Apple TV overhaul not expected to debut until 2015

 

Apple TV mid 2014 screen

A new report from The Information published today discussing the next generation of Apple TV says the new set-top box won’t be ready for prime time until at least 2015. This expectancy timeline aligns with previous 9to5Mac reporting on the Apple TV development progress.

According to the report, Apple employees managing the project have informed Apple TV engineers working on the next generation set-top box that it is currently not expected to reach completion in time to debut in 2014. Read more

Comcast/Time Warner filing with FCC says Apple exploring new set-top box

Apple-TV-Concept-03

There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

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Apple reportedly discussing the possibility of a TV streaming service with Comcast

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is now in talks with Comcast about the possibility of a collaborative television streaming service. The plan, according to the report, is for Comcast to provide preferential streaming treatment to an Apple-built set-top box like the existing Apple TV.

The service would allow subscribers to stream live TV shows as well as on-demand content provided by Comcast. The agreement between the two companies would allow Apple’s box to continue streaming smoothly even when other connections were bogged down by high traffic and bypass bandwidth issues.

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Comcast isn’t waiting around for new Apple TV, shows off next-gen ‘X2′ TV platform & iOS apps

We didn’t get any updates to Apple TV at WWDC this week like some were hoping for, but yesterday Comcast–one of the cable companies that has been rumored to be in discussions with Apple over a new and improved Apple TV service– unveiled its next-generation cable box arriving this fall. On top of a brand new UI and platform dubbed “X2″, the company also gave us a look at its revamped iOS apps & a new controller with voice control features that will let you search by actor, show type, series, etc.

Comcast-X2-02While showing off a new slick UI with recommendations and brand new, customizable guide views, the company also showed off integration with apps such as Pandora, Rotten Tomatoes, and zeebox for ratings. Within the new apps section (shown at 16:40), we see integration with Facebook, Pandora, Instagram, Xfinity Home apps, and much more.

An interesting aspect of the presentation, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts noted that the company sees the new open platform as being an open architecture that would allow for a “family of boxes” and a family of personalized remotes. We’re not sure if that means the company has plans to integrate third-party hardware with its platform, like an Apple TV for example, but it’s clear Comcast has no plans on completely getting rid of its own cable box anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like Comcast is waiting around for Apple to revamp its TV service with apps and voice control, and we also got a quick look at the new X2 experience running on an iPad and iPhone (pictured right). Read more

A&E, HISTORY, and Lifetime launch iPad apps with full episodes, additional content for Xfinity TV users

A&E-HISTORY-Lifetime apps

A+E Networks announced today the introduction of its first iPad apps for watching shows from some of its most popular networks, A&E, History, and Lifetime. All three of the iPad apps are available for free on the App Store starting today, and they feature the ability to watch full episodes, access exclusive clips, and create a customizable Watchlist of upcoming shows. The Lifetime app also includes access to 25 full-length movies.

“By offering the A&E, HISTORY and Lifetime watch apps, we are giving fans of our networks an opportunity to consume our leading libraries of original quality content wherever and whenever they want it,” said Dan Suratt, Executive Vice President of Digital Media and Business Development, A+E Networks.

A&E noted in its press release that Comcast subscribers who sign into their Xfinity TV account would have access to extra content such as full previous seasons of certain shows. It also said the apps, powered by Bottle Rocket, “will support additional distributors in early 2013.” The apps do not yet support AirPlay, but A+E confirmed the feature is coming. There will also be an iPhone/iPod version of the apps released in January alongside the Android versions.

Some of the shows offered through the apps include:

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HBO will soon allow iCloud users access to Universal and Fox movies

With the introduction of the new Apple TV, alongside the new iPad’s introduction last week, we learned that iCloud users would now be able access purchased movies (which also extends to digital copies uploaded from DVDs). The feature was previously limited to music and TV shows. At the time, we unfortunately learned content from Comcast’s Universal and Fox would be blocked from iCloud due to exclusive rights in place through pre-existing deals with HBO. An HBO spokesperson has now confirmed to The Wall Street Journal the company will relax the terms of its deals with the two content providers in order to allow iCloud users to access to their previously purchased content: Read more