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Apple TV (Nasdaq: AAPL) Will Be Huge in 2014 – But Not Because of Comcast

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will indeed make a big splash with Apple TV this year, but don't look for clues in the talks the tech giant is supposed to be having with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA).

Apple TVTech analysts and pundits have been beside themselves since Sunday when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Apple and Comcast were negotiating some sort of deal that would keep Apple's streaming video separated from other Internet traffic, ensuring a smooth user experience.

Somehow many immediately assumed that such discussions will lead to a much bigger deal that would combine Apple TV and Comcast's content.

Such speculation pushed Apple stock higher on Monday by as much as 1.43%.

While the idea of a cool, easy-to-use Apple-designed interface connected to Comcast's vast trove of content is compelling, it's never going to happen. It's simply not in the DNA of either company to share control of the user experience.

Any Apple-Comcast deal – if it happens – will be a straight-up payment by Apple of a "toll" to Comcast to ensure the smooth flow of its video traffic. Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) made a similar deal with Comcast last month.

All it means is that Apple wants to make sure that as it moves forward with additions and changes to Apple TV, its customers will continue to get the best possible experience. Apple learned the hard way (MobileMe, anyone?) that nothing else matters if customers have trouble using a service.

But what does Apple have in mind for Apple TV?

Apple has spent a long time trying to find the right strategy for its TV "hobby." The Apple TV set-top box debuted in 2007, but rumors of an actual Apple television set, sometimes called the iTV, have raged for at least three years.

Some analysts still think Apple will introduce an actual big-screen $7,000 ultra-high definition smart TV this year or next.

But that's not going to happen, either.

Steve Jobs said so himself, according to the just-released book on Apple, "Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs." The late Apple founder and chief executive officer told a group of top executives in 2010, "TV is a terrible business. They don't turn over and the margins suck."

But supposedly Jobs also said the company had plans to dominate in the living room via the $99 Apple TV.

And two things the company is likely to introduce this year will go a long way toward turning Apple TV from a hobby into a significant source of revenue.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. IDon'tThinkSo | March 27, 2014

    The most important thing players could do in the IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) space can do RIGHT NOW is introduce a way to queue and play programs to their boxes, preferably by the remote already included with the boxes (no more smartphone and tablet apps to fix what should have been included in the first place please as I'm not interested in trading a big honking monthly satellite TV bill for a big honking monthly mobile/wireless bill to make the IPTV experience more TV like).

    Having just dumped DirecTV for a second DSL line and a Roku 3 and Amazon Prime (got in just before the $20 a year increase to Amazon Prime and yes my 2 DSL lines are cheaper than a single DirecTV bill was) I find the most irritating things to be that I can't queue up a whole season of some show with just one or a few button pushes on the IPTV box's remote. That and the searching function needs to be a little less clunky. I know there are smartphone/tablet apps I can buy for different services like NetFlix as served up by my Roku 3 to make searching less clunky and slow but this should already be on my remote…the software could easily be updated by Roku to make this happen.

    In this economy who can afford a $7000 TV (and for such really awful new content that is out have got to be joking)??

    Have you see how cheap the latest offerings for the current standard of high definitiion TVs are at Costco?! You really think APPLE needs to make an overpriced next gen TV when most of the Japanese TV makers have partnered up with the Koreans to build OLEDs (or do you not get NHKWorld?) so that the Japanese legacy TV makers don't bankrupt themselves making TVs and get to stay in business another year or two.

    And why should APPLE or anyone else reinvent gaming when there are prefectly good gaming options out there (if you want cheaper games bug the classic game software developers and the ubiquitous smartphone/tablet app writers to make them cheaper and more cheerfully for the consoles and options already out there)?

    For the long term the TV/movie like content is where the improvements (for Pete's sake let me get to all that catalog of stuff out there and also please put some money and thoughtfullness into the making of new films and TV shows already and stop acting as if advertisers are the ultimate content customers because they are ***NOT!!!***) are needed so I can 'rent'/'buy' literally whatever I want right when I want it.

  2. Brian S | March 27, 2014

    Comcast has too much control

  3. ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven | March 28, 2014

    Google "CDTV" and "CD32", and you'll see that this has been in the cards for a long, long time now. We COULD have had it twenty years ago, if a few wealthy individuals didn't want everything for themselves, and nothing for "the competition."

    They were both great systems for the technology which was available at the time. They were just 25 years too early. Most people just couldn't see it.

    Now they can. But now, they're only concerned about profits. Back then, Jay Miner had a vision. Almost 40 years ago.

    And he was RIGHT!

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