Report: Apple negotiating w/ media companies for pay TV service, working on full-fledged TV set

Apple-hdtv2

A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies.  Read more

‘Tis the season for Apple analyst Gene Munster to call for an Apple HDTV next year

In recent months, several reports from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently Jefferies seem to indicate Apple is in talks with cable companies for a new Apple TV-related service. It depends on whom you ask as to whether that service would center on a next-generation Apple TV set-top box or mark Apple’s introduction of the much-rumored Apple HDTV. There are still a couple analysts betting on an Apple TV set in the near future. Peter Misek of Jefferies is one. Misek estimated sales of 4.9 million units in CY13, and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is once again adding to the rumors today…

Munster, who has many times in the past predicted a full-fledged Apple HDTV, reported in a note to clients today that Apple will launch a TV set in time for the 2013 holiday season (via Business Insider). Not to be confused with a possible refreshed TV set-top box, Munster believes Apple will release an HDTV somewhere between 42-inches and 55-inches and priced between $1,500 and $2,000.

Perhaps more interesting than the Apple TV rumor is Munster’s claims that Apple is set to launch a new radio service in March of 2013—possibly alongside a Retina iPad mini. As for the rest of Munster’s 2013 roadmap for Apple: in June 2013, he is predicting previews of iOS 7, OS X, and new Retina MacBook Airs.

Munster’s other not-so surprising predictions from the note:

Read more