not for u go and play tennis or something and these fans? contribute anything to arsenal do they? from london are they ? they are just like u ..plastic wannabes you are an insult to real supporters like myself ive had a season ticket for the last 16yrs im 23 dont compare yourself to us.We have been there and done it…u sat at home and admired..we sang in the rain …u watched online

          • BBC

            August 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

            Do the players you cheer for need to be local as well? You getting yourself all soused and rained on is what makes the viewing experience from my couch all the better. Keep up the good work. . . and buy some shirts that actually fit. It’s disgusting.

          • Phenoum

            August 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

            Ok, from the top: Grew up in Northern Canada (http://goo.gl/maps/eVXa). The closest team to me there is Toronto FC. According to Google maps that’s a 1 Day, 14 hour drive. You’re a bloody idiot.

            “we sang in the rain”
            oh yeah? I woke up at 6am on Saturdays and threw logs in the stove when it was -55C outside. I’d have paid to be in your shoes – any time…

            Follow the MLS? HAH! It’s becoming a bit better, but i still cant seriously sit down to watch a game – poor quality and slow. If i’m in one of the few cities where there is a team I might support them, after Arsenal… Who knows

            Started following Arsenal FC on my pitiful little TV when I was 14. My car has a massive Arsenal FC banner on the back of it. I buy an official jersey every year or two, and subscribe to Arsenal TV online. Tennis – WTF does that have to do with anything?

            So you’re e-Dick is longer because you’re lucky enough to live close and have season tickets. “You’re a better Arsenal fan than me.” There, I said it, – is that what you wanted to hear? you ignorant cack.

            Your comment makes me a bit embarrassed for Arsenal. Our club is lucky enough to have a worldwide passionate following and you come in here swinging your ego around? You’re a disgrace to the club, straight and simple.

            PS – I agree with BBC, get a shirt that’s big enough for your beer-gut!

        • shoe shine

          August 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm

          broke ass mutha f**ka

      • Heisenberg

        August 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm

        I’d LOVE to goto the game, but I’m on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Second option is to support a local team, problem is that there are none and I live in Atlanta, not exactly a small town. Sure there are the Silverbacks but that’s not worth the nearly 2 hour drive in traffic to go see. The only soccer I can get is Kennesaw State’s womens soccer at the new Kennesaw Stadium.

  9. Luis Suarez

    August 26, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Where is the Defoe cheat article like you made one for Luis Suarez and Eduardo?

    • Peter

      August 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

      1: Their were 5 officials on the pitch, 2 of which had a perfect angle of the handball: the referee and one of the new assistant’s assistants (or whatever the f**k they are).

      2: Defoe himself stopped before celebrating to see if he had got away with it, when he saw that he had, he wheeled away in celebration.

      What more do the governing bodies have to do before they get it right.

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