Apple partners with TV industry on ‘grand vision’

“When Apple wanted to revolutionize cellphones, it held hands with AT&T. The partners fought endlessly, but the public loved the finished product: the iPhone,” Brian Stelter reports for The New York Times. “Now, as Apple tries to reimagine television, it is taking the partnership route again, collaborating with distributors like Time Warner Cable and programmers like the Walt Disney Company on apps that might eliminate the unpleasant parts of TV watching, like bothersome set-top boxes or clunky remote controls.”

“Apple’s broader strategy — what its chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, recently called its ‘grand vision’ for television — remains shrouded in secrecy, as everything Apple-related tends to be,” Stelter reports. “Some analysts continue to predict, as they have for years, that the company will someday come out with a full-blown television set.”

Stelter reports, “Apple last month turned on HBO and ESPN apps for Apple TV owners, much to the delight of all involved. But those work only for people who have an existing cable or satellite subscription. Coming next is an app from Time Warner Cable, allowing some of the company’s 12 million subscribers to watch live and on-demand shows without a separate set-top box. The app will effectively add an Apple layer on top of the TV screen, providing what its proponents say is a programming guide that is far superior to anything offered by Time Warner.”

MacDailyNews Take: Time Warner Cable’s software is an incomprehensible, unworkable, endlessly maddening, steaming pile of pure shit that would embarrass even Microsoft. Steve Ballmer himself – alone, in half a day – could program an interface that is far superior to anything offered by Time Warner Cable. And he doesn’t even know how to write code. It’s really that bad.

Stelter reports, “Apple could choose to market its box more heavily, especially as competition heats up from Amazon and other companies. Or it could eliminate the need for any box at all by building its own TV set. Reports this week that Apple may acquire PrimeSense, a maker of motion-sensing technology that could be used to control a TV without a physical remote, prompted a new round of guessing.”

Read more in the full article here.

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

20 Comments

    1. True. Siri would be a big part. Is Apple aiming to make each cable company become an App on AppleTV? That would completely change the dynamics of the industry. It would create more competition for customers broadly.

      Packaged television would be now packaged in an App. And AppleTV customers would then be able to choose which cable company get their business, not based on region but on price. Interesting thought.

      1. I don’t understand the Siri idea. Presumably the volume of the TV programme would need to mute before you could say anything, everyone else in the room would need to be quiet, and if your TV is some distance from you then you’d need to shout. Do you really want to bark commands at your TV? I think there’s a better solution than voice control (but I don’t know what it is – if I did I’d work for Apple!)

        1. There’s noise cancelation technology that can remove the TV sound so the command will be heard. Understanding the command is a different issue. Siri does have quirks. As for others in the room anyone could change the channel if the TV is always listening.

          1. I get what you’re saying but I just don’t think it’s something most people want. A lot of people, myself included, watch TV with their partner or family or friends. People talk during TV shows and flick through channels while they’re watching a show to see what else is on. I don’t see how voice control would work. If you’re watching TV alone then perhaps it might work. I would love to be able to tell Siri on my iPhone to record a show while I was away from the TV, but as an every day equivalent to a remote I just don’t understand the concept. When Steve Jobs told his biographer that they’d cracked it, I just don’t think it’s Siri. Perhaps I’m missing something?

  1. Again, the key here is going to be third party content. As devices like Apple and Roku are competing for those who want to cut the cord, they’re going to want to move away from the traditional channels and explore more of those indie channels that can put up their content inexpensively. Apple’s behind in this regard right now, but if it can integrate the big name broadcasters with the little guys, it will have a winner.

  2. Is anyone else having trouble with the HBO channel on Apple TV?
    I can bring up the menu and see the available episodes for a particular program. However when I try to select an episode it will not play. This has happened for most but not all episodes of Hung. I haven’t tried another show yet. Also restart the Apple TV and checked for additional updates.

    1. That happened to me once, on a Sunday night. I guessed that HBO’s servers were getting slammed with everyone trying to stream the new Sunday episodes. I think I was right, because it worked fine the next day.

      Short answer: try again the next day and see if you still have the problem.

