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

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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.