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Apple TV rumors increase

While claims that Apple TV is ready for launch have been discounted, stories have emerged that Apple is in talks with cable companies.

John Paczkowski at All Things D claims that according to his sources, the company has held talks with a number of large cable operators about an unnamed new TV product.

Meanwhile Jefferies & Co investment bank claimed earlier this week that an Apple TV was imminent and could launch within months, though a number of tech bloggers feel these claims are premature.

As Paczkowski reports: “If Apple were close to launching a new service, it would almost certainly be in touch with TV programmers about new arrangements, and we haven’t heard anything along those lines.”

However, the stories persist partly because Steve Jobs says in his official biography that he was working on a TV product before he died, and partly because of the size and quality of the company’s standalone monitors. Many believe that they’re simply an AV receiver away from becoming prominent features in people’s living rooms.

Google has been attempting to disrupt the televisual status quo with its Google TV platform but so far, though improving with every update, it doesn’t appear to have captured users’ imaginations. Part of the problem has been agreeing deals to stream content in different countries and regions and that is why many of the features of Google Play — such as downloading and streaming music and video — have been absent in countries other than the US. It has taken Google two years to negotiate the rights in new territories.

In August, Apple’s head of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, was asked if Apple planned to launch a TV. In an interview with Pacific Crest he is quoted as saying it was unlikely without securing the right content deals: “[we wouldn’t deliver a TV until Apple could] deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model,” he said. When asked about a better TV navigation system, he agreed that creating one was a possibility but that it would be an “incomplete solution.”

The latest figures from Ooyala, published this week, show that viewers are turning away from PCs and towards tablets and smart TVs (ie, with internet connection) to watch a range of video content. It means that TV is still an important medium for entertainment, however, thanks to the infinite choice of content offered by the internet, being able to intelligently search that content and enjoy it is becoming difficult. Hence the popularity of the Apple TV box (it has sold over 5 million units) that allows users to wirelessly stream content from a computer, smartphone or tablet to their TV. People are using the computer to perform the search, then using the TV box to put the results on the big screen. All that’s missing is a product that seamlessly combines the two…

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