How Apple will kill cable TV

“I have a new theory about Apple. No, it’s really a reverse engineering of their larger mission, a unified theory of Apple that explains everything the company does,” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld.

“Here it is: Apple’s mission is to replace old-and-busted content-consumption products and services with new-hotness Apple solutions,” Elgan writes. “The company is like a shark in the water, seeking out weak and wounded content-delivery systems.”

Elgan writes, “The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that ‘people familiar with the matter’ say Apple is working on ‘new technology to deliver video to televisions” and may “launch a subscription TV service.’

“The article says that former Apple CEO and current Chairman Steve Jobs ‘often criticizes, in public and in private, the experience of watching TV as clumsy and bad for consumers” and says that the “existing system, where consumers get content from different cable and satellite providers that use different technologies, makes it difficult to innovate,'” Elgan writes. “Translation: ‘We are going to kill cable TV.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple working on new TV technology, say sources – August 26, 2011
Apple world’s most valuable company. Its next trick? TV – August 9, 2011
Analyst: Apple expected to launch 3 HDTV models by March 2012 – August 1, 2011
Analyst: Apple’s entrance into HDTV market could boost market cap by $100 billion – July 11, 2011


    1. I would just be happy for them to figure out a way for me to watch the NFL game of my choice on Sunday afternoon on my TV without having to buy and install a stupid ass dish or watching a postage stamp size pirate feed on my laptop.

  1. Unless Apple buys a delivery system, such as Sprint, Dish, or use the ‘White Spaces’ of spectrum, they will not kill off cable.

    They may offer a different way to get content THROUGH cable, or work with them to sell a better set top box, but as long as cable controls the delivery, Apple cannot “kill” cable TV.

    1. You are so right. I got rid of cable television about a year ago yet I still pay my cable company a nice chunk of change every month for my internet. If more people dump cable TV, the cable companies are going to jack up the rate on their internet service even more to make up for the lost revenue. The real key is the delivery system. Until we have real competition in the truly high-speed space the consumer will continue to be held hostage by the cable companies.

      1. You are spot on with your assumption about the current content delivery systems and the internet. Less computation means less choices and generally higher prices for consumers.

        We ARE headed to ALL services being delivered via IP, be it a cable modem, dsl modem, or thru some Wi-Fi. As soon as business embrace this idea, and they will, being dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of it… then we actually may see internet in the US that rivals other nations for price and speed…

        Until then we are stuck with overpriced, oversold, and underperforming internet service, and worthless bundled TV offerings.

        I cut my cable at home about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I’d be happy to PAY for TV, but only under 2 circumstances:

        The first is that I get to choose exactly what channels I want to receive and pay for… NO BUNDLING.

        The second is that I get ALL the channels, including top tier pay channels like HBO, but I only get charged for the amount of TV that I actually watch. Kind of like water and electricity, and soon to be internet.

        Like either one is ever going to happen…

  2. We cut the cord in January. Our HDTV has an Apple TV (black streaming version) and an old white Macbook connected. The Apple TV gets all the current TV we’re interested in, plus Netflix and Youtube. The Macbook gets everything else on the internet. There are iPhone remote apps for both. There’s not much I miss about old fashioned TV.

  3. If I were Apple I would:
    * Buy Time Warner
    * Buy a network ( NBC, or CBS, or FOX, etc)
    * Offer subscriptions to shows on my network
    * Kill download limits on my ISP
    * Tell the other networks and ISPs to join in or die, and tell them I have no intention of keeping the network or TW once the situation has reached something reasonable and looks like it will stay that way

  4. Bullets to put in the gun to kill cable TV:

    1. A la carte selection (you don’t have to subsidize Home Shopping Network, Al Jazerra or the deer-hunting channel)
    2. No advertising on channels you pay for (this is how it was for Cable TV when it started). Hype between hour marks (upcoming shows, etc.) is OK
    3. Ability to access ALL major sporting events in real time
    4. Free local channels
    5. No “pop-up” advertising or hype during programming

    1. So basically a massively expensive cable bill?

      Cable didn’t run commercials because it cost them very little to basically rebroadcast an exiting signal. That changed over 20 years ago now they have to pay the companies who own the channels they carry

    2. You obviously have no idea how much money networks and cable channels make in ad revenue. Without ad revenue, a subscription only model would be so expensive that either no one would buy it or the quality of shows would plummet.

  5. They will create a TV show store where anyone can create a channel and get paid via iAds or by subscription or both. Think about it. My alma mater doesn’t have a nationwide TV deal so I can’t watch every game on TV. After the TV show store debuts, iCAN!

    1. This idea makes sense in light of the App Store and the SDK system for iPads & iPhones. AND it is so far from the pack that it will catch them all unawares. It might be a part of our new TV world. Anything to get rid of advertising @ 30% of content would be a plus.

    2. Content and distribution via iCloud, and the app controls the gate. Simple.

      Demonstrated to great effect by the iTunes 2011 London concert series in July.


  6. The silver bullet is new streaming tech that uses less bandwidth, without reductions in viewing quality. You will see. There is more to the new data center than just storage.

  7. The problem that will persist (and the only reason I haven’t cut the cord) is access to live sporting events. The networks and cable are in bed with the pro leagues and other sporting events. I mean, I have the MLB app for my iPhone and iPad, Time Warner Crapple, but can’t watch a local game, why is that???

    1. Agreed. Sporting events are a big hurdle. I went from cable to satellite in order to see Cincinnati Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio, but I can’t watch games on MLB at bat 2011 when I’m out of the house on my iPad because of blackout restrictions, which makes no sense. That kind of clunky experience needs to be fixed but I don’t see how Apple can do it.

  8. I love how all these comments about killing cable, buying comms companies or setting up their own only concern America. You do realise that the world spins about it’s axis, not Boise, Idaho, don’t you?

      1. These days, everything is a threat to national security.

        Especially progress.

        I wonder if people are ever going to get a clue that the greatest threat to “national security” is those in power.

        “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

          1. Bingo.

            From Lightsquared’s website:

            “Today wireless communications in the U.S. are dominated by a handful of cellular telephone companies. With the creation of LightSquared and its wholesale-only business model, America will finally see greater competition in the wireless marketplace.”

            It would shatter the existing telecom monopolies. Alternative cell carriers, TV providers, radio providers, and ISPs would pop up overnight and grow like weeds. But with all the money that the old, entrenched content monopolists “lobby” politicians with to make things go in their favour, we simply can’t have that, and Lightsquared gets declared a threat to national security.

            i.e. a threat to the corporations that bribe Senator Grassley, and so an indirect threat to his precious, precious wallet.

            While there does(did?) exist a clash between LS and the GPS spectrum, LS isn’t going anywhere until the clash is actually fixed(this sums the whole situation up pretty well). So the supposed danger of it going online and wreaking havoc with GPS signals is bullshit because it isn’t going online as long as that’s an issue. FUD, anyone?

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