Apple TV News

This is a discussion on Apple TV News within the Apple TV forums, part of the Apple Hardware category; Cable cutters can now access premium network Showtime, home to "Homeland" and "Dexter," via their Apple TV, which launched on Tuesday with a free 30-day ...

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    Showtime's new cord-cutter channel launches on Apple TV with 30-day free trial




    Cable cutters can now access premium network Showtime, home to "Homeland" and "Dexter," via their Apple TV, which launched on Tuesday with a free 30-day trial period.

    After the trial ends, Showtime will run subscribers $10.99 per month. The new Showtime streaming channel is available automatically on all second- and third-generation "hockey puck" Apple TV units.

    Showtime's streaming-only launch also arrives ahead of the premiere of the third season of "Ray Donovan," starring Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, which will air this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. It will be followed by the third season premiere of "Masters of Sex," starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, at 10 p.m.

    Showtime's new streaming service operates largely the same as HBO Now, which debuted exclusively on the Apple TV in April before making its way to other platforms. But Showtime also undercuts HBO Now's $14.99-per-month price point.





    The CBS-owned Showtime first announced last month that it would offer standalone, cable-free subscriptions. It was originally expected to launch July 12, making Tuesday's debut a few days early.

    Like HBO, Showtime is known for a combination of original programming and an extensive movie library. Among the channel's most well-known efforts are the thriller "Homeland," crime dramas "Dexter" and "Weeds," and other shows like "Californication" and "United States of Tara."







    7-7-15

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    Apple, networks progressing in talks over cable-killer TV app



    Where Barry Diller’s Aereo failed, Apple is hoping to succeed.

    The Cupertino, Calif., tech firm is making broadcast networks the centerpiece of its cable-killer TV app – and talks with all four networks are rapidly gaining momentum, The Post has learned.

    “The platform is ready and it rocks,” said one source.

    Apple’s discussions with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox initially foundered over the tech giant’s desire to offer on the soon-to-launch service local live TV feeds streamed on any Apple device, sources said.

    But networks don’t control affiliate feeds. So Apple CEO Tim Cook’s team asked the networks to obtain those rights – instead of having Apple chase those rights around the country itself.

    Now, it seems, Cook’s strategy is paying off, sources said.

    The networks are close to having the right to negotiate with Apple on behalf of their affiliates, the sources added.

    Those affiliate groups, which include Tribune and Sinclair, are being told by the networks that if they opt in and offer their feeds, they will be able to share in the added revenue the Apple streaming product will produce, sources tell The Post.

    “Apple has a lot of reach and this is a good opportunity,” said one network source.

    At CBS, executives are talking to affiliates about conducting Apple negotiations on their behalf, one TV source confirmed.

    At Fox, the network “has the ability to negotiate with Apple [for affiliates], or it will have it very soon,” a second executive added.

    Disney or CBS will likely sign the first deal with Apple to get the so-called skinny bundle off the ground – though a host of other hurdles remain, the sources suggest.

    One of those obstacles could be Apple’s insistence that TV partners give up 30 percent of the subscription fee if users buy it in the App Store.

    “That’s still a negotiation,” said one source, hinting that networks might vie to grab a larger slice of the pie.

    Others may push to include their cable channels in the product.

    Apple has not yet decided on how much it will charge for its streaming TV service. Industry sources have heard estimates ranging from $10 to $40 a month.

    Dish’s Sling – an online-only TV package – is $20 per month, while Sony PlayStation Vue’s tiered bundles cost $50 to $70 a month.

    Network discussions with Apple over compensation are complicated by the industry’s “most favored nation” deals, which state they can’t charge some distributors less than others.

    Cable channels, including Discovery, will likely be part of the package – as will ESPN, if Apple gets its way, sources said.

    Apple wants to launch the as-yet-unnamed product as soon as the late fall, sources said.

    Last week, Cook and his top media negotiator, Eddy Cue, were spotted at Allen & Co.’s mogulfest, at the famed Sun Valley duck pond, chatting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Bob Kraft – leading to speculation over whether Apple is brewing an NFL offering.

    “The theory is that it could have been staging to give TV executives the shivers,” joked one executive.

    Apple declined comment.





