Apple TV quietly updated its software today, upgrading to iOS 4.3, the latest software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
But in that “quiet” update, without any fanfare, Apple TV now allows users to stream NBA League Pass and MLB TV. That’s every basketball game and baseball game.
This is huge. First off, NBA League Pass with a cable provider is a nightmare; most of the games are only available in standard def. Assuming they are available in 720p for the Apple TV, that’s still a huge step up.
This is also huge because sports are one of the few remaining selling points of a traditional cable package. The premium channels such as Showtime and HBO are the other.
Other components of cable are now online. With Hulu Plus users can pipe the most up to date episodes of their favorite shows, along with the complete back catalogue for many. With Netflix comes tons of movies. Now that Apple TV is brining in live sports, its knocking down one of the last vestiges of traditonal cable.
Apple TV is gambling on that closed ecosystem that Android users love to hate on. Now you can get anything you want on iTunes, and watch it on Apple TV. And frankly, for the paying public, what isn’t available on iTunes? Add in the ability to share videos and apps from your iPhones, iPods and iPads to the television, and now live sports — it seems like Apple is secretly winning this war before Google or anyone else has had the time to step up.
And don’t even get us started on the potential of Air Play; that’s a stealth entrance into the console wars with Xbox and the PS3.