Apple plans to launch a new generation of its Apple TV, turning the device into a fully-fledged cable or satellite set-top box, writes the Wall Street Journal.
The report suggests that the device will feature an internet-based PVR, access to full season, on-demand TV shows, and an icon-based user interface. Also, a ‘start again’ feature is envisaged, allowing viewers that come late to a programme to request a stream starting at the beginning.
A spokesperson for the company has said that it doesn’t comment on rumours. The story was fuelled by the recent announcement that Apple has integrated Hulu Plus in Apple TV for consumers in the US. There also appears to have been a meeting between Apple CEO Apple Tim Cook and Time Warner Cable’s top man Glenn Britt.
Broadband TV Views. For a number of years, the future of Apple TV has been the subject of much speculation and rumours. Apple has been enormously successful in reshaping the music business and smartphones, but the cracking the TV business remains a challenge.
On paper, it is relatively easy to design an all-singing, all-dancing TV set top – in reality there is a minefield of right issues to be cleared out there. It also requires striking a balance between the interest of distribution platforms (cablers, satellite DTH, IPTV operators) and rights holders (broadcasters, studios). Both sides are very unlikely to want to have a third party around – especially not one that wants a 30% cut of all proceeds – as Apple does.
Network PVRs are still in their infancy and rights holders are not particularly found of them. Start-again features also require centrally stored recordings of all channels that go out on a platform – again, studios seem not to approve.
Traditionally, rights holders have always been very conservative and opposed most technical innovations – from television itself, the video recorder, videotapes, nPVRs, to new services such as New York-base Aereo.
But perhaps the studios and broadcasters need to think again – remember what MP3 and widespread piracy did to the music industry? The same is already happing with major movies and TV series, and the best way to combat this would be making legal access to all content easier.
If Apple can convince all parties they offer the perfect solution, the new Apple TV could indeed change the face of home screen entertainment forever. If only….