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    NFL will bring on-demand games to Apple TV for the first time w/ revamped Game Pass




    The NFL is about to retire Game Rewind, a paid service for users in the US that offers online streaming and apps for on-demand NFL games, and replace it with a revamped version of its Game Pass service that will bring full, on-demand games to Apple TV for the first time. Previously the Game Pass service was only available to users internationally and not available on Apple TV.

    A note on the NFL’s webpage for Game Rewind warns users that “as of July 31, 2015 Game Rewind will no longer be available.” The message, however, notes that users will be able to access games with “the all new NFL Game Pass,” and more importantly, promises that the service will soon arrive on Apple TV.

    Game Pass is already available for users through apps on mobile devices (the existing NFL Mobile app), but the NFL’s website for the revamped service coming July 31st notes that apps are coming to “Xbox One, Xbox 360, Apple TV, and more.”

    The new Game Pass service coming to Apple TV will mark the first time that users have access to watch full NFL games on the device, although the service won’t offer any live streams of regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl game broadcasts. Currently, the Apple TV has an app called “NFL Now” that only offers access to breaking news, analysis, and on-demand highlights and video archives.

    The service includes all 256 regular season games on-demand, some live out-of-market preseason games, and archives of games from 2009-2015 including Super Bowls. Pricing doesn’t appear to be listed yet for the US, but here in Canada the service offers a Season plan for $244.99 with every Preseason and Regular Season game, or a Season Plus plan for $305 that adds replays of 2015 playoff games and Super Bowl 50.

    As for when you’ll get access to watch games on-demand: “Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games, and Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are available following the conclusion of the applicable game telecast”

    The new NFL Game Pass service is available in the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico.





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    Apple's Jimmy Iovine hints at curation playing part in future TV product




    While discussing Apple Music in a new interview published on Thursday, Apple executive Jimmy Iovine mentioned the prospect of applying curation to TV, potentially pointing to a direction for Apple's rumored streaming TV service.

    "We all know one thing, we all have different television delivery systems, don't we all wish that the delivery systems were better, as far as curation and service?" Iovine told Wired without being asked about the topic.

    He claimed that while all of the current systems are "technically good," and companies like Netflix are crossing into original content, they don't help in finding something to watch.

    "That box helps you none – it doesn't help. You're on your own. And eventually that will catch them unless somebody digs in and really helps the customer. And entertainment needs that, it needs to live and breathe," the executive said.

    He added however that he isn't planning to get involved in any TV projects, because music alone is "so daunting that I can't even think about anything else."

    Rumors have circulated for many months that Apple is working on a TV streaming service with a "skinny" bundle of channels. The company has reportedly had a tough time negotiating content deals though, and the most recent rumor hinted at a 2016 launch, or at best late 2015.

    Curation might also simply be applied to a refreshed Apple TV set-top expected in September. That device should not only have Siri and an App Store, but a new operating system, which could in theory use curation to better highlight videos available to buy and rent.





    8-7-15

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    Report: Apple TV service pushed back to 2016, new hardware expected in September





    A report on Thursday claims Apple has been forced to delay the announcement of a hotly anticipated over-the-top streaming television service to sometime in 2016 as content licensing talks sputter.

    Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Apple originally wanted to announce a live streaming service at this year's iPhone event, but those plans were put on ice as deals with major networks like CBS, 21st Century Fox and NBC have yet to be brokered.

    The dealmaking process seems to be touch-and-go, as a report just last month claimed Apple was making headway with ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Aside from the arduous process of finding a middle ground with entrenched TV networks, Apple also has to secure broadcasting rights for local content.

    Earlier today, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said there is a 50-50 chance that Apple would unveil its OTT service during next month's iPhone event.

    In addition to licensing hurdles, Apple reportedly lacks a network infrastructure capable of feeding what is expected to be a large number of Apple TV boxes. Apple supposedly needs to populate servers around the U.S. with content to ensure a smooth streaming experience, but so far only fields data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. The company has been building out a proprietary network, but currently leans heavily on Akamai to handle its content distribution grunt work.

    The publication went on to quote sources as saying Apple's upcoming service would sell for around $40 per month, on the high side of previous estimates. Past rumor and speculation suggest Apple plans to market a so-called "skinny" channel bundle with participation from major networks and select cable offerings, though licensing fees and final customer cost were up in the air.

    Finally, sources said they expect Apple to debut a revamped Apple TV set-top box at the as-yet-unannounced September keynote even without the OTT service. The hardware issaid to feature upgraded internals, touchpad remote, support for Siri and a dedicated app store.





