Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Apple’s invasion of television may not be the revolution everyone dreams of, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to introduce some revolutionary new features.Jessica Vascellero and Sam Schechner at the Wall Street Journal have new details on Apple’s vision for the television market.
Sadly for many people, Apple’s still going to work with cable companies, which means consumers won’t be free of $100+ cable bills. But for those $100+ bills, Apple is going to make the user experience entirely more delightful if it can get the cable companies, as well as content companies, on board with its plan.
Here’s what Apple is pitching, according to Vascellero and Schechner:
- Apple wants to make what amounts to a souped-up version of Apple TV that can function as a cable set-top box.
- You would be able to start any show at any time using a DVR that stores TV shows on the Internet.
- The TV interface would look like an iPhone or iPad, with icons that users navigate. (Perhaps it looks like the current Apple TV interface with a few more icons?)
- The new interface is supposed to be better and easier to use than the current cable box interfaces. (A pretty low hurdle to clear.)
- There would be a way for people to share on Twitter or Facebook what they’re watching on TV.
- Users would be able to get the entire season of a show on demand, as opposed to a few episodes the way cable companies offer now.
It all sounds like a much better TV experience, but people shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet. Apple not only has to get cable companies on board with the plan, but the content providers, as well.The cable companies only have rights to do so much with the content they broadcast. Apple would have to convince companies like Viacom, the NFL, MLB, Time Warner and others to sign up.
These companies are not dummies. They’re not going to just walk into a negotiation with Apple and say, “Sure guys, take whatever you like.” They are going to ask for some money. And that money will then be passed on to users.
So, the questions that remain are how much are they looking for, how much is Apple willing to pay, and how much will it cost users?
Until those questions are answer, the talk of Apple building a better way for people to watch TV is just talk.
But, boy, is it exciting talk.