Plans for the forthcoming next generation Apple TV are being scaled-back, this according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. Amid news that Apple had been in negotiations with Time Warner Cable regarding adding new video content to their upcoming set-top box, we are learning that the company had planned loftier plans that would have include its own Internet-based TV service, which would have involved licensing of programming. The type of change that would have caused a shake-up in the industry, similar to big moves Apple has made in the past, notably in the music industry. A seismic move that would have put the company in direct competition with cable companies.
Negotiations happening with carriers puts them in the role of being a middle-man between Apple and content providers. While Apple would likely prefer to license content directly, news of these negotiatons with Time Warner Cable and others, suggests that license agreements with content providers remains a hurdle. Sources indicate that Apple still may go this route in the future.
Bloomberg alledges that an announcement could come as early as April, while WSJ sources say that June is a likely target. Both are in agreement that the Apple set-top box won’t reach shelves until later this year. Of course, after yesterday’s news that Apple was in negotiations with Time Warner Cable, it was announced that Comcast would be acquiring TWC. Discussions between Apple and Comcast have not gone as smoothly, throwing into question if at this point, they’ll be able to finalize a deal with TWC.
Other interesting notes detail Apple’s original plans, which included an ad-free Internet TV service that would use the Apple TV as an Internet-based digital video recorder. The latest discussions paint the Apple TV as an on-demand replacement, with TV shows limited to 5 episodes and minimal fast-forward options for content that was aired within the previous 3 days.
The next generation Apple TV is sounding less and less like a revolutionary product.