Apple takes a hands-off approach to streaming for new TV service

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Apple's forthcoming service would unify top TV networks into one package. Photo: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac
Apple's forthcoming service would unify top TV networks into one package. Photo: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

More details surrounding Apple’s unreleased TV streaming service are leaking out as its Worldwide Developer Conference approaches in June.

There’s still a lot we don’t know for sure, but a new report sheds light on how Apple is proposing to handle the actual streaming of live TV to its millions of users.

Instead of dealing with the infrastructure required for streaming live video over the internet, Recode reports that Apple is asking for TV networks to supply their own streams.

Given Apple’s rocky track record with data-driven services, it’s a smart move. But it could also result in a less-than-ideal experience for end users. While leaving each content provider in charge of its own stream takes the burden off Apple, it also opens the door for an inconsistent experience across channels. One network’s stream could worth better than another on a given day, for example.

Having each partner provide its own stream could also keep cable companies like Comcast (which Apple has of course not approached about its TV plans) from intentionally hijacking the service.

Recode notes that “Apple feels it should concentrate on what it’s best at — creating consumer hardware and software — and leave other tasks, like streaming infrastructure, for people who specialize in it.” Tim Cook has publicly voiced his disdain for cable television, harking the experience to “entering a time capsule.”

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Apple is prepping a TV service with around 25 channels that will cost between $30-$40 per month. The alleged plan is to show it off at WWDC in June and launch in the fall. A brand new Apple TV set-top box is also expected to debut alongside the service with its own App Store, redesigned remote, and Siri.