Apple HDTV on Hold as Cable Companies BalkBy: Sean Patterson - September 7, 2012
Last month it was reported that Apple was in talks with cable companies over changing the current cable TV model with the upcoming Apple HDTV. Rumor had it that these talks were unlikely to yield results due to the cable companies’ hold over their content, and that an Apple branded HDTV would not be seen this year as a result.
Today, those rumors are confirmed, and it turns out that cable companies are even more paranoid about controlling their content than was commonly believed. Bloomberg cites a “person familiar with [Apple’s] plans” as saying analyst predictions of a fall release for the Apple HDTV were premature. It seems none of them took the cable companies’ stubbornness into account.
According to Bloomberg, there were two huge stumbling blocks preventing the negotiations from being successful. One was that cable companies insisted the Apple device be rented to consumers through cable providers, the way poor-quality DVRs and cable boxes currently are. The second is that cable companies wanted a say in the user interface software running on the device. Apple’s user interface. Given their history and business model, the user experience with an Apple product is obviously not something the company is prepared to negotiate on.
This demonstrates that even a company such as Apple, which changed (some would say saved) the music industry and revolutionized the tech industry in the past decade, can have the technology and design acumen to improve TV but still be stopped by entrenched, decades-old industries that refuse to embrace their growing obsolescence.