No New Apple Television Products Coming in 2012 as Content Negotiations Stall Once Again
Bloomberg reports that Apple will not be releasing a new "TV product" this year as difficult negotiations with media companies have slowed Apple's plans. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Apple is working a new set-top box offering access to live and on-demand television content, but a timeframe for a release of the product was not given at that time. Apple has also been said to be working on its own television set, but apparently neither product will be making an appearance in the relatively near future.
Apple is vying with the likes of Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. to make TVs the digital hub of people’s lives in an industry projected to reach $200 billion worldwide by 2017. Whoever wins must first strike deals with media companies or cable providers who have little incentive to cede valuable revenue streams. The result: Apple won’t be releasing a new TV product this year, as analysts had predicted, said a person familiar with the company’s plans.
Negotiations between Apple and the media companies have reportedly stumbled over the software interface for any new television product from Apple, with cable companies wanting to have control over the software. The two sides are also at loggerheads over whether Apple would sell a new set-top box directly to consumers or if the device would be distributed by the cable companies.
The report also offers a rehashing of The Wall Street Journal's details on what the new set-top box would offer:
Since the middle of the last decade, Apple’s engineers have been working on a more advanced product to allow viewers to quickly find shows and movies, blending both live and recorded material, the people said. It would recommend content based on interests and work seamlessly with Apple’s family of other devices. An iPhone or iPad would double as a remote control, the people said.
Apple has reportedly been talking with cable companies since the original Apple TV's debut in 2007, but talks have repeatedly stalled over numerous issues. More recently, Apple is said to have focused on companies willing to offer Apple live content for streaming, with Time Warner Cable apparently being the major cable company most receptive to Apple's proposals.
Apple is furthest along negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc., said the people familiar with the talks. Yet even if Time Warner Cable agrees to a deal with Apple, it wouldn’t represent a radical change for customers, who would still pay their monthly cable bill.
Apple may be looking to Time Warner Cable to be its first partner in a similar way that AT&T Inc. helped bring the iPhone to market, one person said.
Beyond live content, Apple is also said to be pursuing substantial offerings of on-demand content, but media companies are wary of losing control of their content and the channel bundles offered through cable providers.