Apple TV app

Anyone can make a TV show. Really. There's a whole thing on the internet dedicated to anyone doing precisely that.

Making good TV is a bit harder, of course. It takes story. It takes production. It takes decent acting. (Though the first two often can make up for the third, I'd argue.)

But as important (if not moreso) is distribution. Having the greatest TV show in the world means nothing if nobody sees it. And that's where Apple is really starting to make things interesting.

Ponder, if you will, what it was that Oprah said at Monday's Apple event. (Also ponder that sentence for a second. Crazy.) Apple TV Channels and Apple TV+ automatically are on more than a billion devices. So, too, is Netflix, but you get her point. If you've got an iPhone, you'll have access to everything Apple just announced.

Details remain, but Apple content on a $50 Roku or Fire TV is a big deal.

But not everybody has an iPhone. And that remains a mostly untapped market for Apple services. Until now.

Apple blessing the likes of Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony with AirPlay 2 -- its proprietary video streaming tech akin to Google's Chromecast protocol -- was just the first step. And it's maybe not even the most important one.

Bigger is that Apple TV Channels and Apple TV+ will be coming to smart TVs from those same companies. If you've got a newish internet-connected TV from Samsung (which still very much leads the way on that front), you'll have access to Apple TV Channels. Same for Vizio and LG and Sony.

But Apple just went one further. In addition to those smart TVs, it's also bringing Apple TV Channels and Apple TV+ to Roku and Amazon Fire TV. And that, folks, may be the game-changer. Because you'll no longer be required to purchase a nearly-$200 Apple TV 4K to watch any of Apple's stuff. You'll instead be able to to it (presumably -- ther are still a bunch of details to be announced) on a $50 Roku Streaming Stick+, or on a $50 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. (It's also worth mentioning that Roku says one out of every four new smart TVs sold is running its operating system.)

Apple basically just said "Hey, it's cool if you don't want an Apple TV. Here's another way we can make money off of you." It's exactly the same thing Amazon does with Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV and Android TV and Roku. Sign up for all the things in one place, and watch them all in one place, on whatever thing it is you like to watch things on.

That's a huge change for Apple, which until this year has pretty much pretended as though other hardware didn't exist. (And in many cases, that's a fair assessment.)

But you'll be able to watch Apple TV Channels on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. (Apple hasn't officially said whether its original shows on Apple TV+ will be part of that bundle. I could argue that one either way.) And Wall Street took notice, sending Roku's stock up about 3 percent on the day.

That's a big deal for Roku. It's a big deal for Amazon. It's a big deal for anyone who already has those devices — though, again, we'll have to wait and see just how far down those lineups the content flows. And it's a big deal for anyone who's looking to get into the streaming TV game without spending a ton of money — which is most folks.

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