Apple said to be moving forward with ‘less ambitious’ TV plans

By , Feb 13, 2014

Apple TV (teaser 001)

Following a report by Bloomberg, which reiterated Apple’s move to revamp its set top box, comes a scoop from The Wall Street Journal regarding the company’s TV plans. The outlet says Apple has abandoned efforts to disrupt cable TV in favor of a less ambitious strategy.

According to the story, the Cupertino firm was at one time approaching media companies directly to obtain content rights for an a-la-carte TV service. But due to failed licensing negotiations and other issues, it’s said to now be working on hardware for existing cable service …

Here’s the heart of The Journal’s report:

“Apple Inc. AAPL -0.01% appears to be scaling back its lofty TV industry plans.

The company is talking to media companies and pay TV distributors including Time Warner Cable Inc. TWC +0.30% about launching a revamped Apple-branded TV set-top box in coming months, according to people familiar with the matter. Previously, the company had been trying to license TV programming for its own Internet-based TV service—similar to other “over the top” efforts from technology companies such as SonyCorp. 6758.TO -2.04% , Intel Corp. INTC +0.33% and Google Inc.”

At one point, Apple was trying to negotiate directly with networks like CBS and The CW to offer full seasons of popular shows, as well as live TV. But negotiations either stalled, or fell through completely, as the companies were unsold on the “unchartered territory” strategy.

“Apple’s latest approach is far less ambitious. Instead of asking for full current seasons of shows, it is asking programmers for just the most recent five episodes of current-season shows—the standard for video-on-demand services in the TV industry, a person familiar with the matter said. Apple is also proposing to disable fast-forwarding on shows for three days after they air, which would protect TV channels.”

This essentially reconfirms what most folks were already thinking—that Apple’s next TV product will work with your existing cable service, rather than replace it. Imagine it taking the place of your current DVR box, with much of the same features presented in a prettier package.

Apple TV channel The Beatles (image 001)

Apple has been in talks with Time Warner Cable for years now to provide this kind of product, and those talks are apparently still ongoing. It’s worth noting, however, that TWC has just reached a deal to be bought by Comcast for $44 billion, so that could hamper negotiations.

The Journal says that it’s not sure if Apple will sell the new TV box by itself, or if it will be leased out by cable providers. It also says that it’s not expecting to see the device launch before June, which conflicts with recent reports that suggested we could see it as early as next month.

References to unreleased Apple TV hardware were discovered in the latest beta release of iOS 7.1.

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  • Pukka12

    Lol when will cable companies and content providers realize that if they don’t change their subscription services they will fall behind. Everyone saw it coming with the music industry and apple fixed that with iTunes. If they offer a alternative for cheap that works then customers won’t resort to pirating. These companies will go under if they don’t change in the near future.

    • Justice and Malice

      Hi

      • Pukka12

        Hello

    • therealjjohnson

      What exactly needs to change? You want a cheaper bill or do you want to be able to view your services across all your devices? The latter of the two is already possible via many different ways.

    • therealjjohnson

      In my opinion what “killed” the music industry was an CD Burner in every computer is what hurt the music industry. It wasnt prepared for high quality rips of music. From everyone with a computer.

      • Obsidian71

        Well sorta but even burning an audio disc could do little if there was no easy way to mass share. That happened when we went from tiny dial up pipes to broadband and suddenly you could share gigs of music on napster or limewire. That freaked out the industry and they gave control to Apple…..idiots.

  • Fevostone

    As anyone got a link for the new movie box 2.5 thanks I want to install in with ifile.

  • http://www.jamesgunaca.com James Gunaca

    They’ll discontinue with iOS 8, most likely. 3+ year old hardware won’t run that OS. Same with iPhone 4. 4S might stick around though.

    Just my prediction.

    But I can’t believe people still she’ll out $399 for a 3 year old iPad! No retina! What’s an extra 25% for the Air?!

    • Obsidian71

      I’ve posted in the wrong thread before as well. It sucks but I do agree with what you mean. iPad 2 needs to be put out to pasture.

      • http://www.jamesgunaca.com James Gunaca

        What the hell…I blame disqus on my mobile phone!

  • Obsidian71

    There’s not much Apple can do here. The movie industry isn’t going to let Apple take control like they have with music. Apple’s best bet is to fight for affordable movie/series pricing and availability and let the consumer decide what shows they wish to support. #WalkingDead

  • Michael Fluharty

    no fast forwarding? then why bother with an apple TV as a DVR when i already have a TiVo where i can stream Hulu Netflix and amazon VOD. Lord knows apple will never add amazon. why would i bother with a new apple TV when i can F-Forward commercials and have the last five episodes on my TiVo. I don’t even like watching Hulu that much because of it’s commercial structure (although it is better than over the air TV commercial structures.) If i am going to pay for television then i don’t want to waste my time on commercials because i am paying to watch it and don’t need Johnson Wax, Proctor and Gamble, or Ford to pay so i can watch the programming.