Apple Is Planning To Turn The TV Industry Upside Down [Report]

Apple Is Planning To Turn The TV Industry Upside Down [Report]

The Wall Street Journal has shed light on Apple’s plans for entering the TV industry. According to the WSJ, Apple is planning to reinvent not only the television itself, but the way we consume media every day.

Apple has been working on its top-secret TV project for quite some time. While the project is still in its early stages, all signs point towards Apple destroying and rebuilding the traditional way we watch movies and TV shows. The company wants to implement a unified experience that extends to the living room.

The WSJ reports:

In recent weeks, Apple executives have discussed their vision for the future of TV with media executives at several large companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

As was previously speculated, the TV itself looks to be a Siri-controlled experience that may also recognize motion, like the Xbox Kinect. Apple reportedly plans to circumvent the traditional providers altogether and rely on wireless streaming and a subscription-based model for delivering specific shows and movies.

Apple executives have given some specifics in its talks with media companies. The company, for example, has discussed new ways they could stream media companies’ content, allowing a user to watch a video on a TV set, then pick up another device, such as a smartphone, and keep watching the video on the move, one of the people familiar said.

Apple seems to be taking a smart approach to its future plans for the TV by working out how it can implement its new technology into its existing products, specifically the Apple TV set-top box. Steve Jobs said that Apple entering the TV industry isn’t a good idea because people “don’t buy new televisions very frequently,” according to the WSJ.

Jobs was actively involved with the project before his passing, with the WSJ reporting that “Mr. Jobs envisioned building a TV that would be controlled by Apple’s mobile devices in order to be easier to use and more personalized.” He wanted to revolutionize the TV industry in the same way he did the music industry with iTunes and the cell phone industry with the iPhone. Jobs told Walter Isaacson in his biography that he had “finally cracked” the Apple television before his death.

The TV device Apple is working on would use a version of Apple’s wireless-streaming technology AirPlay to allow users to control it from iPhones and iPads, according to people briefed on the matter. When the company plans to start selling such a device and whether it would receive traditional broadcast or cable signals remains unclear, said these people, who say Apple may change its plans.

The technology could allow users to stream video from mobile devices to their televisions, without a set-top box. That process is already possible through its Apple TV set-top box, but it is cumbersome and some media companies, such as Time Warner Inc.’s cable channel HBO, prevent their apps from using the technology because they want closer control of how and where their content appears.

Apple has reportedly tested “integrating DVR storage and iCloud” into its TV, and the company wants to offer a Hulu-like experience for consuming content a la carte. Steve Jobs wanted to break down the barriers between the strict control of distribution and probed studio executives about “the universe of video content the providers actually had the rights to.”

Set-top boxes like the Roku aim to offer a more a la carte, user-controlled method of media consumption, but Apple is all about a unified experience. If Apple were to unveil a standalone television with Siri-like controls, no ties to cable providers, and seamless integration with iCloud and the rest of the iTunes ecosystem, the TV industry will be turned upside down.

Related
  • Aj Tk427

    Same stupid rumors different report, lol I’ve heard this all before nothing new here. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Brad LaFoy

    Wonder how this would handle live events such as sports where not only is timing critical, but broadcast deals are pretty specific to certain carriers and are often regionally limited.

  • Ronald Stepp

    If I can get the specific channels I want from all the networks, I. Am. There.

    And if I can also tag the commercials I want or don’t want to see and set the frequency that they appear (1 a month, 2 a week, etc.) I will worship Apple like a God. Er, like a DIFFERENT God.

  • Demonstr8r

    It makes absolutely no sense for Apple to sell TV sets with razor thin margins, which on average people replace every 5-10 years. The next release of the $99 Apple TV will support 1080p, which is capable of delivering what Apple wants provided Tim Cook and crew can negotiate the content distribution deals. Couple that with Siri and iCloud, and Apple has a compelling offering.

  • techgeek01

    I think people do this for two reasons

    1) to talk about apple

    2) to get hits.

    Apple TV going to shake the industry?  Good luck!

    Who is going to buy an Apple TV?  An Apple TV is ONLY going to work with the Apple Ecosystem.  Meaning that DVD players, cable boxes, DVR boxes, game systems, other under the TV boxes WON’T be able to connect to the TV. If Apple made a TV like that, it completely goes against their Philosophy.  Apple simply will NOT make a TV like that.  Meaning? You won’t be able to connect anything not apple to that.

    Well, is that a problem?  Well, in every single household I have been in, that has a TV, every single one had some combination of the following: Game system, DVD player, DVR box, cable box, Apple TV/Roku/Boxee/similar.  Meaning if they have an Apple TV, they won’t be able to hook up any of those things.

