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Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV

Bloomberg briefly reports that Apple and Disney are in talks to bring sports network ESPN's WatchESPN application [App Store] to the Apple TV set-top box.
ESPN subscribers with AppleTV would gain access to the network’s Internet service on their TV sets. [Sean] Bratches, the network’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, spoke in an interview today.
The brief report doesn't specify exactly how access to the WatchESPN functionality on the Apple TV would work, but currently customers of a number of cable and Internet companies have varying levels of access to the app's content on iOS and other platforms, which includes nearly all of ESPN's live broadcasts including online-only ESPN3 content.

Currently, cable subscribers through Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, and Bright House have full access to WatchESPN content, while subscribers on a host of other Internet services can receive access to the ESPN3 content through the app.


WatchESPN being sent to Apple TV via AirPlay

iOS device users who are eligible to access WatchESPN content can currently send the content to an Apple TV via AirPlay, but including the app directly on the Apple TV would streamline that process.

Update: Bloomberg has expanded its article with additional comments from Bratches:
“We’re a platform-agnostic content company,” Bratches, the network’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, said today in an interview. “To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something that we will participate in.”
Update 2: Bloomberg has updated its article once again, citing comments from an ESPN spokesperson backtracking from Bratches' statements by noting that there are no active talks with Apple underway.
No deal is imminent with Apple, said Amy Phillips, a spokeswoman for Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN.

“We’re not having conversations with Apple about authenticating WatchESPN,” Phillips said.


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Top Rated Comments

(View all)

97 months ago
How about just an app store so users could choose what "channels" they want?
Rating: 17 Votes
97 months ago

I never understand this... why would anyone who has an iPhone use the aluminum remote? The remote app is a great experience, even better on iPad.


Aluminum remote:
[list=1]Press desired button.

iPhone as remote:
[list=1]Press Sleep/Wake or Home button.
* Slide to unlock.
* Enter passcode, if required.
* Press Home button, if another app is currently running.
* Flip to correct home screen, if required, to locate Remote app.
* Launch Remote app.
* Wait for app to locate AppleTV over Wi-Fi network.
* Press desired button or perform required function.
Rating: 9 Votes
97 months ago

Better be free, because I won't pay for TV programming.


don't people normally pay?
Rating: 5 Votes
97 months ago

Aluminum remote:
[list=1]Press desired button.

iPhone as remote:
[list=1]Press Sleep/Wake or Home button.
* Slide to unlock.
* Enter passcode, if required.
* Press Home button, if another app is currently running.
* Flip to correct home screen, if required, to locate Remote app.
* Launch Remote app.
* Wait for app to locate AppleTV over Wi-Fi network.
* Press desired button or perform required function.


This is why I almost exclusively use the supplied apple tv remote vs. the remote app. Only time I use the remote app is to browse my local library while something else is playing on the apple tv. Speaking of that, I would LOVE if i could browse on the apple tv while something is playing (music aside which will play in the background).
Rating: 4 Votes
97 months ago

Better be free, because I won't pay for TV programming.


Ah, yes, because when I think of the part of TV most likely to be free, "sports" is what comes to mind first.
Rating: 3 Votes
97 months ago

I don't think it's such a great idea to have 40+ apps on the AppleTV because it doesn't scale terribly well.


Actually, I'd rather be faced with a page full of my favorite channels to choose from than channel surfing.
Rating: 2 Votes
97 months ago
I would like this just for the ESPN3 access during college football season. :cool:
Rating: 2 Votes
97 months ago
The Final Nail In the Coffin

The ONLY reason I have Comcast is to watch College Football. So I like the direction of this story. When the day comes when I can sign up to watch ALL the games my team plays......Goodby Comcast.

My Comcast bill is $85/month to watch 4 a few hours every Saturday for 4 months out of the year. So I would be willing to spend about $400 for a "season ticket" to have the same access I have now. A win win for me and some TBD company.
Rating: 2 Votes
97 months ago
Only if the Eastern Sports Network realizes that the earth does not drop off right beyond the Mississippi River.
Rating: 2 Votes
97 months ago
[U][/U]How many watched the Paul McCartney concert streamed on iTunes and completely missed it??

THAT was the future of television Jobs was speaking about.

(Arificially) scarce availability of content is what the industry (most especially Disney) is after. No you can't buy that movie. It was available for sale for a limited time and you missed it.

Stupid as it seems to consumers, who've already moved light years beyond that nonsense, it's a compromise, like DRM on music. One step at a time, people. We have to get them into the game before they can see the rules have changed, stop fearing it and get on board with it.

On the other hand, inside word is that Hollywood is ALL about streaming at the moment. And don't think they'll let anyone, not even iTunes get between the distributors and their customers. So, there's that to contend with.

Every studio will want its own proprietary streaming format, that they alone totally control. It will be even worse than we have now, because that's they way they like it.

So let's get behind even the dumbest iTunes moves, because the alternative is bedlam. And who needs that when all they want to do is watch a movie?

No, I don't want a Warner Bros app or a Universal app, or a Sony app, or a Paramount app, or a …
Rating: 2 Votes

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