Apple is reportedly prepping a new version of Apple TV, which would work like a cable set-top box. Apple is working with Time Warner Cable to launch the device this year, Bloomberg says.

That makes sense, because we heard similar reports about an Apple-Time Warner Cable tie-up last year.

It also makes sense because there are very clear models for what an Apple TV/Time Warner Cable tie-up would look like. You can see them right now.

If you are a Time Warner Cable subscriber with an iPad, for instance, you can download the TWC TV app from the iTunes app store and watch TV on your tablet right now. If you’re using the device inside your house, you can watch just about anything that your conventional set-top box would offer — broadcast channels, cable channels, premium channels like HBO, etc. — in real time, and you can also record programs and watch them on demand.

If you want to watch cable TV but you’re in a room that doesn’t have a TV, this is a pretty good solution.

And if you’re a Time Warner Cable subscriber with a Roku box, you can use Roku’s Time Warner Cable app to watch TV that way, too. This app has been out for a bit, and BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield made a demo of a new iteration late last year:

If you want to watch cable TV but you’re in a room with a TV set that doesn’t have a cable TV box, this is a pretty good solution. You might even prefer it to watching TV with a traditional box.

But the main thing to remember about both of these examples is that they require you to pay Time Warner Cable for a video subscription. That is: What Apple and Roku are providing is a new interface on top of the old cable bundle you’re already paying for. And by all accounts that’s what Apple is proposing here, as well.

Will that be enough to excite consumers? In the past, Apple has suggested that simply replicating the old TV model wouldn’t be good enough. That’s why it has proposed ideas like a $30 bundle of “next day” TV, or a service that let TV watchers fast-forward through ads.

But Apple has yet to convince a significant chunk of the TV Industrial Complex to change the way it does business. Which makes sense, because the TV Industrial Complex makes a lot of money, even if its growth is stalling.

The fact that neither the iPad app nor the Roku app seem to have generated much excitement among TV watchers (I don’t know of anyone who uses the iPad app with much frequency) is telling. On the other hand, Apple has been circling TV for a long time without making a real move. Maybe Tim Cook would rather do something than nothing.




6 comments
Bahmani
Bahmani

We need that plumber in Brazil to swing in late at night and hook everyone up off the grid. Although now that I think about it I got the idea from watching the movie on cable...

JefinLondon
JefinLondon

Content providers are beholden to cable and cable is a monopoly so there's no incentive for them to promote internet TV or go a la cart.



I survive without cable and satellite because I do not watch episodic television. Don't get hooked and you can say goodbye to your cable bill! 

nathanziarek
nathanziarek

Apple would sell a bunch of these, but it'd be a terribly disappointing entry into the space. My hope is that the source of these rumors is confusing "Time Warner" (owner of HBO et al) and "Time Warner Cable". I could see Apple creating essentially a cable company itself, with just a few channels. ESPN, HBO, and some local programming would satisfy a good number of people, and maybe force additonal companies to come on board.

It's a long shot, and maybe a bad idea, but at least it's exciting in a way "cable box by Apple" really isn't.

davebarnes
davebarnes

I just want to watch HGTV without paying $118/mo for the "privilege".

grecasaurus
grecasaurus

I would love to hear more than anecdotal evidence indicating people aren't using the TWC iPad app. It still beats paying for DVR service. 


There is a certain irony to catching up on an episode I missed and propping the iPad up in front of the television.

Mcbeese
Mcbeese

Yawn. I already have more than this using the SlingPlayer app with a Slingbox. I can access all of my cable programming from anywhere in the world. I sure hope Apple is working on more than what is being described here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 288,284 other followers