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Apple postponing HDTV plans due to lack of content deals

updated 12:40 pm EST, Mon November 11, 2013

Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV negating need for full-scale TV set

Apple is no longer planning to ship a dedicated TV set in 2014, claims NPD DisplaySearch. The firm quotes sources in the TV supply chain industry, who add that one of the main obstacles is the company's inability to secure deals for proprietary content. While Apple is potentially an attractive partner, earlier reports have suggested that TV networks are reluctant to risk the lucrative deals they have with cable and satellite companies, which typically bundle channels into packages.

NPD claims that a TV set was originally due to launch in the second half of 2014. Instead the product has been put on hold while Apple focuses on other endeavors, namely the iWatch.

The director of North American TV research for NPD DisplaySearch, Paul Gagnon, speculates that Apple may also be seeing less financial incentive to make a TV. Peripherals like the Roku, the Chromecast, and the Apple TV set-top are thought to be eliminating the need for a "smart" TV in the first place. "Indeed, the existing Apple TV box may be an impediment to Apple's success with a smart TV product, which as a category, is not growing in the US as many had hoped for," Gagnon writes. "Our most recent smart TV forecast is that they will only account for about a quarter of TV shipments in 2013, and grow very slowly from there, with the focus on low-end premium models."

by MacNN Staff



  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    A la carte program sounds like a real good idea but if no contents supporting it (that's Hollywood), there's really nothing to see. Cable TV will continue to dominate the market for a very long while.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Do the networks risk losing to models such as Netflix if they won't paradigm shift...?

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    coffeetime: My opinion is that "dominate" theory is too absolute to be true these days. Where cable can (and must) succeed is being the offerer of more options. Already, hardware (like ROKU, Apple TV, Smart TV) and software (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) offer alternatives to the "only here, only now" programming dominant the last 6 decades. In addition, satellite provides the mobile advantages to the fixed location of cable viewing, while non-traditional studios' (HBO, AMC, etc) become more popular and thusly less dependent on cable subscriptions. My feeling is as soon as one major network and/or studio (e.g. Fox or Disney) realizes it can maintain or exceed revenue levels by expanding to new markets via new distribution channels, the floodgates will open. Content is king and that is by no means wholly determined by cable TV these days.

    Ask AT&T how dominant its home phone service is these days.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    pairof9s: I agree with your opinion to a degree. I just think that devices like Apple TV, ROKU, Chromecast, XBOX Live....etc are still being treated like a hobby or a niche by consumers for use as mainstream TV viewing. That's because content wise they are very limited (& lots of old stuffs). The studio did test the water (Disney on iTunes and many others) and I am sure they can tell us which media distribution formats yields higher profit and that's what they are going to lean toward to.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    DVD is yet another perfect example of old way of media distributions that doesn't go away. That's because studios make serious profit from selling it. Especially those movies that didn't make profit showing in theatre but yet DVD contents made up the differences. And who determines the choice? It's us, the consumers.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    The video Media are terrified of the same thing happening as what happened in the music industry: their own cluelessness allowed the emergence of a massive new distribution portal that wasn't their own.

    The video industry is stalling until they've figured out how to pre-empty Apple with their own functional system.

  1. Vulpine

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-18-11

    While some parts of the argument seem valid, other parts are obviously speculation based more on rumors than any firm data. After all, Apple already has a pretty good mix of content providers working with them, including both Netflix and Hulu. On the other hand, other networks are naturally hesitant to consider a venue that is so significantly different from traditional distribution channels. The problem is, those 'traditional' channels have a habit of adding and removing network programming based solely on their overall viewership; completely ignoring the fact that some have very dedicated followings even if they are more niche than the popular programs.

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