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Apple iTV a Set-Top With Live, On-Demand Content?

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 16 comments

Apple's iTV service may involve a web-based DVR for storing and playing live content from cable operators.

The Wall Street Journal is the latest to add to the iTV rumor, with inside sources telling the paper that the device will erase the distinction between live and on-demand content. They claim it will feature a DVR service that stores TV shows in the cloud so that users can start any show at any time, or restart a show minutes after it has begun, similar to Time Warner's Start Over feature.

The paper also reports that Apple has been talking with cable operators, including Time Warner Cable, to let subscribers replace their current set-top boxes with Apple's own solution for live television and other content. The fruity company has also reportedly approached content owners with an outline of what Apples wants the device to do in regards to their media.

Insiders report that some of the proposed new services -- including the web-based DVR -- reside outside the existing rights over TV content cable operators currently have. To make everyone happy, content owners will need to expand the rights of cable operators so that the Apple box can be deployed. Apple may also need to negotiate with content owners to bring past seasons of shows it already offers through iTunes to the set-top box.

Sources report that the relationship between Apple, cable operators and content owners still remain tense, and the company still hasn't sold the idea to operators. It's quest to transform the TV industry thus remains stagnant, as operators and content owners are worried that Apple will dominate this sector just as it has with smartphones and tablets.

Most of what the Wall Street Journal described on Friday is nothing new: a user interface similar to what's offered on the iPhone and iPad, social features embedded on the screen such as sharing shows via Twitter and Facebook, and accessing media through a host of other Apple products. Previous reports have even indicated that Apple wants users to start a show on one device, and pick up on another.

At one time, talk about Apple's rumored iTV stemmed around an actual HDTV with a built-in iOS operating system, Siri and motion sensing technology. That may still indeed be the case given that several people have actually seen this device. But Apple may also be looking to offer a cheaper set-top box, following Google's Google TV efforts of offering both form factors. The set-top box could still contain all the features found in the pricier HDTV model, just without the screen.

The paper reports that talk about the iTV gadget arrives as sales of Apple's current set-top product, the $99 Apple TV, are "picking up but are still small." In the last quarter that ended in June, Apple reportedly sold only 1.3 million units. The device is more like a web streamer than a multimedia cable box, offering some internet video and services like Hulu Plus and Netflix.

 

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  • 8 Hide
    scannall , August 19, 2012 10:17 PM
    Before the iPhone, the carriers dictated to the phone manufacturers what phones would have, what carrier "goodies" (i.e. bloat) they would ship with, and what they would pay. The iPhone shattered that paradigm. Love or hate Apple, you do have a lot more choice in handsets because that business model was shattered.

    There are fewer competitors in any given location for TV service. Plus you have the extra layer of content creators fogging up the picture. But if they can get either DirecTV or Dish to go along with them, like they did with AT&T getting an exclusive then they might be able to break TV service as well.
  • -3 Hide
    Ragnarock , August 19, 2012 10:43 PM
    I bet this thing will look amazing as with all apple products but i dont think it will sell well because you can get a similar sized TV with the apple TV for a lot less.
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , August 19, 2012 10:58 PM
    Something needs to change. Cable TV operators were forced to make CableCARDs available to the general public without the cable box, but there are few compatible devices actually available to consumers for CableCARDs. So, the monopoly that CableCARD regulations were intended to break, still exists thanks to cable box manufacturers. I'll happily support Apple in destroying this monopoly.

    RagnarockI bet this thing will look amazing as with all apple products but i dont think it will sell well because you can get a similar sized TV with the apple TV for a lot less.

    The article isn't talking about a TV at all, rather a device like a cable box that integrates the features of the "Apple TV" device. It also doesn't mention pricing at all, outside of the "Apple TV" device.
  • 0 Hide
    Ragnarock , August 19, 2012 11:11 PM
    yeah read this wrong i have been hearing rumors of the actual apple Television which i was referring to
  • 2 Hide
    sacre , August 20, 2012 12:09 AM
    otacon72Um I can already do everything listed in the article with my current DVR box. What do I need iTV for? No matter...the iSheep will buy it.


    "iSheep" Yes, try and separate yourself from the crowd to make yourself feel higher up than others.

    Like a little kid getting mad at another kid for "Liking the red sucker" instead of the blue.

    Such a child. Grow up.
  • 4 Hide
    scannall , August 20, 2012 1:04 AM
    otacon72Baaaaaaaa haha They are iSheep...they over pay for underpowered hardware. Answer me this...what can iTV do that my current DVR not do Mr. iSheep?


    Considering these articles are all guesses and conjecture it's fair to say nobody knows.

    Oh, and underpowered? Really? http://www.anandtech.com/show/6126/glbenchmark-25-performance-on-ios-and-android-devices
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , August 20, 2012 2:05 AM
    scannallBefore the iPhone, the carriers dictated to the phone manufacturers what phones would have, what carrier "goodies" (i.e. bloat) they would ship with, and what they would pay. The iPhone shattered that paradigm. Love or hate Apple, you do have a lot more choice in handsets because that business model was shattered.There are fewer competitors in any given location for TV service. Plus you have the extra layer of content creators fogging up the picture. But if they can get either DirecTV or Dish to go along with them, like they did with AT&T getting an exclusive then they might be able to break TV service as well.

