Apple said to be working on Web TV service like Dish's Sling TV
The electronics giant is talking with TV programmers about offering an Internet-based pay TV service, according to a report from Recode.
Shara TibkenFormer managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Apple's long-awaited TV service may finally be getting a jolt -- but the product still may not be available anytime soon.
The company is in talks with TV programmers about offering a Web-based pay TV service, much like Dish's Sling TV product and Sony's upcoming service, according to a report from Recode, which cited unnamed industry executives. Apple wouldn't offer an entire TV lineup but would bundle certain programming and sell it directly to customers over the Internet, the report said.
"That means Apple wouldn't be reinventing the way TV works today, but offering its own version of it, with its own interface and user experience," Recode said.
The company has shown programmers demos, but talks are still in the early stages, the publication said. Timing and pricing haven't yet been determined, and Apple hasn't yet talked to all programmers, Recode reported.
Apple declined to comment.
Apple has hinted for quite some time that it's working on a more complete, over-the-top video streaming service. However, there have been no signs such a product is close to ready, which largely has been attributed to difficulties securing content deals at reasonable rates.
"TV is a hard problem to solve," Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in May. "One of the problems you have with a TV is you have a disparate system with a bunch of providers. There's no standards. There's a lot of rights issues."
And Apple CEO Tim Cook recently dodged a question about an Apple TV offering during the company's earnings call last month, saying only that the company has sold 25 million units of its Apple TV box. Apple hasn't updated its $99 Apple TV hardware since the third-generation device launched in March 2012, but millions of customers have continued to buy the product that started out as a hobby. Cook didn't say anything about a more complete TV offering.
"At the sake of repeating myself, it's something that we continue to look at and work on and find a way that we can make an even greater contribution than what we're doing," Cook said.
Dish's Sling TV, meanwhile, is a $20 per month live TV package with 12 channels, including ESPN, TNT, CNN, HGTV and the Disney Channel. The new alternative-TV package, which streams channels over the Internet, is targeted at cash-strapped millennials and people who've never had a pay TV subscription, versus cord cutters who are planning to cancel their current service. And Sony's PlayStation Vue will launch with about 75 channels, including CBS (which owns CNET) and Fox.