Ways an 'iTV' could stand out from the competition
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Ways an 'iTV' could stand out from the competition

In a note to clients -- as reported by Bloomberg (http://macte.ch/bJWYW) -- Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek underscores his belief in an upcoming Apple HDTV (the "iTV") and thinks user generated video from customers who use iPads and iPhones as video recorders may play a role, giving Apple "the ability to leverage content into a YouTube-like model."

That's hardly the a la carte offering of channels/programs I'm hoping for, but at least it's SOMETHING that would differentiate an iTV (and, I suspect, a new Apple TV for those who won't spring for a pricey, Apple-branded television set) from competitors. In the highly competitive world of TV set sales, Apple will need all the differentiation it can get to succeed.

Misek thinks that by partnering with carriers and cable operators, Apple could enter the market on a level playing field with everyone else for content. Apple could then package everything with a "superior user interface and ecosystem" to set itself apart. On the other hand the analyst says Apple could:

° Seed content, as Google does with its YouTube Original Channels;

or

° Buy access to exclusive content, much as Netflix has done for the "House of Cards" program, and DirecTV has with its exclusive "NFL Sunday Ticket" package;

or

° Become a Hollywood studio and produce its own content. However, Misek says that "lower margins and higher risks" are likely to drive away Apple from creating its own content. I agree. We're not going to see original TV series or movies on an Apple network broadcast on an iTV.

But a la carte programming? That will take some incredible finangling and deal-making by Apple, but I'm hopeful ...

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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