    I can’t stress enough, an apple TV WON’T allow for external, non apple devices to hook up.  That completely goes against apple’s Philosophy.  Apple is not going to make a TV where you can watch your blu-ray movie you just bought.  That simply goes against their philosophy.

    The problem here is: a TV is a big honking screen.  Literally.  That’s what a TV is.  People need to be able to plug in their xBox because you simply are not going to get an xBox-like experience buy playing little iPhone games on the big screen.  People need to be able to hook up their blu-ray player to watch their blu-ray movies.  HD movies from iTunes is not going to cut it, especially if they have the exact same movie on the shelf in higher quality!

    Okay.  $100 Apple TV box that you can stream your iTunes stuff from the computer?  Great idea.  But a $2000 Apple TV that streams your iTunes stuff from the computer?  Stupid idea! because you will still need to have another TV to be able to connect all of your other stuff to.

    The thing is?  Apple isn’t making a TV.  It’s the media trying to fulfill their own prophecy. That’s what it all is.  And Apple TV will simply flop.  There is not a market for it.  But an $100 box that goes underneath the TV? hell yes.  And guess what?  an $100 allows apple to have far greater reach than a $2000+ TV.  Why make a $2000+ TV when all you need is a $100 box and an iTunes account? Hell lot more people can afford a $100 box than a $2000+ TV.

    Apple doesn’t need a full-fledge TV.  All they need is a $100 box.  That’s it.  And a $100 box goes 100% with their Philosophy.  a $2000+ full fledge TV won’t. A $100 box allows for people to be “tied” to the apple ecosystem for that portion.  a $2000+ that is only works with apple ecosystem will be a flop because people need the ability to plug a DVD player in or whatever it may be.  

  • patelanjali

    Such as Time Warner Inc.’s cable channel HBO, prevent their apps from
    using the technology because they want closer control of how and where
    their content appears.

  • Brandon Dillon

    The Mac Mini has an HDMI port, so they would obviously include at least one on the TV. Also, Apple has never had a reason to work outside of their ecosystem. The TV industry isn’t a new industry, and they are a new player in the game. They aren’t going to come in with a product that can only flourish in a Mac-only ecosystem. The TV experience right now is garbage. Navigation/discovery of media is just plain terrible. Apple is seeking to change that, and I personally believe that they will enter that market humbly but also with a powerful presence.

  • Ronald Stepp

    Dear God, if I could filter out the drug commercials, never again Cialis or Viagara, just wow, wow, wow.

  • takeo

    Your approach is the reason why you should work for a company like Samsung or HTC instead of Apple.

  • Hsn11

    You are an idiot.

  • imajoebob

    Maybe it’s obvious, but have you seen who is suddenly advertising wireless TV boxes?  AT&T.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But you have to admit it’s interesting.

  • Whistle Dick

    I’ll just wait for Apple to invent it, and for Samsung to make it better.

  • artfulEric

    Apparently you’re unfamiliar with Pioneer, Denon and Yamaha make A/V receivers, to name only a few, that are seamlessly integrated into the AirPlay ecosystem right now. If Apple introduced a TV system, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba would instantly build compatibility into their Blu-Ray players, DVRs, etc., to grab the new market share.

  • Jam Del Rosario

    pathetic

  • Commonman

    Wow…just wow! Do us all a favor and read Steve Jobs. My guess is that you have “zero” experience with the Apple Ecosystem. “Meaning that DVD players, cable boxes, DVR boxes, game systems, other under the TV boxes WON’T be able to connect to the TV” Not to mention an on/off switch. LOL

  • Al

    No it wasn’t! It was the best joke on all here all week! ;)

  • emmanuelay

    I’ve been trying to convince people that this is probably what will happen.

    Of course, Apple could make people dole out more cash for a perfectly designed, hassle-free, television set. But exactly how large is the market for premium priced TV sets?And haven’t we already abandoned our brand new 60″ LED TV-sets for the smartphone?I know I have. I barely watch regular channels any more. Mostly I use my LED TV for watching movies from my NAS or from streaming services (through iPhone/iPad -> Apple-TV Airplay).
    Would a TV-set from Apple gather a large enough user base with which Apple can revolutionize the TV-industry? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

    I believe Apple can really revolutionize the whole TV-industry by providing a new way of delivering and consuming content. The key is to bypass the whole satellite/cable thingy from the past and go 100% IP. For that to happen, they need a product that can be used on any fairly modern TV and that is quickly adopted by a large audience.

    Sound familiar? :-)

    I believe Apple will have some kind of “compatibility certification” that TV-makers will have to license and adhere to in order to become “Apple-TV compliant”. That way Apple would make money from its own hardware/3rd party hardware, software and content.

