Apple shifts to hardware-first TV strategy with revamped set-top box

“Apple is gearing up to launch a revamped Apple TV, but will not push into the television market this year, as many assumed, according to new reports,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“The project to make Apple TV a comprehensive set-top box, perhaps sold to consumers, perhaps in bulk to cable providers, has been forced on Apple by the cable companies’ and content makers’ unwillingness to cede control to the Cupertino, Calif. company, said Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal in stories yesterday,” Keizer reports. “That Apple is apparently not diving into the smart television market this year was also an indication that the company is leery of entering a space where margins are tight and sales have slowed.”

“The ultimate goal of ‘smart TV,’ or ‘interactive TV’ as it’s also called — the ability to call up any program at any time, perhaps paying for each program separately rather than have to subscribe to a broad swath of content — is targeted advertising, said Aram Sinnreich, a media professor at Rutgers University,” Keizer reports. “‘The Holy Grail is advertising that knows who is in the living room and what they want, then provides them with information for buying,’ said Sinnreich. ‘Those are the missing pieces that the cable companies don’t have… The question is who’s going to be providing the link from the channel to the living room, and how it will be monetized. So maybe Apple will retrench [its plans] and do what it does best, make awesome devices with a high profit margin.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
This isn’t the Apple TV that Steve Jobs ‘finally cracked’ – or is it? – February 13, 2014
Apple in talks to revamp Apple TV set top box; scaled-back plans would rely on cable providers – February 13, 2014
Steve Jobs’ told biographer: ‘I finally cracked’ the secret to an easy-to-use integrated HDTV – October 21, 2011


  1. Apple would not avoid the TV market because it was leery of slim margins and slowing sales. Apple would view that as an opportunity to re-invent the TV market and solve consumers’ complaints about current TVs.

    If Steve Jobs truly “solved” the TV, then the only reason Apple hasn’t released a TV yet is because either the price to make what Apple deems “Apple worthy” (and thus consumer worthy) is too high to realistically sell TVs. Let’s face it, a TV made by Apple that made TV viewing easier and more enjoyable would be great, but not if it cost twice what another high-end TV costs (especially if you still needed a cable/satellite provider).

    Apple won’t let something like a stagnant market stop it from entering one, unless Apple doesn’t feel its product is a quantum leap forward. And if that’s the case, Apple won’t even bother to make it.

  2. Apple should buy Aero allowing full support for local live over air digital programming plus recording for replay. That along with a subscription service to Apple content would provide a very nice cut the cable approach. If Aero wins their Supreme Court case look for some good things to happen.

  3. But when you have to license the content from NBC, CBS, etc they are not going to deal and loose money. They have a monopoly now, why ruin it! All they care about is money money money not the consumer experience like Apple. Now that Comcast owns NBC, I doubt any deal will be made and now the will own Time Warner….nice! The FCC better block that one like the NBC should have been!

  4. The digital switchover in the UK has driven sales of flatscreens and smart TVs.
    That demand will not now be there unless the new TV is a complete gamechanger. An iMac with Eye TV Freeview is a great 2nd TV and DVR. Apart from us ‘Mac-heads’ is yet another cable/Satellite/Netflix entrant really going to stir up the market?

  5. Apple actually did the same thing with the iPod, iPhone and the iPad. Started with the hardware and then expanded the base with content, iTunes and app store.
    Apple strategy is to introduce the platform first and then the add ons, I believe. Apple has done that successfully before.
    A new Apple TV setup box may be the introduction of a new platform for TV, games, entertainment and apps that will expand over coming years. I mean, it took awhile for the music industry to get comfortable with iTunes, and it will take some time for the TV and media market to get comfortable with a new platform. It won’t happen over night.

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