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Don't Expect an Apple HDTV Anytime Soon

By - Source: Fortune | B 29 comments

Apple's iTV HDTV may not happen for quite some time.

Fortune reports that Apple may not release the rumored iTV -- or at least the HDTV version -- for quite some time. This is based on a "company update" issued on Friday by Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves. He attended a meeting on Wednesday with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Eddy Cue, senior VP for Internet services and software.

According to Hargreaves, the Apple execs supposedly talked about its HDTV efforts and how difficult it has been to acquire rights from content owners and broadcasters. In short, the vision of changing the living room doesn't seem to be on Apple's world domination plans in the immediate future -- at least, not in the form on an HDTV. However, given recent rumors, Apple may still attempt to transform the television sector with a revamped set-top box first. Once everything falls into place, the company may push forward with an actual HDTV.

Regardless, here is the note from Hargreaves which echoes what Apple has said all along: it won't enter the TV sector until the company can secure the necessary rights to fulfill its vision -- a vision that's seemingly scaring content owners, networks and cable operators:

Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company's mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue's commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple's perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.

Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point.

The latest report surrounding the rumored iTV project is that Apple wants to offer 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.

One of the many problems Apple is reportedly facing is that some of the proposed 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. But the relationship between Apple, cable operators and content owners still remain tense because the latter parties are worried Apple will control the entertainment sector much like it has with the smartphone and tablet sectors.

That said, Apple's transformation of the living room may be an extremely slow one. The company is currently trying to sell the idea of replacing current set-top boxes provided by cable operators with its iTV device. It would offer an iOS-based interface, Siri integration, and motion sensing to eliminate the remote. Mobile devices -- by way of apps -- would help control channel selection as well, similar to the way current apps from Time Warner Cable and other operators already provide.

The new device is rumored to be making an appearance alongside the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPod refreshes, but we're betting this will be a transformed Apple TV set-top box for now.

 

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    winie , August 26, 2012 2:04 AM
    I hope Samsung has enough patents on tvs to get back at apple
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    antilycus , August 26, 2012 2:04 AM
    I haven't had any TV, even over the air, since they switched to digtial OTA. I haven't missed a single show or watched many commercials (Comedy Central's excluded). The content owners are continuously shooting themselves in the foot, just waiting to be replaced by the next greatest thing (maybe even comedy central). The industry, it's viewers and it's advertisers are all changing with times. As long as content holders and content providers continue to live in the 90's they will dye before 2020.
  • 20 Hide
    winie , August 26, 2012 2:04 AM
    I hope Samsung has enough patents on tvs to get back at apple
  • 3 Hide
    master_chen , August 26, 2012 2:07 AM
    Quote:
    Don't expect an Apple TV

    Like anyone ever would.
  • -3 Hide
    southernshark , August 26, 2012 2:11 AM
    Apple invented HD TV, or will anyway.
  • 9 Hide
    nukemaster , August 26, 2012 2:23 AM
    southernsharkApple invented HD TV, or will anyway.

    Then sue all the makers of similar looking TV's(rectangular thin devices).
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2012 2:36 AM
    They cannot call it iTV! ITV here in the UK will sue the pants off apple as ITV is a trademark in the UK nad has been around for Yonks!
  • 6 Hide
    confish21 , August 26, 2012 2:40 AM
    itv sd lol! I dont even dl sd porn.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 26, 2012 2:50 AM
    I still maintain that Apple would not like to, and have no business wading into the TV manufacturing sector. As much as TV makers have tried recently with Smart TVs, it is still just a medium for showing information - and as such Apple would gain nothing from it.
  • 2 Hide
    Camikazi , August 26, 2012 3:30 AM
    moriconThey cannot call it iTV! ITV here in the UK will sue the pants off apple as ITV is a trademark in the UK nad has been around for Yonks!

    Well iOS, iPad and iPhone were all around before Apple as well but they got them anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    molo9000 , August 26, 2012 4:03 AM
    otacon72Of course not. Apple is going to release a non-HD verson first and milk the iSheep for all they are worth then release the "new and improved" HD version a few months later to milk them even more. Typical Apple.

