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Apple Aims to 'Erase Distinction Between Live and On-Demand' TV Content

NewImageFollowing up on its story from yesterday about a possible forthcoming Apple set-top television box, the The Wall Street Journal had more details to share today.

Apple aims to make it so viewers can watch any show at any time via a cloud-based DVR that would store TV shows online. The service would be designed so viewers could begin streaming a show minutes after it began airing live.
Another significant feature of the Apple set-top device is likely to be its user interface, which could resemble the navigation icons on Apple's iPad. While the design may change, the interface is expected to be easier for people to use than existing cable on-screen menus, widely viewed as clunky.

Apple's device also may create space on the TV screen for social media features, such as sharing TV shows through services like Twitter Inc., the people said. Apple also wants users to be able to access content from the device on other Apple products like iPhones and iPads.
The Journal says Apple has been in talks with cable services like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as companies that control television content. The article notes that existing agreements between cable and content companies may not allow them to sign deals for Apple's device without content owner permission.

CBS CEO Les Moonves said earlier this month that his company would be open to offering its content on a hypothetical Apple television depending "what the terms are" and "what we get paid". Apple is looking to offer past seasons of shows through iTunes on the device which are already available on iTunes, as well as all episodes from current seasons.

The sort of cloud-based DVR that Apple is envisioning could be the motivation behind Apple's plans for a new 500,000 square-foot data center in Oregon, as well as an existing massive center in North Carolina.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Top Rated Comments

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25 months ago

I smell a Samsung device


I smell a lame comment
Rating: 14 Votes
25 months ago
Let me get this right:

-- it will be expensive,

-- it will be like Tivo, but sexed up by being on a "cloud,"

-- it will have ATV-like UI and

-- it will be locked like Fort Knox.

Oh, and you still have to be locked to a cable provider, in addition to Apple.

I just can't wait for this cluster-fck between the Cable Cos and Apple! :rolleyes:

All together now, grab your ankles and say "AH-pple!"
Rating: 13 Votes
25 months ago

This has the potential to ease up traffic jams, I think.

I've spent tons of time watching traffic patterns, and I have come to suspect that a major show ending or going to commercial causes many people to leave wherever they are at roughly the same time and cause micro-traffic jams (where for seemingly no reason traffic at a spot hardly moves for five minutes but at almost any other time would flow quite freely.)



what on earth has a set top box got to do with traffic jams?!?!!!! :confused:
Rating: 11 Votes
25 months ago
A set-top box makes much more sense than a full blown TV set. I've been saying it for months, is the rumor mill catching on yet ? Apple has no advantage in competing in the "pixel array" space with the likes of LG, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Samsung.

Where they do is in the content business. A set top box reaches a far wider audience with their licensed content.
Rating: 10 Votes
25 months ago
good luck with that
Rating: 9 Votes
25 months ago

Another significant feature of the Apple set-top device is likely to be its user interface, which could resemble the navigation icons on Apple's iPad.


This is exactly what I don't want: dozens of icons all representing different sources, like what's on the AppleTV today.

They need to "erase the distinction" between any sources. I don't need to know if the feed is from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ABC, YouTube, or whatever. I just want to say the name of the program (or description, or search query) and have the box give me what I want.
Rating: 8 Votes
25 months ago
U.S only I bet.
Rating: 8 Votes
25 months ago
If that's their plan, a cloud DVR - ain't gonna happen.

Like it or not, TV shows are expensive to make, and those expenses are paid for by advertising. The money from digital sources is very small in comparison. DVR playbacks are counted if done within a certain number of days and played without commercial skipping (Neilsen families have special attachments that know when commercials are skipped). And there's both the national ads and local ads for the local station. So you'd need to store multiple copies of the "cloud dvr" shows for each local station.

Yes, they could merge the existing service with a cable box, buy shows individually or by the season. Maybe even strike a deal for "one price lets you stream all prior seasons" (though they won't be negotiating by network, they'll be negotiating with the studios who made it - networks don't own the digital rights to any show they didn't produce themselves). But "watch last night's show without commercials" - that's still going to be "$2.00 please"
Rating: 8 Votes
25 months ago
Keep the people plugged in to their mindless reality shows and corporate cable news networks. Why think for yourself? That's so 1999. :p

10,000 Maniacs - Candy Everybody Wants (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M9ncAkKSNM)

Living in Eden has its advantages. As a marginalized member of a spectator democracy, you choose your own dependencies. Lust. Hate. Blood. Love. Don't think of it as manufactured consent. Think of it as the candy everybody wants.

Rating: 6 Votes
25 months ago
I called it! Posted this idea a few weeks back... This is really the only thing that makes sense and the only way to truly revolutionize the Cable TV industry.
Rating: 6 Votes

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