    You are correct, if you add "US" in front of the "carriers". This paradigm has been eliminated in most of the world a long time ago. People have been allowed to bring their own unlocked devices to GSM networks pretty much all over Europe and much of the rest of the world. Just now US is catching up with that, albeit at a very slow pace, given that CDMA networks are pretty much still dominating here, and if a network refuses to register an unlocked phone of their network, the customer is SOL. With GSM, once people realized they can take the card out of one phone and put it in another one, that paradigm ceased to exist. I would give credit to the SIM card system.
    Even before Apple, for instance, I have never used a subsidized phone on AT&T. Preferred to buy it unlocked, got the SIM card from the cheapest phone you could get from the carrier and inserted in my unlocked Moto Razr. While on trips to Europe I just removed the card and inserted a locally prepaid one.
    otacon72Um I can already do everything listed in the article with my current DVR box. What do I need iTV for? No matter...the iSheep will buy it.

    Please, stop with the name-calling. Not cool. You can make your point without resorting to childish behavior.
  • -1 Hide
    hella-d , August 20, 2012 5:40 AM
    i agree atacon72, to he-double hokey sticks with apple...

    "apples are for pies not computing" - me
  • 2 Hide
    ericburnby , August 20, 2012 6:28 AM
    otacon72Um I can already do everything listed in the article with my current DVR box. What do I need iTV for? No matter...the iSheep will buy it.


    You can record an infinite number of shows as there's no limit to storage. You can also record as many simultaneous shows as you like since the shows aren't streamed to your local DVR for storage on the internal drive. "Recorded" shows are stored in the cloud and are streamed to you when you watch it. This way, shows being "recorded" don't suck up your bandwidth. No more "record up to 2 shows while watching a 3rd" like so many current services do.

    That's two I could come up with based on the limited information available so far.
  • 0 Hide
    nitrium , August 20, 2012 6:48 AM
    Nothing above leads me to believe this will be superior to what eztv already offers. Someone had to say. They are trying to compete with zeropaid, whether they like it or not.
  • 1 Hide
    richarduk , August 20, 2012 8:23 AM
    They can't use the name iTV, already been in use since before Apple even existed. ITV is a global TV company producing TV shows all over the world, how can Apple expect to ignore this? No hang on, it's apple, they'll just claim they invented the name.............
  • 0 Hide
    torque79 , August 20, 2012 12:51 PM
    ericburnbyYou can record an infinite number of shows as there's no limit to storage. You can also record as many simultaneous shows as you like since the shows aren't streamed to your local DVR for storage on the internal drive. "Recorded" shows are stored in the cloud and are streamed to you when you watch it. This way, shows being "recorded" don't suck up your bandwidth. No more "record up to 2 shows while watching a 3rd" like so many current services do.That's two I could come up with based on the limited information available so far.


    The problem with this method is that all of the shows are then streamed to your digital box via your internet connection, and most internet providers now have bandwidth caps. Imagine streaming EVERY SHOW YOU WATCH. This leads to two possibilities:
    1. the quality of these streamed shows will be poor in order to limit used bandwidth
    2. more and more consumers will encounter the draconian bandwidth caps implemented by the majority of carriers in NA.
  • 0 Hide
    getreal , August 20, 2012 1:12 PM
    Not sure I understand where Apple is going with this approach, but I trust in them to make a solid product, like always. If they can revolutionize the TV industry like they have the phone, PC, digital music player, and digital sales industries, then I am set to make a killing on my shares!
  • 2 Hide
    getreal , August 20, 2012 1:16 PM
    Also, I am still hoping for an actual television set from Apple with Sharp technology. I have two SamSUCK sets that have the bad capacitor issue, and SamSUCK won't honor their crap product and fix it. My Sony set works beautifully (great products), but I really need to replace the two Suck sets. Probably Craigslist for a couple of hundred bucks.

    An Apple set would likely be a SHARP aquos with Apple industrial design and badging, plus it's revolutionary new TV software. That is something I could dig. Sony and Sharp make really great TV sets.
  • 0 Hide
    angryfingertips , August 20, 2012 4:07 PM
    richardukThey can't use the name iTV, already been in use since before Apple even existed. ITV is a global TV company producing TV shows all over the world, how can Apple expect to ignore this? No hang on, it's apple, they'll just claim they invented the name.............


    You are right that iTV is owned by someone else. This article is wrong, it should have been referred to as Apple TV. Look at the box it has an apple then the word TV.
  • 0 Hide
    ericburnby , August 21, 2012 3:23 AM
    torque79The problem with this method is that all of the shows are then streamed to your digital box via your internet connection, and most internet providers now have bandwidth caps. Imagine streaming EVERY SHOW YOU WATCH. This leads to two possibilities:1. the quality of these streamed shows will be poor in order to limit used bandwidth2. more and more consumers will encounter the draconian bandwidth caps implemented by the majority of carriers in NA.

    Your shows are already being streamed to your box over an internet connection. The cable companies are just not charging you for bandwidth used to stream their own content vs bandwidth used for your other internet activities, something that they are starting to get into trouble for.

    How can a cable company say that you could use 500GB of TV streaming a month and not pay and then turn around and charge you if you go over 100GB of internet data? Clearly they are being anti-competitive to make it difficult for companies that offer streaming (like Netflix) by placing their data under the cap while their own TV data is limitless.

    Besides, I think caps will be coming to an end soon. My internet providers have recently made significant increases to their bandwidth caps and even have unlimited plans. Google is trying to get into the provider business with their gigabit fibre. I thin the days of providers being able to put caps on data will soon be coming to an end. Their business model is a dinosaur, and if they don't change they'll get rolled over by newer companies (like Google).