Apple in Talks With Content Providers for Web-Based TV Service
Rumors about Apple's television plans have died down in recent months as no new product has appeared, but the company hasn't given up on TV. According to industry executives that spoke to Re/code, Apple is in talks with television programmers over deals that would see the company offering a web-based TV service.
Such a service would potentially allow Apple to deliver customized television packages that would be streamed over the Internet, providing access to a bundle of channels from participating content providers. The service would not include a full lineup of channels like traditional cable, but it would offer a range of content delivered by Apple with its own interface on devices like the Apple TV.
The theory is that Apple would put together bundles of programming -- but not the entire TV lineup that pay TV providers generally offer -- and sell it directly to consumers, over the Web. That means Apple wouldn't be reinventing the way TV works today, but offering its own version of it, with its own interface and user experience.
Apple is reportedly far enough along in the development of such a service that it has been showing potential programming partners demos, but talks remain in the early stages -- pricing and a potential release timeline are unknown.
Apple originally had very ambitious plans for revamping television, which included a desire to create a subscription television service that would replace existing cable subscription packages, but was unable to move forward with that idea due to pushback from content providers.
After a string of failed negotiations, Apple scaled back on its television plans, aiming to wedge itself between cable companies and consumers by designing a set-top box that would play live television in lieu of a traditional cable box. Rumors suggested Apple was in talks with Comcast and Time Warner over such a service, which would also include cloud-based DVR functionality, but that has yet to materialize and may have shifted into its newest web-based television plans.
Apple has repeatedly failed to reach deals with content providers due to their reluctance to change the status quo, but as Re/code points out, the television industry has been shifting towards web-based models in recent months, and both Sony and Dish have managed to establish deals with programmers to provide live TV and video-on-demand over the web.
During the company's most recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook once again reiterated that television is something that Apple "continues to look at." Apple is working towards finding a way to make a "greater contribution," than what it currently offers, he said.