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Time Warner would give up user interface control to an Apple cable box

post #1 of 37
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An executive with Time Warner has indicated that his company would give up control of the user interface of its services to Apple in order to broker a deal.

Rob Marcus, chief operating officer with Time Warner, said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference that his company has spoken with Apple about possible agreements, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Apple has reportedly been interested in providing or controlling the cable operator's user interface in a push to have a greater presence in the living room.

Marcus said to achieve its goals, Time Warner may consider "giving up control of the interface" to "maximize the capabilities" and "give Time Warner Cable customers the best possible experience."

If Time Warner were to relinquish control, Marcus said the cable operator would need to ensure that customers know its TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable and not any third parties. While he said Time Warner would give up user interface control, the company will not "give up the customer relationship."

The comments come after a number of reports have indicated that Apple has expressed interest in building a set-top cable box. Such a device is not expected to hit the market anytime soon, if at all, because of stalled talks with media companies and cable providers.

>Apple TV


But the comments from Marcus suggest that Time Warner is not one of the media companies allegedly standing in the way of Apple's plans to have a greater presence in the living room.

Apple is said to have had discussions with major cable operators to let consumers use a branded set-top box to view both live television and Internet-based content. Apple is rumored to have proposed an advanced cloud-based video recording service that some said would blur the line between live and on-demand content.

Apple was said to have been particularly interested in storing recorded content in the cloud, which would allow users to start any show at any time from a number of devices beyond their living room television set.
post #2 of 37
Now there is a sensible man!

edit: I'm not sure how he sees it working would be acceptable to Apple but at least he sees the value of Apple's interface. Hopefully they can work something out and move forward.
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post #3 of 37
Sounds like a reasonable possibility. Essentially an Apple TV with cable tuner inside that is customized for each Cable company but which still allows access to the Apple store for apps. I could see the value of that.
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post #4 of 37
Hhhmmmmm it can work of you payed for apple content with iTunes on the box and for the cable content separately..
post #5 of 37
Customer relationship - come on, you guys have monopolies not relationships.
post #6 of 37
Off topic ... anyone heard what time iOS 6 is expected to be released?
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post #7 of 37

Steve Jobs would have finished this negotiation by now,

 

and if not by now,

 

100% on Apple's terms, regarding the interface/end-user experience.

 

This could be the beginning of TV a-la-cart.
 

post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Off topic ... anyone heard what time iOS 6 is expected to be released?

 

~ 1:00PM EST

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

~ 1:00PM EST

Thanks!
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post #10 of 37
This sounds promising, but wouldn't there be a potential conflict over which company would sell/rent supplemental content to the consumer? i.e., iTunes vs. Time Warner PPV.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Customer relationship - come on, you guys have monopolies not relationships.

 

" And we'd like to keep it that way..."

post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Off topic ... anyone heard what time iOS 6 is expected to be released?

 

 

I believe 1PM EST.

post #13 of 37
Monopoly is right. I'd LOVE TV a la cart . Why would I want to pay for all the garbage channels when all I want is ~10 channels tops and to get them normally I'd have to shell out for the premium "package" from a cable company... that's the main reason I don't by cable now a days, it's just a scam at this point and Im not willing to pay so much for all that I don't use (a lot of my friends feel the same way). i don't need 10 ESPNs or 5 different home shopping networks. I would however pay $2 a month for channels like comedy central and maybe $4 a month for premium like HBO - but I better be able to have access on my laptop and TV and be able to review shows that already aired (kind of like HBO does for Game of Thrones). Hey, here's hoping!
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post


I believe 1PM EST.

Thanks ... ready and waiting /grin
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post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

This sounds promising, but wouldn't there be a potential conflict over which company would sell/rent supplemental content to the consumer? i.e., iTunes vs. Time Warner PPV.