    Herp derp you haven't even read the article beyond the first sentence, have you?

    Apple going into the TV business is silly anyway. Competition is high, prices are low, profit margins are tiny, no useful innovation possible and the market is already saturated because everyone and their mum already got a big ass HDTV.

    Even some sort of smartTV with voice recognition, etc. isn't going to make people rush out and pay for an one-size-fits-all Apple branded TV.
    The only way forward is an inexpensive set top box that hooks up to every TV, projector, whatever and provides all the content you want including live sports coverage etc., whenever you want.
    Whoever gets all the content into one easy to live with service/set-top-box wins this game.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2012 5:08 AM
    If Apple released an HDTV, Samsung should sue them if it's shaped like a rectangle.
  • 3 Hide
    nukemaster , August 26, 2012 5:27 AM
    Quote:
    Well iOS, iPad and iPhone were all around before Apple as well but they got them anyway.

    ahhh why do companies cave so easy to Apple.

    ios. = Cisco router and managed switch OS forever.
    iPad = Fujitsu retail scanner(UPC) and handheld device. Go check out any store with a "Self Checkout"
    Iphone = Cisco(Voip Phone) and Linksys(Owned by Cisco)
  • 1 Hide
    wildwell , August 26, 2012 5:33 AM
    winieI hope Samsung has enough patents on tvs to get back at apple

    Yup, they could totally flex their muscle controlling patents on TVs.

    Honestly though, Samsung probably hopes any new kind of Apple TV does well so they can get their $crilla back closing a deal to sell Apple all the chips and reigniting their stock price.
  • -4 Hide
    redzoneos , August 26, 2012 6:12 AM
    i don't understand the negative comments towards Apple. I truly hope that Apple can make this a reality and have multi channel cable tv go the way of the dinosaur. I would much rather pay 40-50 dollars for a few channels that I watch frequently instead of paying 100+ for 99999999 crap channels I've never heard of.
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , August 26, 2012 6:23 AM
    winieI hope Samsung has enough patents on tvs to get back at apple

    Except that Samsung can't legally refuse to license any television related patents to Apple. Any patents that are necessary to compete in any industry, are required by law to be licensed.
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , August 26, 2012 10:02 AM
    moriconThey cannot call it iTV! ITV here in the UK will sue the pants off apple as ITV is a trademark in the UK nad has been around for Yonks!

    If Apple wanted the iTV moniker they'd just swallow the UK's ITV. Really.
  • 3 Hide
    theconsolegamer , August 26, 2012 12:53 PM
    sykozisExcept that Samsung can't legally refuse to license any television related patents to Apple. Any patents that are necessary to compete in any industry, are required by law to be licensed.

    You mean like rectangles with rounded edges?
  • 0 Hide
    scannall , August 26, 2012 2:38 PM
    I suppose they could buy Dish Network pretty cheap. Then make a hostile takeover bid on a content creator or two to get the rest to fall in line. That would be a last resort though. At some point the current TV model will have to change, as more and more people are cutting the cable, and not paying anything. Or at least very little.
  • 2 Hide
    freggo , August 26, 2012 3:55 PM
    halcyonIf Apple wanted the iTV moniker they'd just swallow the UK's ITV. Really.


    Not necessarily. Apple is not that big a company actually (don't get duped by the bloated stock value).
    Also, (don't know for the UK) many countries do not even allow for foreigners to control certain key industries. Imagine an American owning a Russian TV station or vice versa !
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , August 26, 2012 4:03 PM
    scannallI suppose they could buy Dish Network pretty cheap. Then make a hostile takeover bid on a content creator or two to get the rest to fall in line. That would be a last resort though. At some point the current TV model will have to change, as more and more people are cutting the cable, and not paying anything. Or at least very little.


    Owning a 'network' doesn't do you much good if you have no content.
    And buying a content creator like Sony for instance is not as easy as you may think.
    Furthermore, even if you buy one, you now have to learn a new market and how to compete in it.
    "Compete" being the key word. Apple does not like to compete; they prefer monopolies; like Microsoft.
    Only that M$ has gotten them beaten by a mile and then some. i.e.
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