Apple’s TV Plans Shouldn’t Reinvent Cable, Experts Say


Photo by Kimb0lene -
Photo by Kimb0lene -

If Apple got into the TV set business, they could give cable operators a run for their life, right? Probably, but some observers suggest the tech giant should not try to reinvent the wheel – a broken one at that. Instead, any Apple TV set should be based on Internet streaming, making cable television obsolete.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu this morning writes TV manufacturing is “the only major end market the company is not currently participating in a bigger way.” Wu told investors he’s “picked up several data points” indicating suppliers are preparing to ship iTV parts allowing for an Apple device later in 2012.

Wu’s comments dovetail with a Tuesday DigiTimes report claiming Samsung Electronics and Sharp are readying chips and displays for such a unit that Apple could introduce in the second or third quarter of next year. For some time, analysts and others have said the move into TV set manufacturing would be a natural progression by Apple.

Although the analyst agreed with the industry publication, he believes Apple would be better not to simply replicate the cable television distribution model, but employ Internet video streaming. In such a scenario, Apple could offer a more robust device while also selling its Apple TV device.

Wu’s vision of a two-pronged attack on television makes sense. Not everyone would want to ditch their current TV setup for an Apple version, making the Apple TV product a perfect introductory arrangement. This has worked before. The iPod touch, once seen as a totally separate product is now viewed as an iPhone on training wheels.

  • MacHead84

    Apple cant just “choose” to get into an internet TV streaming service. They have to pen deals like Netflix and Hulu. And you see the kind of content networks license out to them. Theyll license the same ol service to apple. (and fat chance apple even wants that, as theyd prefer you buy 40 dollar single seasons on iTunes). The profit margins are not there for Apple in the TV business. And they already have a business model for TV content. No live news/sports, internet TV isnt ready for prime time and Apple knows that.

  • Marc Johnson

    The problem that exists now is that all the crazy/stupid licensing deals that exist now make it virtually impossible to have a single point of access for all streaming materials.  Boxee, early in it’s run tried to, but was quickly shut out of many of the best streams, again due to licensing.

    Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, all have tried but none have really succeeded.  Maybe Apple can pull it off, but I’m not betting on it.  Not to say I don’t want it to happen, but it’s going to require the content holders to WANT it to work and right now I dont think they really do. The status quo (cable) works pretty well for them.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Its all about securing content and delivery of that content without locking-up. Apple can circumvent slow delivery systems in becoming an IP, but the content problem requires an iTunes match system to work.

  • Iphoneication

    Ive been following apple since 1995, and i can say that apple does there home work they will not enter a market that they cannot dominate. with millions of idevices and macs around the world the delivery system is already there….the only frontier left is naturally the TV and even a half hearted hobby like apple tv there are still over a million sold. 

    my prediction,, and your hearing it here first is an apple network,,, I’m not sure if you can all remember when apple live streamed there event over the internet using there north carolina data center? that was a test to see how the data center handled live streaming! 

    apple will enter the market probably mid summer,, that makes since, iPads refresh in march, july apple tv launch,, fall iPhone launch,,,

  • vikassaraswat

    You think apple can compete with Sony Samsung and other manufacture. NO.
    So why apple will make another tv set.
    If it is all about Siri and other app, apple can do this by throwing apple tv 3 for $99

    So me ED go back to f*** drawing board and write some good things.
    And go yourself a favor.
    Watch Steve’s talk on all things D
    Where he said ” the problem is not the tv set you bought, problem is you have to bring other stuff along witn tv and that is complicated satellite or cable subscription”
    Apple cannot compete witn co like Sony etc for another tv brand where model changes much quicker I change my girl friend. All these tv channel company is not depend on cable or dish satellite company, it’s actually other way round
    Cable satellite people are depends on tv channel co so who can dominate the terms. It’s tv channel co. And most of them is already have a good relationship with apple.
    And one more thing….
    Apple has money to please tv channel co so they give tv co and wonderfull technology.
    Bottom line apple itv should come with subscription technology built in.
    You unbox the tv plug if to the power and Internet and here you go.
    Sign up one low tv subscription where you have all channel included.
    No more frustration.

    That’s what I believe.

    Ps: it’s no fun writing a blog from iPhone while driving.

  • MacHead84

    An apple network? With iAds instead of commercials? 

  • MacAdvisor

    ” it’s no fun writing a blog from iPhone while driving.”

    As the old joke says, “Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this.” “Then don’t do that.” I think the other drivers would feel considerably better if you weren’t writing a blog while driving and I think the blog would be better for it, too. As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus put it, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”