How Apple Will Make The Apple TV Into The Best Way To Watch Cable

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Apple’s in the process of doubling down on the Apple TV. Following a report that Apple was working on deals with cable networks that would allow for commercial-skipping comes word that Apple is looking to cooperate with TV content providers to bring their own channels to the Apple TV.

The New York Times is now saying that Apple’s strategy towards dominating the living room is taking a different form. Apple knows they need to win over the cable companies and content providers to make the Apple TV more appealing. They’re going to do that with apps.

You might remember that last month, Apple turned on HBO and ESPN apps for Apple TV owners… but they only work if you have an existing cable subscription. That’s going to continue. Apple is now working with Time Warner Cable which would allow their subscribers to watch live and on-demand shows on the Apple TV, affording a much better programming guide and interface than anything Time Warner can provide itself.

What Apple seems to be doing is make the Apple TV the best way to watch cable if you’re a subscriber. They’ll improve the experience where they can, like paying cable companies to let users skip ads. But Apple’s no longer looking to kill cable with a mythical iTV: they’re looking to get in bed with them.

That might be a more realistic strategy. After years and years of talk, the Apple HDTV is no closer to being a reality, and the cable companies have proven reticent to allow Apple to do to their business what they did to the music and wireless industries: gut the power of the carrier in favor of the power of the hardware maker. The Apple TV is already a huge presence in the living room. Despite the fact that Apple calls it a hobby, it controls 56% of the streaming video market. But there’s plenty more room to grow, especially if Apple can become the best way to watch cable.

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  • Mark Saunders

    “Despite the fact that Apple calls it a hobby, it controls 56% of the streaming video market.”

    Yesterday you tried to imply this, despite it being patently untrue, and today you simply state it as fact? (Apple controls 56% of the market for dedicated streaming devices, which is a totally different thing.)

  • techwarrior

    How about a Sling Player app like the Dish Anywhere app. I would simply use ATV as my tuner and stream from the main unit. As it is, iPad cannot AirPlay Dish Anywhere content to ATV, simply takes up too much bandwidth to have iPad as the intermediary and two WiFi streams.

    In a home with multiple TV, a single Hopper or Slingbox in a closet, with ATV at each TV location would allow me to simplify my setup considerably. A 1GB wired, or 802.11AC network would have no problem streaming to multiple ATVs.

  • Zod Buster

    I really hope Apple takes over cable tv,etc etc.. I need to stop watching TV … so go Apple..

  • fernsehfee

    Again Android was faster: http://www.fernsehfee.de is an android sat receiver with TV AD BLOCKER (99€), http://www.fernsehfee.de/tv-fairy-blocks-commercials-english.html

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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