There’s a new Apple TV coming, and, as Atrios points out, the tech press is wrapped up in whether Apple will “kill” the competition, without wondering how cable companies are going to react. Comcast already has a cap, and Time-Warner is flirting with different usage billing strategies. If Apple TV causes more people to switch from cable to the Internet as the pipe for their entertainment, I expect we’ll hear more about bandwidth “hogs” even though Internet bandwidth is getting cheaper every year. For the cable ISP monopolies, you’re only a “hog” when you use your bandwidth to watch TV.
As usual with the tech press, Apple gets a lot of attention, but an excellent new Apple TV (the current little box is by all accounts mediocre) will only accelerate the inevitable. I bought a Roku on impulse a couple of months ago, for something like $50. Like Apple TV, it’s a tiny little box that lets you stream different services, mostly Netflix, on your TV. Since then, there’s been very little traditional TV watching in my household. We already had Netflix, but the Roku Netflix app is just a little better that the Wii we were using, plus it’s hi def. Since we don’t watch a lot of sports, our TV service is now vestigial, and we’ll probably trash it soon. I can’t believe that the cable company will take that loss of $70/month in recurring revenue lying down, so I’m expecting to be labeled a hog in the near future.