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The Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor – celebrate Google’s gift to StreamTV. ChromeCast is cheap, small, simple, and extensible, just in time to kickoff the run up to Apple’s big move to the Big Screen. It’s a win-win for everybody involved, except maybe Microsoft and its XBox offering. Suddenly 3 screens and the cloud has shrunk to 2, or maybe 1.

It’s no cakewalk for Google, who must navigate and resolve desktop and mobile OSes and native hardware only seen briefly held to the ear of Eric Schmidt. But Chromecast altering the landscape, making the new Nexus 7 into a peripheral controller for the TV rather than the other way around, will shake up Hollywood’s world view just as Netflix is reprogramming our kids’ attention from channels to apps.

@stevegillmor, @scobleizer, @kevinmarks, @kteare

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

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Time Warner Cable on Apple TV

As we’ve heard for the past month, Apple and Time Warner Cable are close to inking a deal that would bring a TWC app to the Apple TV’s homescreen – for the first time bringing live TV broadcasts to the device. But some recent reports are bringing things into sharper focus, giving us some more insight into what the future of Apple’s service is going to look like. Earlier this week, the New York Times wrote that the app would allow “some of the company’s 12 million subscribers to watch live and on-demand shows without a separate set-top box.” Friday, Bloomberg adds that “while the deal would add a Time Warner app, that just means viewers won’t have to switch from Apple TV back to their cable box: They’d still need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable and wait around for a technician to install it.” The TWC app would likely be based on its existing iPhone and iPad software.

Read the full story at The Verge.

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Nice timing: On the same day that Apple upgraded Apple TV by adding more content to its Web TV box, Google upgrades Chromecast, its Apple TV competitor – by making it more appealing to Apple users.

The upgrade comes via a new iOS app, which is something Google had previously promised. There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but the app will make it easier for people to use Chromecast with iPhones and iPads as their primary controllers.

The big picture here is that Apple TV is, for better and worse, firmly part of the Apple ecosystem – it’s designed to be used in conjunction with Apple’s iTunes content, with other iOS devices, and Apple has tightly controlled the number of third-party apps on the box.

But Google has said from the get-go that its $35 dongle would work with all kinds of hardware, and today’s news just underscores that idea.

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Eric Kessler has worked at HBO for more than two decades in various capacities, overseeing everything from program licensing to digital strategy and marketing. He’s been in the business a long time, seen the pay TV programming evolution first hand, and played a role in it as well.

Put it this way, he’s the guy who came up with the slogan “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO,” which after a decade remains part of the cable TV vernacular. Today he’s got his hands full mapping out a viable digital strategy while remaining tethered to the cable TV cash cow and fending off new rivals like Netflix and Amazon that are mounting assaults on its business.

As the first order of business at today’s D: Dive Into Media interview, Kessler confirmed that HBO’s HBO Go App is now compatible with Apple’s AirPlay and HBO subscribers who have been pining to stream HBO shows from their iOS devices to Apple TV can now do so. “Our long-term plan for Go is to be across all devices, and effective today, we will be enabling AirPlay,” Kessler said, adding that Apple TV support will follow “at some point.”

At some point.

And when that day comes, might it be accompanied by a la carte programming? At some point. But Kessler argued that the time for that is still quite a ways off. The economics simply aren’t there.

“In marketing HBO we are targeting the people who most love TV,” Kessler said. “There are 70 million households that love television. And the average HBO household watches far more TV than the average TV household. So we are targeting the people who are most likely to buy our product.”

Makes sense, but why not also target the fast growing audience that wants HBO untethered from the TV? Simple. It’s too expensive.

“Is there a broadband segment that wants HBO,” said Kessler. “Yes, of course. But when you look at penetration rates, at disconnect rates, at infrastructure and marketing costs, the economics are just not particularly compelling … That doesn’t mean that’s not going to change at some point, though.”

So, for now HBO Go will remain largely as it is today: You’ve got to be a subscriber to use it. That might seem unnecessarily limiting, but Kessler said HBO still gets a lot out of it, even if it’s not bringing in money as a cord-cutter subscription service. It serves an important marketing function. People who watch HBO programs on HBO Go are generally more apt to talk about it online (obviously). “HBO Go usage seems to engage people in social conversation about these shows,” Kessler said. “Girls viewership increases as more people talk about it on Twitter and Facebook.”

What about other emerging schemes for building viewership? Netflix has recently been in the news quite a bit for its “House of Cards” series, which the company released as a 13-episode bundle. That’s a strategy HBO has embraced for its archival programming as well, and with a great deal of success. Viewers can use it to catch up on old seasons of their favorite series — obviously, there’s a great deal of value for some in binge-viewing five seasons of “The Wire” back-to-back.

