Apple seeks cable connection for set-top box
Building an audience for its own-brand telly?
Apple is in talks with US cable TV companies about licensing the technology it would need to feed their services in through the back of its Apple TV set-top box.
The claim that the Mac maker is eyeing the US cable market comes from the Wall Street Journal. The paper suggests an Apple TV with a suitable cable connector and on-board decoding equipment. Viewers could then select the service using an app in the standard Apple TV UI.
Apple would presumably sell the box on the open market, just as it does now. The cable TV compatibility would allow subscribers to ditch their existing cable box, much as some folk by their own broadband modems to use in place of ISP-supplied equipment. The advantage: one box rather than two.
It's not hard to see Apple incorporating digital TV tuners into the Apple TV for territories, such as the UK, and perhaps satellite broadcasting feeds too.
Such a move might appear to run contrary to past Apple strategy which has thus far attempted to promote iTunes-fed content in place of material sourced from broadcast TV or cable. Even Apple appears to having a job convincing programme makers they should sell it early broadcast rights to new shows, rather than the customary streaming rights made available on DVD release.
Building such feeds into the Apple TV would allow Apple to pitch its set-top box as a multi-source universal TV hub, making it immediately more attractive to a greater number of viewers and without the considerable extra cost involved in Apple becoming a broadcaster in its own right.
Meanwhile, Apple has received numerous patents for DVR user interface design of late, and this would be an obvious place to incorporate them.
Get lots more Apple TVs out there, in front of a broader audience, and the obvious upgrade, an LCD TV that has a built-in Apple TV, will be a much easier sell. And there are far more potential riches to be had selling TVs than there are offering set-top boxes. ®
@ FatsBrannigan - Re: Apple-branded TV
Ah, almost right, but you forgot an important factor:
The price of an iTV will be much higher and thus it will have an acceptable margin.
Also, Apple will have almost a monopoly on TV reception equipment, because,
in the future, they will have invented it in the past.
IMHO - There won't be an Apple branded integrated TV. There's no money in TVs. No profit margins, too many screen sizes (SKUs), too much space in the Apple Store, etc.
An AppleTV plugged into a 3rd party dumb screen will do the job, for both Apple and the customers, with a much higher % profit
"It's not hard to see Apple incorporating digital TV tuners into the Apple TV for territories, such as the UK, and perhaps satellite broadcasting feeds too."
Not much scope for partnering in Blighty. With Virgin (With TiVO) practically the only cable game in town and Sky (with their own interface) wrapping up satellite, I doubt they'll gain much success, unless they look at offering Freesat/Freeview capabilities, in which case, it's just another Freeview tuner.
Saying goodbye to my millions
But an Apple Television could just be a 40" screen with wifi or powerline built in. Clean lines and one cable (for power).
The Apple iTV then sits in a cupboard and serves up whatever flavour of service you want via apps and "HDMI over WiFi" (possibly powerline). Users control the lot from ipad/pod/phone over bluetooth.
This allows Apple to gatekeep Netflix, cable, Sky and even Youview; your PS3 could be plugged in to the iTV , keeping a screen with one cable as the 'face' of the TV.
Re: Apple-branded TV
The only reason an Apple TV was any use for me, was after it was jailbroken. Then it would connect to local non-apple file shares, etc.