Speaking of TV … In what’s being seen as a very strategic maneuver, HBO has re-upped it’s contract with Universal to ensure it maintains exclusive access to the content – through 2022!
So what does this likely mean for us, the consumer? I’d say more of the same. No way to access HBO beyond extending your MSO relationship. Our household isn’t quite ready to cut the cord, though we certainly find plenty “over the top.”
I suppose things would be radically different if we didn’t have to authenticate first on things like the XBox where Cablevision has yet to cut a deal. We can connect the ESPN application which is quite solid, but there’s no way to add in additional content really beyond the usual sources like Netflix etc and that’s not replacing even the moderately poor TV the family enjoys. Without being able to watch Bravo, I’m never convincing the wife there are alternatives.
As you may have read already today, Microsoft intends to launch retail stores which strikes me as a serious challenge. Unlike Apple which has had great success with their retail strategy, Microsoft relies far too much on their external ecosystem to tell their whole story.
Microsoft has a solid story around connected entertainment with Xbox, Zune and MCE and Apple still regards this area as a hobby with AppleTV. This is a small piece of what they will most likely (my guess) be looking to sell though and I wonder how highlighted OEM partners will be selected to display on the PC side. Given the existing channels in which Microsoft products are sold, Iâ€™m wondering whether a store in a store concept might not actually be a better play here.
Microsoft will definitely have a lot to contend with on the consumer experience side as their system is still quite a bit more complex to setup and manage. It should be an interesting year for retail â€¦. Apple is apparently also retooling their stores to offer more a differentiated experience via the Mac solution.