Apple in talks to unveil 25-channel online TV service in June, launch in fall

“Apple Inc.’s lofty plans to build an online television service are coming into sharper focus,” Keach Hagey, Shalini Ramachandran and Daisuke Wakabayashi report for The Wall Street Journal. “The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox, and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said.”

“For now, the talks don’t involve NBCUniversal, owner of the NBC broadcast network and cable channels like USA and Bravo, because of a falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast Corp., the people familiar with the matter said,” Hagey, Ramachandran and Wakabayashi report. “The idea is to offer consumers a ‘skinny’ bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN and FX, while leaving out the many smaller networks in the standard cable TV package.”

“Some media executives said they believed Apple was aiming to price the service at about $30 to $40 a month,” Hagey, Ramachandran and Wakabayashi report. “The company is aiming to announce its new service in June and launch it in September, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would work across all devices powered by Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring. It. On. And GFY, Comcast.

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


  1. Yeah bring it on. Just remember that you will be waiting 2 days to download one show once Comcast realizes what you are doing.
    I was looking at upgrading to Xfinity but they are asking for $250 a month for internet, phone plus their new fancy cable box and 250 random channels.
    What was interesting is that HBO costs the same amount as the new deal Apple came up with. Might as well switch to that and have access to all the back catalog material.

      1. This is the exact point of Net Neutrality. Pipe owners have to treat all traffic the same and the fact that Comcast is opting out of this is a demonstration of the perverse incentives that come when the pipe owners become content providers.

        Unfortunately Net Neutrality hasn’t “passed”. A rule has been proposed by the FCC under existing legislation and there are forces at work to eviscerate that legislation and give the pipe owners free rein to impose any scheme that parts users from as much money as possible. For most households in the US, there will never be competition for the pipe. Free market economics don’t support parallel infrastructure buildout. It would be like building parallel water pipes to a house, then expecting a race to the bottom for the price of water. More likely to get a race to the bottom in water quality.

        Keep an eye on Net Neutrality. The fight isn’t over. Tell your representatives that you support ISPs be regulated like the utility they have become. And tell them that puffery that plays well on Fox News because it appears to embarrass the President only embarrasses themselves. They got the majority, now it’s time to show some leadership.

    1. I’ve *got* Xfinity for Internet, phone and a decent (non-premium) TV lineup. Plus DVR. I’m paying about $115 a month for my first (no-contract) year. Made the switch last June after two years with Verizon FIOS.

  2. The problem still remains with the ISP duopoly controlling high speed bandwidth access and prices…

    Case in point: do you realize that the Net Profit margin of Comcast … is as good as Apple’s?

    And what kind of “innovative maker” has Comcast been? They’re providing a blessed *commodity*, which should have a razor-thin profit margin if not for its Natural Monopoly status.

      1. I’ve had satellite internet access. The uplink for mobile devices is very hard and the power requirements are large (sat phones are big and ugly for a reason).

        Having said that, I’d love to see Apple tackle the problem. I had the 1904 Baker Electric. Maybe Apple would give us the 2020 Tesla.

  3. This is huge if they can work it out……..ESPN is the biggest channel on cable. Apple tv is now $69. This mini-bundle gets people hooked with HBO too…….Then in the fall they will come out with a wifi ac capable Apple tv that also does 4k output via the hdmi port.
    4k would require a big upgrade in network infrastructure…..

    HUGE…$$$$$$ for Apple……….
    and then…..dividend and buybacks bumped up in April….!!

  4. The compelling solution that Apple can bring to the market is allowing customers to pick and choose channels, and only pay for those they want to watch.

    The world doesn’t need another bundler.

    1. I have had Apple TV since its inception. I use it for Netflix, PBS, HBO-Go, and movies from Apple mostly. The problem with this slimmed down offering is that Apple becomes a kind of Walmart, where you can get only what they offer, and nothing more. What happens to channels like Bravo, cooking channels, all the niche channels, if this approach takes over? We all get told what we can watch. The rest, out of business. That concerns me. It becomes like US politics: only the big players with the bucks are left. Does Apple really want to support this?

  5. Apple could instantly increase the bargaining chip of Apple TV by creating an “Apple TV” app for Mac. Remember the “Front Row” app on older versions of Mac OS X. It would be like that, except look and feel like using the Apple TV mini-box. If you happen to have an Apple IR Remote Control (and your Mac is set up as a “media center” with an HDTV), it would be exactly like using the current Apple TV (when running the Apple TV app).

    It would greatly increase the number of “Apple TV” receivers out there. And the number of potential subscribers to paid content services.

    1. The service will probably also work on iPhones and iPads which means ubiquitous live or on demand television content. Currently, the only live content I get on my iPhone is ESPN. Unfortunately, the live streams are always cutting out which means their implementation has been very frustrating. Hopefully, Apple has a better solution. It would also be nice to get live local news and live football games broadcasting from Fox or CBS on my iDevices.

    1. If I want to watch my Portland Trailblazers I have no way around it other than to have Comcast (plus I do like to DVR) .. NBA.Com blacks out the games. That’s not something unfortunately I see Apple TV getting around. Any ideas?

  6. I think I’d only be interested in this suggested Apple bundle if the content were commercial free, or at least allowed jumping over commercials, as I do today with my Dish DVR.

    I get my Internet via Comcast, but my TV content comes in over Dish satellite. So, to ditch my Dish and use my Internet link to stream Apple TV content, there would need to be both a financial savings and a viewing time shifting option. Otherwise, I’d just stick with my current DVR setup. I won’t watch forced commercials.

    Since Comcast owns NBC now, that also kills my access to MSNBC, which would be sad, but still doable. I get most of my news from the web anyway.

    So, to summarize, $40/month for new Apple bundle, $15 for HBO Now, $9 for Netflix, or ~$64/month, around half of what I pay Dish today. Certainly, an interesting option, depending what’s included in the bundle…

  7. Doomed to fail in Europe at $40/mo, since the basic cable-TV package here is available for €9-12 /mo.

    I am sure Apple won’t adopt the current sequential model for TV-viewing, and certainly not the bundles as we have them now.
    Even the organization of traditionally-looking TV-channels on AppleTV needs to go.
    Search for CONTENT should be vastly improved and span ALL content providers, without individual subscriptions to those (bundle-based anyway).

    1. In Europe? Hahahahahahaha!!! Since when do Apple give a flying toss about Apple TV customers outside the USA? Why would you possibly imagine this would be any different?

      Useless brick this side of the Pond. Buy a Roku.

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