  • Sharkaat

    Mature.

  • Al

    I know this is cynical, but one thing Apple cannot solve is what to watch on a TV.

    Most shows are garbage. X Factor? Jersey Shore? Wheel of Fortune? Unless this new TV will magically increase the population’s IQ to a level where they can breathe without their mouth open, things will not change.

  • Aj Tk427

    Um, yah, but he does have a point, and it about sums up techgeek01′s rant.  Basically as soon as he said that the Apple TV (if there even is one) won’t be able to connect anything I stopped reading.

  • TylerHoj

    One thing Apple can solve is ‘how’ to watch TV. Apple can’t breath your air for you so stop complaining that everyone else breaths it too. 

  • joewaylo

    Incoming Samsung patent infringement suit. They’ll sue Apple over how similar their TV and apps are to Samsung. Not to mention Apple will probably offer a few dollars less than Samsung’s $2000 TVs.

  • joewaylo

    I agree with you there. Zero experience.

    But given Apple’s current pattern, they won’t put a DVD player, cable tuner, or a game system on their TV.

    - Apple discontinued using CDs on their Macs and if you want one you need to buy the $100 external DVD player.
    - Cable Boxes and DVR Boxes have no need in the digital age of TV. Microsoft has seen the light by adding FIOS and XFinity to their system and you can watch Internet streamed TV or On Demand shows right from the XBOX itself. Apple will no doubt take a similar approach. Or it must be on iTunes for the users to watch it. Each user must rent the show from there. Or using Netflix or Hulu built into their current Apple TV.”
    - Game Systems? Apple would ask “Why do we need one? You can buy your game from us and play it AirPlay streamed from your iPad or iPhone.”

  • Honey Badger

    I honestly don’t see Apple making a Television. There is already too many players in that space. The sets are getting bigger and cheaper. The problem is from what I have read is the companies aren’t making any money on them. I see Apple refining the AppleTV set-top box using a simplified remote that allows for voice interaction or manual input. It will allow some peripherals to connect to the AppleTV via AirPlay (game systems, DVD players) Let the existing companies battle it out to make money on the TVs.

    I think the whole “Apple is making a TV”, is nothing more than a smokescreen to divert attention from their real plans. (whatever they are) Also it makes no sense to cut all of the cords – yet. People aren’t going to throw out their DVD collection (or RIP them) and gaming consoles for Apple or anyone else. They may migrate to Apple’s “no cords” approach over time. People have an investment in that stuff and not everyone has fast enough internet.

    Then again… I’ve been wrong before. Just ask my ex-wife.

  • macgizmo

    This is all nonsense and speculation. And on top of that, everything they talk about, we already have in one form or another (though it’s not elegant).
    The problem is, and always has been, that we don’t have current TV shows available. This alone will continue to keep this technology from a broad audience.

    Until I can watch House, or NCIS at the same time (or within an hour or so) as people with a regular TV and cable system, this is never going to work on a mass scale. This is why HULU is, for the most part, a failure and Netflix isn’t as big as it really should be. Nobody wants to wait weeks or a whole season to watch episodes.

  • Eddie Marquez

    No vision what so ever. Who will buy an iTV?… Anyone and everyone who owns an apple device (which are in the 100′s of millions BTW). Why?… for the same reasons people go from a perfectly working iPhone 4 to an slightly upgraded iphone 4S. despite the economy Consumer purchasing trends have been changing (in part due to apple). consumers are trending towards quality and thats one of the first things you think about when you mention anything Apple now adays. dispite what you think and what your purchasing trends are, take a macro look at what people really want and you will soon find out that you want the same thing. A nice big iTV you can talk to and control with your other i devices. hope for the best

  • volodoscope

    I think you’re missing the point. With Apple TV you wouldn’t need any of those things. What is Apple’s philosophy? I don’t think I got that memo.

  • djrobsd

    I predict a huge epic mega fail here.  Not ever consumer wants to be locked into itunes and paying Apple $10-20 bucks for a movie that’s compressed when you can buy the physical blu ray at Best Buy for the same price and not be locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

    If Apple opens the TV up and lets people play WHATEVER CONTENT THEY OWN HOW THEY WANT TO PLAY IT, then it might work.  I have 3 terabytes of movies that I legally own that I ripped and encoded to a format of MY choice, and I am not about to have Apple say “Sorry you have to import these into itunes before you can play it on your TV”.

    No thanks, my Samsung 6900 LED TV with $100 dollar WD Live box works great for me.

  • aegides

    who would want it?

  • Sharkaat

    There is never a point in ad hominem. ’tis fine to disagree with someone, but not like this.

  • HerbalEd

    And you have bad social skills. 

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , |