Apple plans to get into the TV market amidst its spectacular success in the tablet and smartphone areas by reinvigorating its aim to make Apple TV as a set-top box for cable TV. The company is currently in talks with several cable operators in the country to offer their own version of live TV although no deals have been finalized yet.
For a company as big as Apple, it is interesting to note that the project, with over 4 million devices sold already, is still labeled as a “hobby”. Apple executive Tim Cook said that “it’s still at a level that we would call it a hobby, but we continue to pull strings to see where it takes us. We’re not one to keep around projects that we don’t believe in”. Cook was speaking at the company’s 3rd quarter conference last July. He revealed that Apple is still actively pursuing the said “hobby” even if it appears smaller compared to the success of iPads and iPhones.
To make Apple TV more attractive over the years, Apple is constantly adding more non-Apple content to its project like access to Hulu Plus, Netflix, MLB, and NBA. The company’s biggest hurdle as of yet is the cable TV market, which has never embraced Apple TV’s content. One of the reasons for this is that fact that some popular TV remain elusive to watch on iTunes even after their seasons are over, pushing customers to go for other options.
The cable TV operators in the US does not also want to let Apple get a foothold in the cable TV business for fear of making their traditional business model obsolesce. Cable TV operators are anxious over Apple’s attempt to deliver content through IP, which would essentially make cable operators into dumb lines.
There are rumors that Apple plans to release a TV so Apple TV can be effectively integrated into the television set. Reuters reported early this year that Apple is currently working on a cable-compatible Apple TV. Steve Jobs, the late Apple CEO, also reportedly told his biographer Walter Isaac that he had successfully “cracked” the idea of how to go about making Apple TV work.
The Wall Street Journal has also announced that Apple is now working on a plan how to “”erase the distinction between live and on-demand content”. The new set-top box for Apple TV will reportedly now allow users to watch shows anytime, and the user interface has some resemblance to the icons on the iPad.