    8-14-15

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    Apple streaming TV service negotiations remain divided over $40-per-month pricing




    Though new Apple TV hardware is expected to appear at an upcoming Sept. 9 event, Apple's long-awaited subscription television service is reaffirmed to remain on hold, thanks to ongoing negotiations with content owners.

    Echoing earlier reports, Jessica Lessin of The Information said in a letter to subscribers on Friday that she has been told by sources that the "economics" of a subscription TV service remain the main sticking point between Apple and its potential partners. Specifically, the price Apple wants to charge consumers is said to be too low for content makers, preventing the service from debuting next month.




    Siri voice input
    New remote with touchpad
    Dedicated App Store
    Debut at Sept. 9 event




    "There's still a big gap between the price media companies want for their TV channels and the roughly $40 a month Apple wants to charge consumers," Lessin wrote. "Something has to give."

    Lessin's sources said that in the absence of a subscription service, Apple will focus on integration with HomeKit accessories, allowing the Apple TV to be a hub for controlling connected devices in the home.

    She was also told that Apple plans to spotlight security, highlighting the fact that data will be stored on the Apple TV itself and not in the cloud.

    Apple's interest in $40-and-under pricing has been publicized since March. Back then, it was said Apple hoped it could work out a deal to launch the new service, and a new set-top box, by June, in time for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

    But neither the service nor new hardware were unveiled at WWDC, and the new Apple TV unveiling is now said to be a part of Apple's Sept. 9 event. The device is said to include support for Siri voice control, a new remote with touchpad, and a dedicated App Store for third-party downloads.

    Despite the hardware's apparent imminent launch, multiple reports have said the subscription service has been internally delayed to sometime in 2016, due to sputtering talks with major networks like CBS, Fox, and NBC.

    But in addition to alleged licensing hurdles, Apple has also been said to lack a network infrastructure capable of feeding what is expected to be a large number of Apple TV boxes. Apple supposedly needs to populate servers around the U.S. with content to ensure a smooth streaming experience, but so far only fields data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. The company has been building out a proprietary network, but currently leans heavily on Akamai to handle its content distribution grunt work.





    8-28-15

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    New, polished Apple TV interface said to 'blow away' existing smart TVs




    The launch of new Apple TV hardware may have been delayed from WWDC to Apple's Sept. 9 event to allow the company more time to polish its interface, one that will allegedly "blow away" current, "junky" smart TV interfaces.

    In a preview of Apple's upcoming event, Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch revealed some interesting tidbits he's heard from sources about the anticipated hardware refresh. Specifically, he said the interface on the new device has been heavily refined by the company, particularly in the final touches put in place.

    Panzarino went as far as to say that the new iteration of the set-top box will be the "first real Apple TV product" from the Cupertino, Calif., company.

    He believes that by including an App Store that will allow content to be delivered directly to consumers, Apple will gain leverage in negotiations with traditional media companies. Those talks for a subscription streaming TV service have allegedly been held up over issues of pricing.

    "A mid-market breakout box offering is one thing, but a huge, rumbling platform with an upward trajectory of living-room dominating apps and third-party content is another beast," Panzarino wrote. "If, obviously if, Apple is successful with the Apple TV, it could be in a position to dominate content in a way that no other 'smart' TV platform has before it."

    The report also reaffirmed that the new Apple TV is expected to boast the same A8 processor found in the current iPhone 6 series. But sources indicated that Apple will be able to push the chip even farther with a new dual-core configuration that is constantly plugged into the wall, with no need to worry about battery conservation as in an iPhone.

    Earlier reports estimated the A8's PowerVR graphics that are estimated to be about on par with a Sony PlayStation 3.

    Panzarino also revealed that Siri support on the new Apple TV is said to be possible through a microphone on the device's new touchpad controller. He expects the revamped controller will also include motion sensors that could put it on par with Nintendo's Wii remote, and offer similar style gaming functionality.

    All will be revealed at Apple's media event on Sept. 9, where it is also expected to take the wraps off of its next-generation "iPhone 6s" series. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage from San Francisco.





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    Apple TV Said to Have Motion Sensitive Remote Control Targeted at Casual Gamers




    In a report corroborating several oft-rumored features of the next-generation Apple TV, including an A8 chip and a native SDK for creating apps, TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino has revealed that the set-top box will also have a motion sensitive remote control with multi-axis sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone for Siri.


