Apple plans TV expansion

21 December 2011

CUPERTINO: Apple is reportedly planning to launch its own TV set as part of a general strategy to boost its video streaming services.

The Wall Street Journal reports that representatives of the US consumer tech firm have been holding discussions on the "future of TV" with media executives.

Along with the TV set, potential future Apple services would allow viewers to consume content across platforms. Effectively, the new service would be able to recognise individual viewers across their TV, smartphone and tablet.

A single user would therefore be able to switch seamlessly between watching a video stream on different platforms without having to purchase or load the same stream twice.

Other possible features of the new TV services reportedly mentioned in the discussions include users controlling their TV set with their iPhones and iPads, a voice activation element – similar to the iPhone 4S' Siri system – and Kinect-style motion controls.

The new services would represent a significant evolution for the firm's TV strategy. Since 2007, Apple has launched two versions of Apple TV, a set-top box that allows users to stream online videos, including movies and shows rented via iTunes.

Securing the co-operation of media partners is likely to prove important in helping Apple's new services to gain traction among consumers.

The tech firm has met with resistance from the industry in the past. For example, broadcasters including HBO currently do not allow their content to be streamed on demand via the Apple TV set-top box.

Among the other possible features discussed with the media executives was the establishment of an Apple "subscription-TV service".

This would involve the tech firm licensing content from broadcasters and selling it on to consumers in the form of a product similar to a traditional cable-TV package.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Asymco; additional content by Warc staff