Is Apple planning to reinvent TV?
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Is Apple planning to reinvent TV?

Apple may be planning to reinvent TV if a new report (http://macte.ch/RwOTV) by research firm Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek is on target. Reinventing TV would be a MAJOR undertaking, but if any company could, it would be Apple, which turned the music world upside down.

Misek predicts that Apple is preparing a cloud-based video service that could go well beyond what the current Apple TV already offers. And, in fact, would challenge services such as Netflix and even the cable/satellite TV companies.

I've said before that I'd love to have an a la carte service in which I could pay for the TV programs and/or channels I want to watch rather than be forced to sign up for "bundles" of stations. Could Apple finally make it happen?

The "GigaOm" (http://macte.ch/EpmBJ) site says that all Apple has to do to make a service such as Misek is predicting a hit is to provide exactly what cable and satellite don’t: "a highly customizable, on-demand and live streaming hybrid with a total focus on consumer choice." In short, Apple just needs to give TV the App Store treatment. Of course, as "GigaOm" notes, that’s much easier said than done, as licensing deals would make such an offering a nightmare from a negotiations standpoint. No one has ever managed to pull off a stunt like this before? Does Apple? If so, it would certainly be another feather in the company's (and CEO Steve Jobs') hat.

Some folks think Apple's head honcho does indeed want to "reinvent" TV. Jonny Evans writing for "Computerworld" (http://macte.ch/bjFIQ) says that ever since Jobs appeared at D8 last year to tell us that any innovation in the TV market will need to alter the existing business structure "we've been wondering what the company plans to bring to the table."

Evans thinks that should Apple offer a service such as Misek predicts, you'll be able to access the TV shows you want. There might be an iAds element involved -- an attempt to replicate the kind of ads revenues networks gain when offering broadcast content, he adds. I think Evans is onto something. I don't think iAds has been the ginormous success Apple expected it would be. An Apple television/video/iAds service could jump start iAds, the Apple TV hardware and more.

If such a system arrives, and I think it will within two years (if not sooner), you'll be able to begin watching a TV show on your Apple TV-connected television, then on your Mac or your iPad or your iPhone or your iPod touch. This strategy will keep the Mac as the center of your digital lifestyle, as well as help Apple sell more computers and iOS devices.

Of course, the Apple TV could disappear if, as Misek and others predict, Apple comes out with its own brand of television sets. I'm still dubious that Jobs & Company will do this. But I'm less dubious than I was six months ago now that I am considering the potential of an Apple television/video service.

And even if Apple did roll out their own brand of television sets, the Apple TV might still have a future. It could be the connecting device in homes that don't have an Apple television.

Of course, an Apple television/video service would mean even more bandwidth consumption for both wireless networks and cable providers. That could mean higher cable bills -- unless Apple uses some iAd money or some other form of payment to help defray the cost.

Regardless, I'll be willing to pay more for Internet service when the day arrives that I can pick and choose the channels and programs I want to watch instead of forking out for a cable or satellite packed filled with dozens of channels I never watch.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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