Why Apple investors should pay close attention to this FCC decision

“Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, recently shared a proposal with his colleagues that could drastically change how we watch TV,” Adam Levy writes for The Motley Fool. “He wants to introduce measures that would allow pay-TV customers to choose whatever set-top box they want.”

“Currently, the average pay-TV household in the U.S. spends $231 each year to rent boxes from its cable company,” Levy writes. “The pay-TV operators have used set-top boxes to both differentiate their services, and increase revenue. But if Wheeler’s proposal goes through, that revenue could suddenly shift to new hardware makers, and Apple could be one of the biggest beneficiaries.”

“If the FCC approves Mr. Wheeler’s proposal, Apple won’t need to stream TV. It can just use the regular cable feed by working with traditional pay-TV operators,” Levy writes. “That would open up the $20-billion-a-year market for Apple, while resulting in additional service revenue, as well”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, this proposal flies and as quickly as possible.

U.S. FCC wants more companies making cable boxes – January 28, 2016
How to watch free live HDTV on your Apple TV – January 19, 2016
Apple TV review: Channels are dead. The future of TV is apps – October 29, 2015
Mossberg reviews the new Apple TV: ‘This is the one I’d buy’ – October 28, 2015


    1. I tried one in my TV from Comcast years ago. It never worked. The tech was unable to get to function. I was finally told it’s a problem with the TV. Of course the TV was just a couple of years old. That and they can’t charge you a monthly leasing fee as they do with the boxes. Thieves.

  1. I fail to see how all this saves any money in the long run. You need a fast connection for decent HDTV anyway. Won’t the cable companies just jack their Internet service fees to compensate + monthly costs for individual services on top of that?

  2. It may help, but is that enough to make customers gravitate automatically to using Apple TV or even Apple services?

    I follow the focus of Apple’s attempt to create content for their “mass media services”, and it is not really very much different from those already available. As I see it, the strategy of Apple is too conventional and using “old” approach focusing on Western centric sources, that control previous mass media and talents who are popular now.

    Why not learn from the success of the Apps feature of the iOS system — where every one from any place in the world who has a unique idea is given a chance to present their Apps. This strategy with the App created worldwide diversity and allowed the individual App creator to compete with more well financed groups and companies.

    So, instead of just Apps (especially focused on games), why not use the Apps strategy — that worked so well and profitably for Apple (and the creators) in iOS — to find the most unique, and interesting films coming from all over the world?

    Why risk multi-million dollars trying to garner existing popular western talents (actors, directors, producers etc.), when it is possible to tap new talents and fresh perspectives that sometimes shine in independent film festivals (different cultures and audience) from all over the world. This need not be limited to entertainment films and mass media. This may be applied also to documentaries, education and instructional media.

    It is too bad that Apple did not get YouTube. [During that time many were saying here that Apple (during Job’s time) did not invest billions and focused only smaller promising companies.]

    There are many features of YouTube that I detest, including the blatant presentation of copyright material without the consent of the creator. It is also true, that YouTube has become an instrument of propaganda and the misinformation.

    However, if you go deeper into YouTube, you will find very serious presentations not only from individuals but also from institutions, organizations (non-profit, for profit), companies, government agencies (in research and technology), educational research institutions, etc.

    Even mass media companies (music, films, etc.) and artists use YouTube.

    TED Talks is one of those that I like, some of them are good, very good, and some of them not so polished, or have not really meet the rigors of scientific research and feasibility studies. But, what these talks provide are new ideas or ways of challenging what we now consider to be true or the status quo.

    What I find annoying about YouTube are the ads, but in spite of this, it is worth trying to find the rough diamonds that YouTube has to offer to become exposed to ideas and perspectives coming from all over the world, and from any topic that you may never have imagined you would consider.

    I am not saying that Apple should copy Google’s YouTube. In fact, it would be great if Apple could create a better “mass media” without all those banal stuff that seem to attract fleeting fame only to be replaced by another one more bizzare.

    I tried to follow some of the presentations in iTunes University???, but sometimes they are quite boring or too long and too grounded with university lecture format. Similar ideas and subjects have been presented in many serious YouTube presentations that are more professionally done, much like the good historical and educational films and documentaries coming from major studios.


    1. I think you may be on to something, not sure how truly feasible it is in the current environment with the power of the various media companies but it is something similar to a thought that went through my mind a few days ago on a different thread about Apple TV. Apple will have to have some sort of stake in programming but if they can create an appeal to creatives to whom they already have an affinity and give them a chance to develop with them then this may give them a way of getting there (albeit gradually) or at least form a base from which to grow without buying a large producer which has not been Apples methodology in the past and judging by a recent lack of focus would not work out well most like.
      Certainly iTunes U, the Library replacing concept someone talked of here recently and working with independants and creatives to show they work certainly looks like a basis to work up from.

      I have to say also that when everyone ridiculed Google buying YouTube I thought they were short sighted and had wished that Apple had done so instead with an eye on further developments. They could have used that as the ready made basis to do what they so need to do now to supplement AppleTV.

  3. Great idea, though I am at the moment wondering what the technical challenges would be here? I presume all cable networks would have to agree a standard open platform that set top box manufacturers would be able to ‘plug’ into so all the protocols are consistent, hopefully not a windows type mash up. The second consideration is how this affects the cable company’s earning potential by having their closed system and box supplier. Probably cable being so big and profitable in the US that would be far less of a concern, indeed a definite advantage. here in the UK however we only have one cable network (Virgin) that is competing against terestrial to a degree but in reality competes against the Sky satellite service which is far bigger and stronger. So a totally different scenario. But in the US this sounds like a no brainer.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.