You won’t be able to get your hands on one until the holidays at the end of 2014, but if the insider reports are accurate then the new Apple set-top box will be well worth the wait. Bloomberg Technology stated last week that the timing is partly due to Apple’s negotiations with programming and distribution partners such as Time Warner Cable. This is great news for most existing Apple TV users for whom watching movies is their prime activity.
The Bloomberg report also states that, ‘The Time Warner deal would let Apple TV customers see a wider array of live TV channels. For the moment, they can access a limited number of individual channel apps, including Disney, ABC, ESPN, HBO, PBS and Bloomberg TV, owned by Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP’. The new box will make it easier for customers to navigate between TV shows, movies and other online content, and an agreement with Time Warner Cable be Apple’s first deal with a cable or satellite company.
Apparently Eddie Cue of Apple has run into problems with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and DirecTV, the two largest pay-TV distributors in trying to get them to let customers use Apple IDs to log into those services. The pay-TV giants are obviously reluctant to give Apple access.
A deal with Apple would help Time Warner with its “TV Everywhere” strategy, giving customers the ability to watch content on different devices. Its viewing app is already available on Apple’s iPad and tablets running Google Inc.’s Android software, as well as Roku and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Apple is attempting to partner with cable companies to address the concerns of media content owners, who fear that selling direct to Apple could harm the business of cable and satellite providers, whose licensing fees make up a substantial part of their revenue.