There should be different versions of the Apple TV (Apple TV Pro, anyone?)

In a “Stay Foolish” column at Macworld, Dan Moren says that Apple should make a cheaper, streamlined Apple TV. He’s right. But what if Apple took things on step further and offered different models of the set-top box.

No doubt it’s time for a revamped Apple TV. Roku has pulled waaaay ahead of Apple’s set-top box and leads the market in the number of connected TV users in the United States, according to new research from eMarketer.

The research firm estimates that 38.9 million users will use a Roku at least once a month this year, compared to comes in above the 36.9 million for Google’s Chromecast and 35.8 million for Amazon’s Fire TV. The Apple TV comes in at the back of the pack with 21.3 million. 

Dan thinks Apple can help sales with this strategy: “…a return to a lower cost Apple TV, somewhere in the $70-$99 range, with a modicum of storage, and perhaps a traditional remote with buttons. Instead of building Siri functionality into the remote, the Apple TV should have built-in mics that support “Hey Siri” (or, if you prefer to avoid collisions, ‘Hey Apple TV’). The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and yes, HomePod, have proved that both technology and people can handle this kind of functionality. If you prefer the Siri Remote, no problem: just buy it as an add-on.”

I think Dan’s onto something. But what if Apple also expanded its set-top line and provided an Apple TV Pro, akin to the TiVo Roamio (love the name) OTA 1TB. The TiVO device (pictured) is a great gadget to watch live, recorded, on-demand and over-the-top television. Perhaps Apple should be "inspired" by some of its features and include them in an high end version of its Apple TV set-top box. 

The $399.99 Roamio offers a host of cool DVR features combined with favorite streaming services. It’s sorta like an Apple TV, Roku and cable box rolled into one. 

With four tuners and 1TB of storage, the OTA 1TB can access and record up to 150 hours of high-definition programming and up to four shows at once, from popular local networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and Univision, where available with an HD antenna. The TiVo Roamio OTA 1TB also gives users access to their content and subscriptions from video services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video and YouTube, among others. An Apple TV DVR with such features and storage would be perfect for storing movies purchased on iTunes. 

We have multiple incarnations of Macs, iPads, and iPhones. Why not different versions of the Apple TV at different price points to serve different customers?