Mark Cuban: An Apple box designed for TV would be game-changer

“Apple’s plans for television will have nothing to do with killing cable companies and everything to do with playing nice with them, famed investor Mark Cuban believes,” Don Reisinger reports for CNET.

“Speaking to Adweek in an interview published today, Cuban said that the idea that Apple would invest its bundles of cash in trying to “blow up cable companies” with its own deals with programmers is pure nonsense.,” Reisinger reports. “‘I think there is zero chance of that happening,’ Cuban said. ‘Apple tries to do everything on commission. It’s not big on upfront deals, and I don’t see that changing.'”

Reisinger reports, “However, Cuban does believe that there’s a possibility Apple could deliver a new Apple TV set-top box that’s designed to complement current cable and satellite services. And that platform could act as a jumping-off point for the company to do other things in the entertainment space.”

Read more in the full article here.

Mike Shields reports for Adweek, “With the future of television up in the air, the HDNet founder shared his thoughts with Adweek on whether Apple is set to reinvent TV.”

If Apple just rolls out a nice set-top box with a cool user interface, is that enough to make any waves?
Yes. This would be the smart approach. Having a set-top box that uses a TV-ready version of iOS that changes the paradigm for user interfaces would create a platform from which Apple could sell content and integrate new options. I don’t think there is any doubt that if Apple released a set-top box that supported authentication for multichannel video programming distributors (like cable and satellite companies), it would be a huge success.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


      1. I don’t see 4K anywhere around the corner for at 10 years except in pro-level editing suites. Too many parties involved:

        1. OEMs have to make the 4K HDTVs–that’s the easy part.
        2. OEMs have to make the 4K cameras, editing gear, etc.
        3. Cable companies need pipes to deliver 4K signal
        4. Networks/Producers need to produce 4K content or remaster 4K content.
        5. Internet service providers need big pipes everywhere to deliver on-demand 4K content
        6. Satellite TV providers would also need to revamp everything for 4K

        And maybe we don’t need a new physical medium but what about 4K BluRay discs and 4K BR Players?

    1. As many think, we need old technology to be added to the Apple TV. DVR is a thing of the past. Apple could just do the time shifting at their new data centres and stream whatever content we want, when we want and even insert relevant targeted commercials to pay for the whole thing. It could be great.

        1. Apple has never shied away from creating a great consume experience because of cost. Those who cannot afford to get high speed internet will be able to continue to use their old cable boxes or antennas but the time has come to stream the content we want when we want to consume it.

          Just imagine the internet if it were run by the cable companies. You would have to wait for the schedule that they decided on to allow you to view certain pages and would charge you a premium for popular pages. They would have completely prevented the internet. Remember AOL? They were trying to turn it into a TV ‘channel’ type experience.

          1. Too bad you don’t understand the complexities of broadcasting.
            For Apple to stream any content, even if delayed, qualifies them as broadcasters and would have to pay retransmission fees.

            Also, for the most part, cable companies DO run the Internet….

            1. I believe that Apple is in talks right now to gain the rights to various tv programs. Any fees may be taken care of by ads and/or user payments. Think Netflix streaming as an example of it in its infancy.

            2. I’m sorry, but you are dreaming. Netflix is killing cable and satellite. That revenue HAS to be made up, so while Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others are great now, they ALL will be charging more in the near future to offset loses Hollywood is suffering from cable and satellite.

              Also, local off-airs are driving up cable bills (per sub) and will not go back to their old commercial-driven revenue. They will continue to raise prices along with ESPN, FOX, CNN and others.

              Apple’s best bet is to offer set tops as Cuban has described. They may go a different path, but that one is an assured revenue generator.

