Apple TV, Netflix, pornography and you

Legions of Apple fans got their fix for news about Apple products last Wednesday when Apple announced a few new products — or at least new updates of old products.

Of particular note was the revamp of Apple TV. Now priced at $99 (in the States, at least; expect Canadian prices to be higher) this tiny box can stream content from any media device in your home straight to your TV set.

The big problem, though? No storage. Nothing. So what makes this product any better than say, Windows Media Center, or using an Xbox 360 to stream content to your TV?

The big selling point for Apple TV is Netflix connectivity. For $5.99 for first-run movies, $4 for other titles in the catalogue, and 99 cents for individual TV shows, any Netflix content your cinemaphile heart desires is yours… but strictly on a rental basis; remember that whole “no storage” thing?

While I don’t particularly see this product being that much of a game changer, especially when you can stream Netflix content to your PC without the $99 box, I do see it having an effect on one thing: digital cable’s video on demand service.

Companies like Shaw in Canada offer video on demand service through their digital cable systems. For about the same price as Netflix, you get your movie for 24 hours, but your options are generally first-run movies, or a few hundred made in the last five years or so, and it’s a fairly scattershot mix.

A few hundred seems like a lot, but compare that to Netflix —over 100,000 titles, with more being added all the time. Digital cable simply can’t compete. As long as the prices of video on demand remain at current levels, it’s hard to imagine consumers sticking with Shaw as their video rental source instead of the mammoth selection of Netflix.

But there is one thing that video on demand offers that Netflix and Apple TV don’t, and most likely, won’t: pornography. Video on demand, for anywhere from $10–20 per film, will give you uncensored adult content. Netflix doesn’t; and even if it did, I doubt the ever-prudish Steve Jobs would allow such filth on his products. After all, apps have been taken off the iTunes store in the past for adult content, and Jobs personally believes that the “freedom” his company offers includes freedom from pornography. Then again, considering how the Internet is still far and away the number one source of adult content today, the lack of porn on Apple TV might not be a major tipping point either way.

Are any of you Techvibes readers planning on buying Apple TV when it comes to Canada? Why or why not?