Yes, but I don't think it's insurmountable. Apple is driven by hardware sales. The ability to sell millions of set top boxes which connect to the Apple Store for application purchases and perhaps iTunes for music would be plenty of incentive for Apple to move on this - even if Time Warner gets the PPV sales. Or maybe Apple would take a percentage just like they do on iTunes or Apple Store. Either way, I don't see it as a deal-breaker.
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post #16 of 37
I want a device where I can choose the content - whether it be subscribing to a network, a specific channel, or an individual TV series. Preferably separate from my TV (like an Apple TV) so if it breaks, I can just replace it.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Yes, but I don't think it's insurmountable. Apple is driven by hardware sales. The ability to sell millions of set top boxes which connect to the Apple Store for application purchases and perhaps iTunes for music would be plenty of incentive for Apple to move on this - even if Time Warner gets the PPV sales. Or maybe Apple would take a percentage just like they do on iTunes or Apple Store. Either way, I don't see it as a deal-breaker.

Why would Apple get a cut from PPV?
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post #18 of 37
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Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Why would Apple get a cut from PPV?

I'm not saying that they would. Just that it's possible if that's what the parties agree to.

Arguably, the only reason they get a cut from Apple Store and iTunes is that they are providing the infrastructure. One could easily argue that it doesn't apply with PPV. I was just suggesting that it wouldn't be impossible to do.
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post #19 of 37

These guys are struggling to hold on to thier customers so they are desperate to have some sort of edge. They are losing customers left and right to Fios. Atop that , they are bigger crooks than anyone out there. I dont see any partnership happening in my opinion. Now,  a verizon/apple venture makes more sense. The network is already fiber and they can compete with google's beta project better. But as someone pointed out, all these providers are really direct competition to Apple (with thier VOD services), so Im not sure how that can work out.

post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by msalganik View Post

Monopoly is right. I'd LOVE TV a la cart . Why would I want to pay for all the garbage channels when all I want is ~10 channels tops and to get them normally I'd have to shell out for the premium "package" from a cable company... that's the main reason I don't by cable now a days, it's just a scam at this point and Im not willing to pay so much for all that I don't use (a lot of my friends feel the same way). i don't need 10 ESPNs or 5 different home shopping networks. I would however pay $2 a month for channels like comedy central and maybe $4 a month for premium like HBO - but I better be able to have access on my laptop and TV and be able to review shows that already aired (kind of like HBO does for Game of Thrones). Hey, here's hoping!

The cable companies have no control over what the networks want to do. Many of these channels are owned by a parent company, besides owning all the Disney channels, Disney owns ABC, ESPN, and has a 50% stake in A&E which is a host of another 10 channels or so. Getting TV a la carte (the correct spelling of it) is going to be a uphill battle of which the cable companies have little control over, they only deliver the content.
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post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I'm not saying that they would. Just that it's possible if that's what the parties agree to.
Arguably, the only reason they get a cut from Apple Store and iTunes is that they are providing the infrastructure. One could easily argue that it doesn't apply with PPV. I was just suggesting that it wouldn't be impossible to do.

You also gotta remember that the cable company is probably only getting a small cut from PPV to begin with. If one orders a movie it's the studio that gets the lion share and if it's a boxing match HBO gets it. I doubt they'll then give Apple a cut from the small sum they receive. BTW I think TW uses Samsung boxes, if Apple were to be awarded the set top box contract and Samsung is forced to pay 3 billion in damages would be a very big blow to them. OUCH!!!
Edited by dasanman69 - 9/19/12 at 10:26am
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Sounds like a reasonable possibility. Essentially an Apple TV with cable tuner inside that is customized for each Cable company but which still allows access to the Apple store for apps. I could see the value of that.


The tuner would not be customized for each cable company because it would be a QAM tuner. However, the conditional access would be different for each cable company. Apple would have to license it. Or they could just provide their own encoding equipment at the headend which their set top box would know how to decrypt. Some cable systems do that so they can use Motorola and Scientific Atlanta set top boxes on the same network.

post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Customer relationship - come on, you guys have monopolies not relationships.


