In TV Negotiations, Apple Seen Cutting Out the Middle Man

Sections: TVs, Video

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appletvlogoWhen Google tried to revolutionize the living room a few years ago with Google TV, it ran into roadblocks, thanks in large part to resistance from cable providers from participants, and the technology has since fizzled out.

Ever since rumblings began a few years ago about Apple planning a living room move of its own with a TV product, media reports of various veracity have indicated that Cupertino was running into similar difficulties. But now, according to a new report, Apple may have found way around the cable problem.

The business website Quartz reported Thursday that Apple has gone straight to content providers- including such titans as ESPN, HBO and MTV-owning Viacom- about an arrangement to bring their content directly to Apple’s TV. The networks would be delivered via apps, carried over the web.

Apple’s plans are different from Google’s, of course if, as rumored, Apple is planning to make its own TV rather than partner with other manufacturers.

That’s not all:

 Sources say Apple’s strategy could include forming its own pay TV service, essentially becoming a cable company itself, except with content delivered entirely over the internet. Intel, Sony, and Google are known to be pursuing similar tactics, and could launch their own pay TV services before Apple. The difference is that Apple wants to release a full-fledged television set, seeking to control the entire experience of watching TV.

We know the ESPN part of the story is true, because he network’s president, John Skipper, said in an interview this week that ESPN has had “preliminary talks” about offering its channels on web-based TV services. ESPN’s WatchESPN app recently became available on Apple TV.

This is a long way away from fruition, clearly. But if this succeeds, it could mark the first step towards the end of the cable TV model.



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