Before Apple finally unveils its long-awaited update for the Apple TV, the company is reportedly looking to add a key new feature that rival streaming services don’t have: local TV.
The addition of live local TV streaming could delay the launch of the new service, according to industry executives who spoke to Re/code. Apple plans to provide local broadcast stations to customers around the United States to distinguish itself from Sling’s and Sony’s streaming services, but getting the rights is going to take time.
Apple told programmers it would like to launch its Web TV service in the fall, but Re/code’s sources say Cupertino hasn’t signed up any TV programmers yet, making it unlikely it will be announced at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Going after local TV stations may seem like an odd move for Apple. Most young streaming customers get most of their news from Comedy Central instead of their local affiliate, but Apple wants the product to have mass appeal.
“This is supposed to be for 30 million people,” said one executive who has talked to Apple.
Because broadcasters don’t own all of their local stations, negotiations for the streaming rights are incredibly complicated. If the plan works, it could pay off big time for Apple’s little black box and iPhone sales. Apple plans to make the Web TV service available on all iOS devices, too, so you can watch anywhere.