    Panzarino claims the redesigned remote control will likely be targeted at casual gamers:


    A game controller with a microphone, physical buttons, a touchpad and motion sensitive controls would be extremely capable. While Apple is likely going to target the broad casual gaming market, I would not be shocked to see innovative gameplay blossom from that type of input possibility. Think, for instance, of multi-player gaming with several people using voice input, or many popular genres of party games that would do far better on the TV than on an iPad or iPhone.


    A new Apple TV with an App Store and easy-to-use controller could lure a significant number of casual gamers away from competing platforms such as Nintendo, in the same way that smartphones have undermined other handheld gaming devices. Coupled with on-demand movies and TV shows, home automation and a streaming TV service, the new Apple TV could dominate the living room.

    Almost instantaneously, the Apple TV will no longer be Apple's "hobby" product.


    If Apple did indeed ‘delay’ the Apple TV from being released at WWDC, then it probably had a reason. And, if my sources are correct, that reason could well be polish, polish, polish. The experience of using it is said to blow away the types of junky smart TV interfaces we’ve had to deal with so far. This is the first real Apple TV product.


    Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV at its September 9th media event.





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    NFL Game Pass comes to Apple TV with updated app




    With the 2015 NFL campaign set to kick off, Apple on Monday pushed an update to the league's Apple TV app that adds access to live streaming via Game Pass alongside a new design.

    With a Game Pass subscription, Apple TV owners can watch any out-of-market preseason game live. Regular season games will be available on demand the day after they air, and archival footage of games between 2009 and 2014 is available any time.

    Game Pass subscribers outside of North America and the UK can also stream regular-season games live, along with the same on-demand privileges and video archive.







    Interested Apple TV owners can subscribe to Game Pass on the set-top streamer via iTunes, or access subscriptions purchased through other venues. A $99.99 subscription will provide access until July 31 of next year.

    The update come as Apple is expected to introduce a new, fourth-generation Apple TV at its Sept. 9 special event. AppleInsider will be on hand in San Francisco and will provide live coverage from the venue.





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    Next-gen Apple TV priced at $149, will include universal search




    Finding content will be easier than ever with the next-generation Apple TV, a new report has revealed, as Apple will include universal search in its revamped set-top box, said to be priced starting at $149.

    Details on the new Apple TV, expected to be revealed next week, were shared on Wednesday by John Paczkowski of Buzzfeed. According to his sources, the new Apple TV will boast universal search, allowing users to enter the name of a program and find out where they can watch it, from a number of providers like Netflix and iTunes.

    "Universal search will dramatically improve the Apple TV experience," Paczkowski wrote, calling its inclusion a "big deal."

    Wednesday's report also revealed that the device will start at $149, which would be a jump up from the $99 price the second- and third-generation Apple TV units started at. The third-gen Apple TV currently sells for $69, after a price cut in March.

    However, it's also half the price of the first-generation Apple TV, released early 2007 – before the first iPhone – for $299.

    Search on the new Apple TV is expected to tie into the new Siri functionality of the device. Apple's own invitation to next week's event includes the tagline "Hey Siri, give us a hint," which is likely a reference to voice input on the revised set-top box.

    In addition to searching for specific names of programs, users will also reportedly be able to find content based on the names of actors or directors.

    The microphone for Siri is expected to be a part of a revamped controller also rumored to include a touchpad and gyroscopes for alternative input methods. The new Apple TV is also expected to include an App Store, allowing users to add their own content sources, and potentially other forms of entertainment such as games.

    The apparent ability of Siri to tap into third-party content and apps on the upcoming Apple TV would be a major enhancement for Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant. While Siri on iOS can currently deliver information from a variety of sources across the Web, there is no Siri API allowing developers to provide their own information to the service.






    Not expected to be a part of next week's launch, however, is an anticipated subscription streaming television service from Apple. Reports have alleged that Apple has hit snags in negotiations with content providers, pushing the service back to a likely 2016 launch.

    It is believed that the main sticking point between Apple and content providers is pricing, as Apple apparently wishes to price its service at $40 or lower.

    Apple's media briefing will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern in San Francisco, where it is also expected to unveil its next-generation "iPhone 6s." AppleInsider will be in attendance with full, live coverage of the announcements.





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