      ——RM

  3. Oh leave TWC alone.. You know that Java based shit DVR they lease is great with its need for constant reboots, and 10-15 boot up times,

    Ok, back to UVerse, where I do have to pay for HD… But it’s true HD.. Not that compresses shit that TWC is afraid to charge for, It’s hilarious to see some lesser used HD channels degrade in HD quality as they manipulate the bandwidth during, say, the Super Bowl. The funniest part is how they wait for a commercial to “tweak” if needed, to ,make it appear to be a network issue,

    You are spot on with “steaming pile of pure shit…”. Don’t get me started on ther flagrant disregard for Internet security. C0NF1GUR3M3 … What idiots to put the same “God” password on the configuration of their insipid Docsis 2 and 3 modems.

  4. I have TWC and it’s like what cable WAS 10-15 years ago caught in a timewarp of inefficiencies. The DVR and cable box are frustratingly slow and unresponsive. Sometimes the normal basic live cable television feed refuses to come on without warning! A company with the resources of TWC should be utterly ashamed of itself.

    You also couldn’t reserve a higher capacity DVR for yourself you had to show up at their offices at any random day and hope one was available??? WTF? Is THAT anyway to run a cable business? Anyway as you use this crap you mutter under your breath – “Apple could do this SO much better.” And they WILL.

  5. Weird. I hate to be the only one to defend TWC, but their box software has always worked fine for me. Okay, I had it lock up a couple of times a year, but I kind of expect that out of anything not made by Apple. I’d be curious to read a review of TWC’s software to see where the pain points are, because I’m really not experiencing them.

    Or rather I wasn’t, until a software upgrade last week took away the DVR’s fast-forward overshoot correction. The software always had assumed that when you fast-forwarded, you’d overshoot your target, and so it automatically jumped back about 30 seconds from where you stopped. This was a great system once you figured out how it worked, and it worked this way for years. But for some reason they got rid of it last week. Now every time I fast-forward, I have to manually rewind to get to where I want to start watching. It sucks. I hope they bring back the old behavior, or add it back as an option.

    ——RM

  6. Apple working WITH the cable companies to replace the cable box is the ONLY way Apple has a mega hit in TV. Cable customers get ALL the content they get now, over the cable connection they use now (not Internet connection), but using an interface that is an extension of the current Apple TV interface. And they also get the Apple-supplied Apple TV content, over the Internet connection. All in one consolidated and seamless interface.

    And here’s the one aspect that I have not heard mentioned. Subsidy from cable provider. The Apple TV “box” (obviously a new version) can be the “FREE with contract” option. AND, Apple can release their long-rumored complete TV, and have it (partially) subsidized (like iPhone). Then, the up front price tag would match or beat other “dumb” HDTV sets, while Apple has high profit margin (like iPhone). The cable provider can collect the subsidy back from customers on their monthly bill, by replacing the current “rental fee” for the stupid cable box. If you are a cable customer, and you need a new HDTV, why wouldn’t you buy the “iTV”?

    1. That could potentially hurt AppleTV’s chances – if the only new content is from cable TV providers, and they make it contingent on you having a cable subscription to get it, then cord cutters are just going to pass. If you can get the content a la carte, however, that’s a different story. After all, I might be willing to get one or two channels (since I get most of my content on Hulu anyways) but I don’t want to wade through 100 different versions of ESPN.

      1. The reason Apple TV is considered a “hobby” by Apple is because there are not enough “cord cutters” out there, compared to the number of people who pay for cable.

        The Apple TV content that Apple provides over the Internet connection would still be available. The point is for the Apple TV to provide cable content AND Apple’s Internet-based content seamlessly, consolidated into ONE interface.

        Apple would still offer the “regular” $99 Apple TV mini-box, that does not have any cable-related connections or functions. That’s for people who would be satisfied with “a la carte” or use an alternate service, such as TV from the phone company connection or satellite.

  7. Once again, I say putting the “tuner” inside the panel is a really bad idea. The panel should be great display. The AppleTV is a great tuner, with an Internet port and a display port.

    The $100 AppleTV can be upgraded from time-to-time without throwing the $1000 panel in the dump.

    MDN, you need to realize this is the environmentally friendly approach to a great Apple TV.

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