While Apple’s effort to create a digital TV service seems to have stalled, the company is still chasing a better way to find and watch content on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. Recode reports that Apple is currently talking to “TV programmers and other video companies” over a potential universal guide that could show what TV shows and movies are available from streaming video channels.
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The report highlights HBO, Netflix and ESPN as likely candidates. Apple already partners with these channels and more to create a universal search feature on tvOS, but the proposed universal guide could provide a visual component that offers a more robust version of TV guides from cable boxes.
Apple’s vision is that you could subscribe to multiple video services then see everything available to watch across various channels in a single visual interface. Recode notes that the effort comes out of Apple’s stalled efforts to create streaming video service of its own.
The idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and movies with a single click.
That is: Apple’s guide would tell you what’s on TV. Except now TV is apps.
Industry sources say Apple’s plans are an outgrowth of the TV service it wanted to launch last year. The difference is that in 2015, Apple wanted to sell TV programming directly to consumers and provide them with a new interface that would make it easy to find the stuff they paid for.
Apple is already making improvements to the Apple TV and iPad as a cable box and traditional TV replacement with iOS 10 and tvOS 10 due out this fall. Single sign-on will let iPad and Apple TV users sign-in once to authenticate cable subscriptions then access content across multiple streaming channels without logging in to each app.
Apple has also continued to add new partners to its universal search feature, although that’s only available on tvOS while today’s report could apply to both tvOS and iOS.