Apple iTV May Bring Custom Channel Lineups


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Yesterday we reported on a rumor that Apple was preparing to begin production of an iTV television set. While there have long been rumors of an Apple-branded TV, the current crop of reports makes it seem as though it may finally be happening.

Now it seems there’s a new wrinkle to the story. The current round of rumors came about on reports that Apple had been meeting with executives from entertainment companies, to advise them on Apple’s direction in the television market. Now it appears that some of those meetings may have involved the kind of content Apple wants to offer on the iTV. Citing a note to investors by industry analyst Shaw Wu, Apple Insider is reporting that Apple wants to offer consumers their choice of channels and programs for a monthly subscription fee.

The obstacle to any such arrangement would, of course, be the entertainment companies themselves. They have historically been very picky about allowing content to stream over the internet, and have repeatedly sought to stifle both Hulu and Netflix. The kind of programming Apple reportedly wants to offer would require a great deal of negotiation with a wide variety of companies. If Apple holds out for those deals to all be in place before launching an iTV, you can bet that we won’t be seeing one next year. On the other hand, they may choose to do with television programming what they did with the iTunes Music Store: proceed with what they have in place, and get the deals in place as they go. That method certainly served them well: Apple ultimately managed to more or less revolutionize the music industry. If this report is correct, it looks as though they may be trying to do the same thing with the rest of the entertainment industry. It’s an exciting thought, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next couple of years.

Would you get an iTV if it meant you could pay a monthly fee for programming a la carte? Do you think Apple can pull it off? Sound off in the comments.