Apple Is Working On A Subscription TV Service’ To Take On Netflix[Report]

Apple Is Working On A Subscription TV Service’ To Take On Netflix[Report]

Even as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs exits as CEO, talk of a TV from the tech giant is still thriving. A new report suggests the Cupertino, Calif. company is working on a new way to stream video (aka Netflix) to televisions and mulling a “subscription TV service.”

“Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service,” reports the Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter.” The effort could create a service connected TV programming through iTunes, similar to cable packages, another report infers.

Earlier this week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, a longtime supporter of the idea that Apple will enter the TV market, restated his belief – this time pushed by new CEO Tim Cook. Along with refreshing existing products, Cook will produce “Apple Television as soon as late 2012,” the analyst commented.

Researchers at IHS iSuppli have also suggested timing may be right for Apple to enter the high-end LCD TV market, given prices are falling below $1,000.

However, like some B Movie, there is a hitch in all this talk: Hollywood. Apple would love to move into the streaming video space owned by Neflix, and the company thought its iTunes Replay was just the ticket. Four of the six top movie producers aren’t signing the Apple deal, putting in question the ability for Cook to deliver a streaming alternative.

The only thing certain about these TV rumors is they won’t die.

  • Dickusmagnus

    Apple could do everybody a big favor by consolidating entertainment choices. You have to go on a treasure hunt to find what you want. This is a problem even for a single provider like Netflix. Let’s say you are looking for a movie by title on Nerflix. You slowly tap in the title as best you can. Sometimes Netflix has it, sometimes they don’t. If they have it then you select it. Sometimes it’s available for streaming and sometimes only in DVD. A frustrating exercise that often finishes at a dead end. 
    I tried a movie search app called Fanhattan. I was looking for the remake of True Grit. When it found it I was told that I could buy the DVD. That was the only choice. Not satisfied, I moved to iTunes to discover that I could rent it. 
    Apple TV could be significantly upgraded. But a clone of Netflix is not what is needed. Apple could steal the show, so to speak, by making the whole experience of finding,saving and cataloging content easier. I hope it happens.

  • minimalist1969

    Embedding the Apple TV in a TV is about as smart an idea as embedding
    an iPod in an expensive full size stereo system.    If
    Apple wants to gain traction and compete with Netflix in the all-you-can-eat video space they are certainly
    not going to do it by selling thousand dollar flat panels when Netflix is
    available on a whole slew of inexpensive devices.  Besides, Apple already has the hardware answer to the
    living room:   it’s called the Apple TV and its 99 bucks, not
    999.   

    The real challenge is the content.  And
    judging from Apple’s inability to get content TV providers to get on their 99
    cent rental train I won’t be holding my breath for a magic rent-anything-you-want-in-the-world
    for 99 cents or a flat monthly fee service.   Notice
    how Apple quietly slipped TV purchases back into the Apple TV interface last
    month.    That says to me that Apple (mistakenly)thought
    they could force the content providers to budge from the old purchase model by
    excluding them from the new interface.   But it just made Apple look bad in the end because
    the TV rental section was a total ghost town for the last year.  So they have given up and gone back to the 2.99
    purchase model.  Does this look like the
    move of a company that has real sway over the video content providers?

  • minimalist1969

    That’s what Google TV tried to do (very, very badly).  Apple has no incentive to make it easier to go outside their ecosystem so why would they institute a search across all possible platforms?  Google doesn’t care who you get your video from because they just want to sell ads.  But they found out that the hard way that the content providers do care and got their devices blocked by just about all web based video sites.

  • Dickusmagnus

    I was about to buy a Google TV a year ago, but negative comments on blogs stopped me. I hope that Apple can use some of its 80 bil in cash to get rights to content; sort of like what Turner did years ago. By making the right deals at the right time any of the dozens of big providers will sell. That way Apple can control its expanding ecosystem. It’s one of the reasons why I got Apple TV, hope for the future.
    I’d be willing to pay a subscription price to avoid ads of the type Hulu premium uses. I know how hard it is for the bean counters to resist squeezing some more money out of users, but I avoid ads whenever possible and quickly leave an entertainment service when they start arriving.

  • minimalist1969

    The Google TV always seemed like a colossal failure to
    me.  Hardware-wise it was a total
    hack.  IR blasters to control all your
    other AV components? Really Google that’s the best you can come up with?   And that ridiculous keyboard no married
    person would ever be allowed to keep on the coffee table.   Software wise it was even worse.  Google arrogantly thought they could just put
    out a box that streamed other people’s free online content without bothering to
    check with the providers to see whether their licenses allowed streaming to a
    set top box (they didn’t). 

  • Al

    Anything to compete with satellite and cable services is a welcome move. TV “channels” are SOoooo 20th century…

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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