From personal computing to smartphones to wrist-worn technology, Apple is known for shaking up and setting the pace for whole segments of the tech industry. But can it do the same in television?
It looks like the iPhone maker is going to give it a shot. Cupertino is in talks with TV content providers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV channels via online streaming sometime this fall, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said an Apple TV-based service would include about 25 channels, including standards like ABC, CBS, and FOX.
But the ongoing discussions with programmers do not include NBCUniversal—ruling out channels like USA and Bravo—due to a falling out between Cupertino and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast, the Journal reported.
Comcast and Apple were once rumored to be courting the idea of a partnership, allowing Comcast users to access the cable provider’s content via an Apple TV set-top box. That relationship has reportedly now soured.
Even without NBC on board, Cupertino is eyeing Walt Disney, CBS, and others for what the WSJ called a “skinny” bundle of popular channels like ESPN and FX.
A reported price tag of $30-$40 per month for the package would give Apple a costly road into the increasingly crowded streaming and on-demand market. The new Sling TV ($20 per month) and HBO NOW ($14.99 per month) are cheaper packages but neither provides as large a selection of channels as Cupertino is rumored to be planning.
Networks like CBS and NBC provide on-demand programming for monthly rates in the range of $3-$6, while Hulu Plus costs $7.99 for a monthly subscription.
Apple did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment. But the Journal said its sources suggested the tech giant is aiming for a June unveiling, ahead of a September launch of the TV service, compatible with all devices running iOS, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV boxes.
Before diving into the deep end, however, Cupertino is dipping its toe into the streaming waters, partnering with HBO to launch the latter’s new standalone streaming service, HBO NOW.
Set for an April debut, the subscription-based app costs $14.99, and lets users watch all the Game of Thrones or Girls they can handle on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV, as well as on a PC via HBONOW.com.