It seems that Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves does not believe that Apple will release an Apple-branded HDTV in the near term, based on a meeting he attended with Peter Oppenheimer (Apple’s CFO) and Eddy Cue (Senior VP for Internet Services and Software). According to material re-published by Fortune, Hargreaves does not believe Apple will be making a “more significant move into TV distribution.”
The material implies that in order to enter the television market, Apple would have to release a product that solves fundamental problems with the TV market. In Hargreaves view, there are two problems Apple would have to target:
The first problem in the TV market is “poor quality of the user-interface.” The menu systems on PVRs are functional at best. Given this is the house that built the iPhone we’re talking about, Hargreaves does not anticipate Apple will have a problem cooking up a better interface.
The second problem is “forced bundling of pay TV content.” One example is HBO, which will not be offering their services ‘a-la carte’; instead you have to buy access to HBO along with an expensive cable package, much to the chagrin of TakeMyMoneyHBO.
Bundling content packages is a decidedly un-Apple approach; iTunes is the service which popularized selling individual tracks off of digital albums. The issue, as Hargreaves notes, is that Apple does not have the rights to distribute enough popular TV content to compete with broadcasters. They are bound by what the content owners will allow.
That said, some of these problems have been already solved to an extent. Netflix has a popular and user-friendly system for watching movies online. Sure, their system is one big bundle, but it’s cheap. $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming of a large library of content. Is there really an appetite for another, Apple branded service?
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