Tim Cook revealed the future of TV

Tim Cook thinks the TV experience is broken, and that Apple is the company that will fix it.

At the WSJD conference on Monday evening, the Apple CEO not only outlined everything that’s wrong with TV today, but also said that he’s “never been so confident that” the new Apple TV, which comes out later this month, “is the foundation of the future of TV.”

In a conversation with Gerard Baker, the Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief, Cook said that “it’s almost as if you step in a time capsule when you go in your living room and your turn on the TV.”

Here’s everything Cook says is wrong with TV, according to a video of the discussion at WSJD Live:

  • Consumers can’t choose when to watch something: “The TV makes the decision about what time to watch” a program.
  • If you miss a show, and you didn’t DVR it in advance, you’re out of luck. However, with increasing on-demand options, Cook is stretching this point a bit: “If I come to work the next day and hear something that happened last night that I didn’t see — if I haven’t recorded it, maybe I can find it somewhere on the web, maybe I can’t. This is kind of a crazy thing.”
  • There are hundreds of channels, but it’s difficult to find what you actually want to watch: There are “700 channels… but you can’t find anything to watch.” … “If you just sit down and you say I’m interested in a comedy tonight, what do you do? You start scanning through this age-old guide that was developed in the 80s or so and hasn’t really changed that much.”
  • The programming is good, but the experience is awful. Watching TV should be easy and interactive, like using an iPhone: “The user experience is in another decade [compared to] the way you live on your iPhone or your iPad or your Mac.” … “What has to happen in the TV land it has to be brought up and modernised.”

Cook said during the event that Apple’s new TV would serve as a “foundation” for something bigger.

“The first thing that has to be done when you buy a house is lay the foundation,” he said.

AppleTVLisa EadiciccoThe new Apple TV.

Cook’s comments about the “broken” TV experience and about the Apple TV serving as a “foundation”are especially interesting given the reports that Apple is working on a live streaming TV service. According to a report earlier this year in The Journal, Apple is building an internet-delivered TV service that will have fewer channels and cost less than a typical cable package.

It’s easy to see how a service of this type would fit perfectly with Apple’s new streaming box, which has an app store, is powered by Siri, and has universal search.

You could, perhaps, say “I’d like to watch the latest episode of ‘Empire,'” and see all of the different places you could watch it. You could also ask Siri to record or find certain programs, not worrying about what network they’re on. During WSJDLive Cook also asked why channels even exist. It sounds like search and a recommendation engine will be key parts to the new Apple TV experience.

Check out Cook’s comments on the future of TV:

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