In the current TV war, one side consists of people who want to stream you old shows for a cheap subscription and let you buy new shows a la carte for cheap. The other side are cable conglomerates that want to you pay prices that will spiral consistently upwards for fat wads of channels you never watch mixed in with a few you actually care about.
Apple, for some reason, thought it could just show up, show cable its magic television, and say, “Hey, so, let’s destroy the entire model your industry is built on, because we’re Apple and are absolutely awesome!”
Yeah, that didn’t go so well.
The device in question is essentially Apple’s TiVo — it mixes streaming content and records live broadcasts to give you total control of what you watch and when. In other words, it offers absolutely everything the cable industry hates.
Try and hold back your shock at these revelations from Bloomberg:
In recent negotiations, the main stumbling blocks with cable companies have included a tussle for control over the software that determines the screen interface — the look and feel of the viewer’s experience, said people familiar with the discussions.
Apple and cable providers have also diverged on whether a new Apple TV set-top box should be sold directly to customers or leased through cable providers, said people familiar with the talks.
So, wait, the obsessive control freak company building these boxes and jealously guarding its ecosystem of apps and iTunes purchases, and the obsessive control freak cable industry jealously guarding its rapidly aging business model, couldn’t come to an agreement? I. Am. Stunned.
The key thing here that Apple doesn’t want to understand is that, yes, their device would be disruptive. And that’s exactly what the cable companies don’t want. In fact, streaming and people buying shows a la carte terrify them.
We’ll see this Apple TiVo eventually, though. Cable can’t continue to drive up prices. Once customers start leaving, a new Apple device will seem very tempting. Of course, by that time, it may also be too late.