Doubts Cast on Revived Rumors of Subscription TV Packages from Apple

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal briefly reported that Apple is working on "new technology" for pushing video content to televisions, apparently linking that work with revived rumors of a subscription TV service. Rumors of such of a service first surfaced in late 2009, but by the iPad launch in March 2010, Apple had been said to have put the plans on hold in the face of opposition from media companies.

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But despite The Wall Street Journal's revival of the rumors yesterday, CNET insists that such an offering will not be coming in the near future, if ever, pointing back to a report earlier this month shooting down rumors of an imminent "iTunes Replay" streaming service for movies. The report also cites today's removal of TV show rentals from iTunes as evidence that Apple is moving backwards on the streaming TV front rather than making progress on any subscription deals.

Now does this sound like the studios are willing to back a new subscription service from Apple or for anyone else for that matter? No. Don't put any stock in the rumors that began circulating today. My sources at the studios said three weeks ago that an Apple subscription service is not coming anytime soon, if ever.

The report goes on to note that while Apple has over the course of negotiations with media companies suggested a number of potential business models, the company has yet to seriously push forward on any subscription TV proposals. The company instead seems to be focused more on basic cloud services that would allow users to download or stream purchased content from Apple's servers as needed.

Top Rated Comments

Peace Avatar
131 months ago
Just imagine..... competing with the cable companies, you could "stream" cable channels right to your TV. Think about it, in the future, the bandwidth that will be available would make this pretty easy. All you need is agreements from HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, etc. or maybe you just subscribe to the channels you want. No more packages and bundles of stuff you don't want.

I'd rather pay Apple $40-50 bucks a month, than pay the cable company $100+. The added bonus, all my other media is available on every TV (with an apple box or what-ever), and iCloud.

Cool apps that run on the TV; home control, security etc. Heck maybe the TV in your kitchen could "see" the bar codes off the products your throwing away, and automatically add them to your shopping list.
A little voice recognition technology combine with a gesture recognition camera, the TV notices we are awake and now we can get our morning RSS news, or our favorite news channel. All this and you never have to touch the remote.
The TV notices that your eyes are closed, that starts the power off timer, now you never get woken-up because you left the TV on. All from the TV (Apple) in our bedroom.
Or, the TV notices that there is a strange person in your house, contacts you or the police.
What do I see in the future? The same stuff that went down with the iPhone....rumors it's coming, then rumors it's not, then BAM!! iCable.:D

Somehow I don't see Comcast allowing customers to use the bandwidth to circumvent the cable offerings they have. They would lose money.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bretm Avatar
131 months ago
IMO it's coming, it's just a matter of when, you can already stream Hulu, Netflix, etc. What would they do? Ban certain connections?
It would be healthy competition, maybe the cable companies would stop charging as much as a cheap/used car payment. They already charge more for faster connections.

Oh it's coming. If you have HULU Plus and Netflix for $15 a month, you don't have much need for cable. You can use the other services built into your TV like VuDu or Amazon to rent the latest flicks. You want TVland stuff, Crackle is there.

I know there's a lot of other stuff not on HULU Plus like maybe Discovery, HGTV, NatGeo, etc. But they've got iPhone apps that stream quite a lot of their content for free, and some on their websites. I'm sure that for a small fee they'd be happy to add their shows a day after they premiere.

Possibly this is where AppleTV would have to go. They would have to convince each content creator like HGTV or NatGeo to provide a "station" that could be subscribed to where all their shows and past episodes were available. Perhaps Apple could create a Hulu like service where you can piece meal the virtual stations and packages you want for much cheaper than cable. I mean, HULU give you all the big time TV shows less than 24 hours after they debut for $8. You'd think another $8-10 would get you everything else. ESPN is already pretty big into ESPN3 streaming content. They see the future.

It's coming. Right now. But right now it's coming in all sorts of un-unified directions - hulu, espn3, netflix, amazon, iTunes/AppleTV, etc. Apple would have to make agreements with all these people. And many of these companies probably have no-competition agreements with the cable TV companies because they're also providing the internet and don't want to compete. Cable companies have the stranglehold I think for now.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Storto Avatar
131 months ago
Well....

Just imagine..... competing with the cable companies, you could "stream" cable channels right to your TV. Think about it, in the future, the bandwidth that will be available would make this pretty easy. All you need is agreements from HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, etc. or maybe you just subscribe to the channels you want. No more packages and bundles of stuff you don't want.

I'd rather pay Apple $40-50 bucks a month, than pay the cable company $100+. The added bonus, all my other media is available on every TV (with an apple box or what-ever), and iCloud.

Cool apps that run on the TV; home control, security etc. Heck maybe the TV in your kitchen could "see" the bar codes off the products your throwing away, and automatically add them to your shopping list.
A little voice recognition technology combine with a gesture recognition camera, the TV notices we are awake and now we can get our morning RSS news, or our favorite news channel. All this and you never have to touch the remote.
The TV notices that your eyes are closed, that starts the power off timer, now you never get woken-up because you left the TV on. All from the TV (Apple) in our bedroom.
Or, the TV notices that there is a strange person in your house, contacts you or the police.
What do I see in the future? The same stuff that went down with the iPhone....rumors it's coming, then rumors it's not, then BAM!! iCable.:D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Worf Avatar
131 months ago
Even with all it's influence, I can't see :apple: convincing the TV studios for a subscription model, they're still arguing over Hulu. Then again, crazier things have happened in the Tech World.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fwink! Avatar
131 months ago
Just occurred to me: the rumored Apple TV is a cable company. Thus bypassing all the hurdles. Mark it. Done.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
n2arkitektur Avatar
131 months ago
TV viewers' perceptions of value have become distorted by over 50 years of an advertiser-based business model where the viewers are actually the products and the advertisers are the customers of the TV networks. TV viewers have come to place a low value on television entertainment, but there is a very high value to the networks in those ads. Consumers need to realize that they will have to pay a higher up front cost for content in an on demand, commercial-free, a la carte pay TV model, but in the long term, consumers will get a higher value not having to pay for content they aren't consuming and not having to watch ads for products they have no interest in.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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