            3. How big is Google? They are driven almost exclusively by ad revenues and make money with targeted ads. The TV industry has been fuelled by broad based ads and Apple could take over the content distribution with targeted ads that would be more palatable and more profitable. Advertisers like to advertise only to people who will buy their products or services. (I know that I will never influence my wife’s choice of feminine pad and I don’t want to see the commercial)

              We both agree that a box that connects to your existing screen is the answer but Steve Jobs thought he came up with the solution which I believe is content when you want that is easy to find and paid without having to choose (credit card linked accounts)

          2. The real issue is the bandwidth caps, not being able to “afford to get high speed internet”.

            And Comcast (or Xfinity or whatever they are calling themselves these days) and Time Warner Cable are two of the largest Internet providers…

            1. You may not recall that in the early days of the internet, there were many who were trying to convince the users to limit the size of emails and stop sending images because it took up too much bandwidth. If they had their way, we would still be using teletype.

              We don’t all have to have full bandwidth for the concept to fly. Those who can afford it will be the leaders just like the early days of TV. Not everyone had a TV.

            2. I’ve been online since before the internet, so I definitely remember those days.

              And *I* personally have more bandwidth than I know what to do with (I have an unlimited bandwidth 50down/10up business internet connection at home).

              My only point is that it will still be a while before this concept (even the current AppleTV or other streaming set-top boxes) goes truly mass market, as there are some fundamental changes that need to happen – the majority of people don’t have unlimited bandwidth, even if they do have the necessary speed available.

              I’m a big proponent of the model personally – I have 3 AppleTVs.

    2. The biggest issue is not content delivery or additional potential features Apple could bring, it’s changing the view about how TV shows are funded and viewed.

      Networks, show creators, and advertisers have a model of shows airing at a certain time, the better (more viewed) shows selling premium ad time, and show creators pitching shows to studios and networks.

      Consumers are used to shows being on at certain times, and big shows create big events, etc. Some of this thinking has changed more with DVRs (even more than with VCRs), but people still anticipate the next episode, cliffhangers for season finales, and buzz about the next episode taking place during the week (like with The Walking Dead, Lost, etc.). Control of delivering those will be important, but delivery times could require changed viewing habits.

      Nothing insurmountable, but definitely much more than who gets to deliver the content to consumers.

  1. IF that so-called set top box had an iSight camera and microphone built in, then yes, it would be killer. Internet connected TVs are already being sold with this feature. Skype and Facetime on your HD TV is a must for this to succeed…

    1. Those things can be done with a higher end Apple TV box first. I would just love to replace my cable box with something that makes it a lot easier to control my cable service but even that may already be an outmoded idea with so many people quitting cable for alternatives.

  2. This makes SO much more sense than the undead myth of an Apple television set. A beefier AppleTV has always made more sense.

    I just looked at the BestBuy site and 40″ to 59″ HDTVs…
    There are 209, with prices ranging from about $349 to $3000. There were a few outdoor TVs for up to $7500.

    Apple will never get down in the mud and compete with the likes of Sanyo, LG, Westinghouse and Coby.

    1. I agree, especially because what would an Apple TV set be but a large screen with an AppleTV built in. That severely limits Apple’s ability to sell you new hardware for several years, because most people won’t update their TV unless they really need to (i.e., it dies or there is a massive shift in technology, like to flat panel TVs).

  3. The big question I have is if Apple would support the addition of DVR features in their set top box. Otherwise, I don’t see mass market adoption, no matter how nice the interface. I love my AppleTVs, but the first thing people ask is if it can record. I have TiVos for that.

    I realize that the DVR model goes counter to Apple’s desired iTunes streaming model.

    A set-top box from Apple with the AppleTV interface, DVR functions, apps, and FaceTime would definitely be a game changer, and would put the final nail in TiVo’s coffin (even though I really like TiVo – I’ve been on board since the very first 14 hour box, back when it was TiVo and ReplayTV in the space).

    Even without DVR functionality though, apps and FaceTime would be a step in the right direction.

    Although AppleTV is already successful by any other company’s standard.

  4. I think what Cuban and others say reflects that they are scared sh_tless about Apple entering the media / media distribution space as they entered and ultimately dominated the music distribution space. Stay tuned. I doubt that Apple TV will be Apple’s last move, nor will they be content to be a Roku / Tivo.

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