Apple’s plans for TV growing less ambitious with Time Warner deal

By , Jul 19, 2013

Apple TV (teaser 001)

As we’ve heard a few times over the past month, Apple and Time Warner Cable appear to be very close to inking a deal that would bring a TWC app to the Apple TV’s Home screen. It would mark the first time that the set-top box would be capable of streaming live TV.

Initial details regarding the service have been scarce, but a new report this morning helps add a bit of color. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg warns users not to get too excited, as the TWC app will save them little more than a click of the remote…

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

“So Apple die-hards may be disappointed with the deal the company is close to reaching with Time Warner Cable (TWC). It saves little more than a click of the remote, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who aren’t authorized to discuss them…

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.”

That’s a far cry from what users have been hoping for as they read iTV rumor after iTV rumor, and a far cry from Apple’s SVP of Internet software and service Eddy Cue’s vision of a master menu of network TV apps, on-demand shows, and live news and sports channels.

Rumors of Apple building its own TV subscription service have circulated for years, and have typically been coupled with reports of stymied negotiations with content providers. Understandably, cable companies and movie studios alike are reluctant to let Apple into their space.

So for the most part, Apple has had to give up on its dreams of revolutionizing the model of TV delivery and settle for incorporating cable-subscriber-only apps such as HBO Go, WatchESPN and CW into its Apple TV menu. And it’s settling again with this Time Warner deal.

time warner

There’s still a glimmer of hope though:

“Cue is still talking with at least one other major U.S. cable provider about such a plan, which could replace a conventional cable hookup, says a person familiar with his thinking who wasn’t authorized to discuss it. (Apple’s also developing ad-skipping technology, a tough sell for programmers.) Cue’s plan would extend Apple’s reach into the living room, giving it control of another screen and boosting what Cook calls its “halo effect”—encouraging users to purchase other interconnected Apple products.”

Cross your fingers Cue pulls it off. Because until Apple can gain more control of TV programming, cool products like the iTV—which is rumored to feature a 50-inch+ Ultra HD 4K display and game-changing, iPad-run remote—aren’t ever going to be seen outside of Apple’s labs.

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  • Amad

    I don’t think i would buy itv if it came out. Plus i think the network iTV might sue them in the uk.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      They could probably call it the Apple TV in the UK and the Apple TV could become the Apple TV Settop Box…

  • Carlos

    I, for one, am glad Time Warner is against this deal so that this other cable provider ruins them and their horrible customer service. The only reason I don’t have TW cable is because it takes them days to show up and when they do, they’re usually late. I’ve been “promised” a certain timeframe and a technician will usually call and say he’s running late. Obviously this wouldn’t be an issue if you could just stream cable TV through an AppleTV. It would actually be a win win for them since they wouldn’t have to send a technician to run cable. They could just focus on Internet modems and phones. But, like Blockbuster ignored Netflix, Time Warner will too get left behind.

    • therealjjohnson

      Things happen with technicians. If they are at a persons home and something goes wrong they have to stay and fix it. Unfortunately installs and trouble calls arent an exact science because each home and things you encounter are different. With your example you would still need internet so someone would still have to come to your home to install that. Doesnt matter.

      • Carlos

        I realize that, however, they could drastically reduce the number of technicians needed to provide cable service and focus on customers who want Internet. I actually have AT&T for Internet so no, TWC would still not have to show up to my house. Using me as an example, TWC could have another monthly paying customer and not have to come to my house at all. That’s smart business if you ask me. But it wouldn’t be their first mistake to pass up this opportunity.

    • Gorgonphone

      I have no cable cause im not paying to watch adds and crappie feminine reality shows

      • Carlos

        Or you know, you could just change the channel.

    • Kurt

      Comcast allows 250gigs per month. What is it with TWC? You’ll eat through your alloted bandwidth in no time having your tv on all day especially if you have more than one tv like everyone has.

  • Boss

    What’s the most you’ll spend on a iTV? I bet it’s gonna cost like $4.000

  • David Shores

    so it sounds like it’ll be a lot like the Time Warner app that’s already available on Roku, i-products, and android tablets for TWC subscribers, which would still be cool for those TV’s you didn’t want to pay to get an additional box for.

  • therealjjohnson

    Well if you have freinds then share the bill and everyone log in with the same account/user name. I still think its a win.

    • Kurt

      That’s what I do. I use my moms account to access HBOGo here in Korea. She has comcast so I get so many of the other channels too

  • Gorgonphone

    i just dont see why the hell ki need a big TV form apple when i can but a cheap big tv an use the appletv box on it already