Apple TV, Apps and the war of the Living Room

The "war of the living room" went up to Defcon 3 last week when Apple released TVOS, a suite of API's  for the 4th generation Apple TV developer environment. "What does this mean" I hear you ask? In simple terms, you can have your App on the the most prime piece of real-estate know to man - the living room TV. This is a huge opportunity for Podcasters, digital marketers and video content creators.

Up to this point the Apple TV platform has been a walled garden, only available to American sporting codes (NHL, NBA) and large streaming providers (Netflix, Hulu). In Australia, Stan has also appeared recently. In contrast, competitor streaming devices such as the Roku (only available in USA, UK and Canada) have grown in popularity because of their open platform and public SDK. Roku has hundreds of channels ranging from GoPro, Lifestyle to Dropbox.

The traditional challenge with the TV as a consumption device has not gone away. Developers will still have to deal with the frustration of human interface limitations. Having a tiny remote to navigate around the app has also been an issue. Apple has partly solved this problem by adding a microphone in the new remote which allows you to send commands to Siri. However, at this early stage Siri will only work with core requests such as "Hey Siri, show me the latest comedy movies". Over the past week gun IOS developers are posting videos and blogging about the challenges of building an app that doest have the same swipe, pinch and touch interactivity as the iPhone.

The new Apple TV will be the game changer we've been waiting for. It will be the device of choice for traditional free-to-air broadcasters to jump over to. It will provide a platform for every niche content creator from 'Jim's home plumbing tutorials' to 'Fiona's spirit world of fortune telling'. Gaming apps will also be available on the platform, but it will be the abundance of video content on the big screen that will match mobile video as the next big consumption market.