Could Apple make cable TV cool again?

“The user interface on most cable boxes would never cut it on a smartphone. In fact, most bank ATMs have better designed menus than Comcast, Time Warner, and Cablevision,” Quentin Fottrell writes for MarketWatch. “Which may be why Comcast is exploring a deal with Apple — streamlined and intuitive designs might make TV cool again, and keep some customers from cutting the cord.”

“Apple Inc. is in early talks with Comcast Inc. about a new joint set-top box to stream live and on-demand TV and movies through a ‘managed service,'” Fottrell writes. “An Apple/Comcast set-top box could allow consumers to scroll and search through Apple and Comcast listings as if they were on a tablet computer, and integrate with other Apple devices with a higher quality picture, says technology consultant Jeff Kagan. ‘This is the polar opposite of cutting the cord,’ he says. ‘The big problem with streaming is quality issues caused by hiccups in data delivery.'”

“Apple is already taking steps to build its own content delivery network — servers that carry content across the Internet, says Dan Rayburn, a principal analyst with Frost & Sullivan,” Fottrell writes. “What is clear, he says: Apple is experiencing performance issues with the iCloud. ‘I’m most interested to learn the strategy Apple takes with regards to whether or not they work directly with Internet service providers and the decisions they make on the type of content they plan to deliver,’ Rayburn says. Apple already controls the hardware, the operating system, as well as the iTunes/App store. ‘Right now they control the entire customer experience, except for the way content is delivered to their devices,’ he adds.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Siri searchable instant streaming with all you can eat fixed price per month andintegrated iWatch microphone command and gesture inhanced UI and games as well.

  2. I cut the cord 19 years ago and never looked back. Now we have Netflix and Hulu and the internet for news. Die cable channels and cable programming. Stream what we want, when we want it and let us pay for what we watch with targeted personal preference ads or micro-payments.

    1. Yes, and while you’re at it, figure out ubiquitous, cheap internet pathways for all that. A satellite service here, a national cellular provider there should do the job nicely.

      1. There is plenty of dark fibre out there still and the ‘last mile’ problems of the past have been solved. We already have high speed streams to our homes and can only realistically watch one show at a time. The delivery systems are always falling short of the content and desire but the infrastructure is always in the process of upgrading.

        The problem has been the desire to change the status quo. On the other hand, your solution of “meh” is perfect. I hope it works

        1. I don’t invest enough effort in MDN to have a clue about your particular location or connectivity situation, although I recognize your name. First off, I can see you might take what I said as a personal affront. My error. Cord cutting is the way to go and I envy your situation.

          You entirely misunderstand my response. It’s far from meh, it’s a BFD that vast swaths of the US have crap or less for connectivity and no hope for improvement in the near future. And it’s far more than the last mile.

          That Apple is so committed to the cloud as the end all information distribution system is a PITA. Major OSX and iOS updates require a drive (75-100 miles) to the nearest Apple Store and camping for several hours to get all my devices back up to snuff. Watching casual entertainment via streaming connections is not going to happen for a lot of people. Our best hope is a well stocked Red Box. Broadcast with Digital TV is marginal in a lot of places, especially if you can’t put up a 60′ antenna mast. There are lots of backwoods cable providers that think SD is all they’ll ever have to provide.

          What is needed is national policy regarding the communications infrastructure that is not held down by the desire to maintain the legacy franchises for local broadcasters, cable companies and mobile phone providers. It is time to move on and the “free market” will not provide the economic incentives required to make it happen.

          Apple could make it happen with an end run around the status quo. They were the target of my comment. Sorry if I was offensive. I should make my posting more like carpentry, read twice, post once.

  3. The xbox one allows control of cable by voice. Having used it I don’t find it’s a great way to control the TV viewing experience. To change the channel you need to say “xbox, watch NBC”. It doesn’t beat the handy remote and pushing a few quite buttons.

    1. Not only that but how do voice commands allow browsing? Sometimes I sit down in front of the TV and I don’t know what I want to watch, so I go looking. Would I say to Siri, “Find me something interesting to watch.”?

  4. I’ll believe that Apple has figured out the interface for cable when they roll out a better interface for Apple TV. The “dump everything on the home screen in one big, unsorted pile, whether you want the stuff or not” interface doesn’t do much for me. Could I maybe organize the channels into folders, “Movies”, “Sports”, “News”?


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