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Apple Working on Digital Television Guide for Apple TV

Apple is working with television content providers and video companies to create a universal digital TV guide for the Apple TV and iOS devices, reports Recode.

Apple's goal is to help users discover all of the different television channels that are available through dedicated apps from companies like HBO, Netflix, and ESPN without the need to open up each app. The digital TV guide would also include a feature allowing users to play TV shows and movies with one click.

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Last year, after Apple shelved its plans for a streaming television service, it shifted its strategy to the tvOS App Store, positioning it as a way for content providers to share their own content on Apple's platform. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in the past that he believes the future of TV is apps.
Industry sources say Apple's plans are an outgrowth of the TV service it wanted to launch last year. The difference is that in 2015, Apple wanted to sell TV programming directly to consumers, and provide them with a new interface that would make it easy find the stuff they paid for.

Now Apple is just working on the interface. It is letting programmers, distributors and customers work out the money part among themselves.
According to Recode, the single sign-on feature that's bundled into tvOS 10 is the first part of Apple's TV guide plan. Single sign-on will allow customers with a cable subscription to sign into the Apple TV once and access all of the apps that are available through cable authentication.

Apple already has access to information about the television content within apps to power Siri's Apple TV search features, but the company is said to be speaking with content providers about additional metadata for its full guide.

It's not clear what an Apple TV guide might look like, but it could perhaps work similarly to the App Store, with editor-based show recommendations, custom "For You" recommendations based on watched shows, lists of popular television shows, and more, making it easier for customers to discover new television content.

There is no word on when an Apple-designed television guide could be added to the Apple TV and iOS devices, but TV execs that spoke to Recode expressed some hesitation about the idea because it would eliminate their ability to draw customers to their own guides and channel promotion efforts.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: recode.net
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)


Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago

What was that secret that Steve Jobs said when he cracked the TV?


I'm starting to think that he was referring to a time when he threw the remote at it.
Rating: 6 Votes
9 months ago
What was that secret that Steve Jobs said when he cracked the TV? Was this having Apps on Apple TV, Siri, or this digital TV guide?
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago
"Apple's goal is to help users discover all of the different television channels that are available through dedicated apps from companies like HBO, Netflix, and ESPN without the need to open up each app."

It's not opening each app that's the problem. It's paying for each app.
Rating: 4 Votes
9 months ago

What was that secret that Steve Jobs said when he cracked the TV? Was this having Apps on Apple TV, Siri, or this digital TV guide?

He's gone. Who cares at this point?

So they just want to make the Apple TV a set-top box. This does nothing to move the needle forward on getting rid of the cable company middlemen. I can't imagine this is what Steve had in mind with his big idea.


Except Apple offering a package of their own would just make them the middleman. But then you'd still have to deal with a cable or telephone company for your internet access. The TV industry isn't anything like music in the early 2000s. They don't need Apple to come in and "save" them.
Rating: 4 Votes
9 months ago
Wow, I have to hand it to Apple, creative. They didn't give up. They had the channels some to them. They then allow out to have a single sign in. Now Apple just makes a "guide" like service/app. My hope is that eventually Apple offers its own cable "provider" service that I can subscribe to. Then I can ditch cable networks and use my Apple TV only.
Rating: 4 Votes
9 months ago
Definetly needed!

Going from app to app is a hassle.

Siri isn't so great for old fashioned browsing...
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago
You know the feeling when you're browsing the TV guide (on DirecTV, Charter, Time Warner, whoever) and you see a movie that you really want to watch, and when you select the channel and you're presented with a "You aren't subscribed to this channel. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx to change your subscription" message?

I image that's how this will be. Many of the apps on Apple TV require separate subscriptions.
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah .

Fix the damn remote, Apple. I can't even begin to scroll through my 3000 movies without getting a thumb cramp, jumping to random menus, and having to start all over again...and again...and again. Why can't I press and hold to scroll quickly, like I did on the old remote (which you clowns also partially disabled, thanks a lot.)

The new AppleTV is simply the most un-Apple-like product they have ever made. So many badly-designed features in one little product...
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago
Oh wait, forgot, I need Amazon Prime Video. Please, Apple, work something out for me!
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago

Wow, I have to hand it to Apple, creative. They didn't give up. They had the channels some to them. They then allow out to have a single sign in. Now Apple just makes a "guide" like service/app.

The idea of offering a "TV network" API, where a network could put an app on the Apple TV (let the app handle administrative details like authorization - presumably authenticate for free if you have the equivalent cable channels, or subscribe in-app for separate service, like what HBO allows), then have the app use some content-provider API to present series/show/episode metadata and availability, along with handles to the actual content to stream, which could run in an Apple-provided centralized front-end app... that could be pretty cool. And a big step up from where they currently go through the cable companies as a middleman, with the customer mostly getting a terrible ancient grid UI of networks and air-times. Apple's front end app could hand off to the actual TV network app if the content was especially tricky (some interactive show) or if the content provider was clinging that tightly to the old ways. In simpler cases, Apple could handle streaming the content (with proper behind-the-scenes authorization) directly in the app, for a fairly seamless experience. Each network could charge what they wanted for their content, and a lot of them would likely quickly find that no, people really don't want all 27 of your filler channels, just the two good ones, thank you very much. But then the individual networks could try smaller bundles to see what works - essentially selling directly to (and competing for) the actual end users, rather than selling to cable companies. All with convenient one-stop billing through Apple (and, yep, Apple would take a cut, and the size of the cut probably has been one of the sticking points for negotiations). It may not be exactly what Steve Jobs had in mind, but it could be a fairly good direction for TV to go.
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You know the feeling when you're browsing the TV guide (on DirecTV, Charter, Time Warner, whoever) and you see a movie that you really want to watch, and when you select the channel and you're presented with a "You aren't subscribed to this channel. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx to change your subscription" message?

I image that's how this will be. Many of the apps on Apple TV require separate subscriptions.

I hate that too. The difference is, Apple has the opportunity to provide a "show me only what I have access to" toggle (opportunity, not guarantee). Such a thing would make customers happy, and Apple makes money on equipment sales by keeping customers happy, while cable companies want you to see all those things you can't access, as an inducement to pay them more money.
Rating: 2 Votes

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