But is it wise to give a brand new series like “House of Cards” similar treatment? Kessler seemed dubious. Serializing shows in the old school TV way plays a big role in building buzz, he explained. You forfeit that “Who Shot JR” anticipation. Just think about that final, infamous episode of “The Sopranos.”

“The finale of “The Sopranos” was one of the most talked about finales in the history of television,” Kessler said. “That show was on the cover of newspapers the next day. It was being talked about on morning radio and TV. If we had distributed the season all at once, we would have lost that.”

Stay tuned for video highlights from the session.

The Apple TV started out as a hobby for the latest Steve Jobs, and it has now turned into a very popular device, as Apple managed to sell a total of 2 million Apple TV’s in their last financial quarter.

This is an increase of around 60 percent from the previous year, where Apple had sold 1.4 million for the same quarter, and they have now sold more than 10 million Apple TV devices to date.

Apple TV

There are all kinds of Apple rumors out there; big ones, small ones, smart ones, dumb ones. God knows we run enough of them ourselves. But there’s a genus of the species that we never post, ever, because it’s so obviously and insidiously dumb and wrong and bad. And here is, without exaggeration, the very absolute worst example of it I’ve ever seen.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your worst Apple rumor of the year, and maybe of all time.

You may have seen the headlines already, here and here and probably most other tech sites you follow. The basic gist:

APPLE’S HDTV TO HAVE 3D TECH THAT WILL CHANGE TELEVISION FOREVER

There is, as you might have noticed the last time you attained even the vaguest state of consciousness, no such thing as an Apple HDTV. There never has been. That headline is like saying Charles Barkley might put up a triple double in the Space Jam rematch. So how did a product that doesn’t—and may well never—exist suddenly get features that, if it’s even possible, exist even less?

Because this morning, the two worst rumor sources in tech found each other. Analysts met patents, and created a perfect storm of bullshit.

This morning, before the market opened, two Morgan Stanley analysts released a report about “iTV,” Apple’s bold foray into our living rooms. The mythical television set would be worth $13 billion to Apple in the US alone, $39 billion globally, and 68,000 gumdrops in Candyland. That’s harmless enough; market projections are at least based on how many TVs people buy currently, and a reasonable guess at how many of those people might buy the Apple version. Sure, why not? But then the trouble starts.

It turns out that not only do Morgan Stanley’s analysts have a pretty good idea of how many non-existent iTVs Apple will sell, they’re also privy to a swath of non-existent features that’ll come with it. Including, as StreetInsider happily passes along, a 3D remote control, a “groundbreaking 3D imaging and display system” that knows where you are and what you’re doing and, presumably, shows Duck Dynasty from the appropriate angle, and the ability to display an athlete’s blood pressure during football games because why not, might as well, it’s all just make-believe anyway. Tickle Honey Boo Boo from your couch while you’re at it.

It’s tempting to think that these analysts know something you don’t. That they have covert sources slipping juicy leaks into their Honeybaked Ham deliveries. But you know what? They don’t. They’re guessing, same as anyone else. We don’t cover analyst rumors, ever, because analysts don’t know anything. To put it another way: if they did, Apple’s HDTV would be here already. Years ago.

But what makes this particular rumor so galling is that it’s not just the normal analyst projections and assumptions and bloviation. It’s not even that it’s yet another rumor—after nearly THREE YEARS of unfulfilled rumormongering—about a product that is Not Even a Thing. It’s that all of these features that the Morgan Stanley braintrust cites come from patents. Come on, guys. You know better than this.

The Dumbest Apple Rumor of the Year

The problem with taking patents at face value is that patents aren’t products and, more importantly, are often never even intended to be. Companies file patents defensively, stockpiling them like warheads for the never-ending infringement wars. They are, in their own way, every bit as Not Even a Thing as iTV itself. That’s what every single one of these “features” is based on.

It gets worse, it gets worse! These aren’t even new patents Morgan Stanley dug up from some Cupertino patent bunker. The most recent one was filed in 2008, and most were granted months or years ago. Or not at all, which, even better. Will Apple act on them someday? Maybe. Right after they get to that wearable display, and finish building all those iTunes kiosks.

Look, it’s just a harmless rumor, sure. But it’s also a lazy rumor, one that every single person involved knows has zero percent chance of becoming true in any reasonable amount of time. Could Apple announce an iTV tomorrow? Sure. Could it somehow put Duck Dynasty on your couch? Of course. But it won’t. And no one knows that better than the people telling you it might.