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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 19, 2012

Apple and Cable Companies Talk New TV Product

By Shankar Pandiath, TMCnet Contributor

Rumors about a new TV product launch by Apple (News - Alert) have steamed up the market after a research note published by James Kisner of Jeffries & Co. It is believed that Apple is reportedly in talking terms with some of the leading cable operators in the United States about a new television product, but the launch of such a “potential Apple television set” is still not expected to happen in the immediate future. However, it is found that the report, which steamed up the market, is a rehash of what Kisner published earlier on Oct. 19, 2012.

In the earlier note published by Kisner, he revealed that at least one major cable operator in the United States was in the process of estimating the additional capacity that would be needed for integrating a new Apple television device on the broadband network. On the basis of such report, Kisner suggested the “imminent launch” of an Apple television set, but John Paczkowski, AllThingsD, downplayed this speculation recently. He stated that if Apple were so close to launching its new television device, it would definitely be in talking terms with major TV programmers about several new arrangements. However, no one has heard about any such thing yet, he remarked.

However, at the same time, he confirmed that Apple had been in talking terms with several leading cable operators in the country for launch of an unnamed new television product. He stated that such talks might have prompted at least one cable operator to do a capacity check as reported by Kisner in his earlier note in October 2012. However, as there is no strong evidence for the same, and it might be based on some rumors about Apple launching its new television product, remarked Paczkowski.

Rumors about Apple launching a full-fledged television device have been there since years. However, in Aug 2012, Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, suggested that such a product is unlikely to come up in immediate future without having the necessary deals for content in place. He further said that Apple has the potential to develop an enhanced television user interface but that merely would be an incomplete solution. Earlier this year, a report claimed that Apple was playing around with the idea of creating a new set top box that can manage and handle live TV. At the same time, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Apple has not yet reached for any deal with the cable operators, probably because they are reluctant to allow Apple to enter into the live television space.

In this context, Paczkowski said, “There are still a lot of missing pieces here, and while a major cable provider is running what-if scenarios on a rumored Apple product is certainly interesting, it's not necessarily a trumpet fanfare announcing its imminent arrival.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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