Customer relationship means the cable company would need to make as much money as before or no (business) deal.

post #24 of 37
I think that Time Warner knows that their DVR offerings completely suck. They just updated the UI on their deployed fleet of Scientific Atlanta / Cisco boxes, and it still sucks, it just sucks with darker colors now.

If they paired up with Apple to deliver an AppleTV that had a CableCard slot on it and a hard disk for DVR storage, I'd actually consider not firing them.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pt123 View Post


The tuner would not be customized for each cable company because it would be a QAM tuner. However, the conditional access would be different for each cable company. Apple would have to license it. Or they could just provide their own encoding equipment at the headend which their set top box would know how to decrypt. Some cable systems do that so they can use Motorola and Scientific Atlanta set top boxes on the same network.

While the tuner would not have to be customized, the access would. In addition, the cable companies would probably insist on some kind of visual cues to indicate that it's their box.
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post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If Time Warner were to relinquish control, Marcus said the cable operator would need to ensure that customers know its TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable and not any third parties.

I don't get this. People sign up for Time Warner Cable and pay their bills to Time Warner Cable. How would customers ever not know TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable?

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post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I don't get this. People sign up for Time Warner Cable and pay their bills to Time Warner Cable. How would customers ever not know TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable?

That's not the issue. It's one of branding. Time Warner wants to make sure their brand is prominent so that it's the first thing the customer sees when turning on the TV and looking at the on-screen menus.
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post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I don't get this. People sign up for Time Warner Cable and pay their bills to Time Warner Cable. How would customers ever not know TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable?

Plus the set top box is made by Motorola, Samsung, Scientific Atlanta, etc... Why doesn't that confuse the consumer but a Apple box will?
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post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Customer relationship - come on, you guys have monopolies not relationships.

I'm not fan of cable companies, but I think your statement does not reflect reality in most places outside of small towns.    In New York City, you generally have a choice of Comcast, RCN, Time-Warner, Verizon FIOS, Dish, AT&T + all the services offered on the web and a whole bunch I didn't mention.    There are more choices for this content than at any time in technology history.  Not very vendor is available in every location, but there are choices.  

 

I don't blame Time-Warner:  they did the marketing to acquire the customer and they want to keep that customer.  I actually don't think that's going to be a problem.  Isn't that the relationship Apple has with the phone companies?   I may have purchased my iPhone directly from Apple, but I'm an AT&T customer.  I get billed and marketed from AT&T.

 

I don't think Apple has much of a chance dealing directly with the cable channels because they can't risk their relationships with the MSOs.   So going to the MSOs is Apple's best bet.     They can then supplement the MSO content with their own acquisitions as per Apple TV. 

post #30 of 37
Dammit! I NEED to know if Apple is going to do this NOW!!! /sarcasm.

But I joke because I'm about ready to throw my Scientific Atlantic Explorer HDDVR box out the f-ing window and buy a Tivo. We relocated to the Albany region from Central NY a few months ago and are already on our 3rd box, going to be Number 4 tomorrow, because all of TWC's boxes have been crap.

We had the same issue years ago in our previous locations. It took me 3 boxes before I found one where the HDD didn't crap out after a week's worth of use or that the HDMI port didn't crap out or the entire Java OS crash hard.

I would give my left AND right nut for my cable to come through an Apple set top box with Apple TV integrated! Or better yet and TV!
post #31 of 37

Quote:

Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Why would Apple get a cut from PPV?

 

Because the proposition is to use iTunes and not make a separate PPV cable offer. Cable and Apple are not going to fight over rentals on the TV, they are going to share profits.

 

From what I understand with the current BCE negotiations, the problem is not UI but client handling. BCE wants to keep full control on its clients and share all sales on the TV with Apple, this includes all itunes video on demand and apps that run on the TV. VoD is a part of cable business so iTunes profits must be shared between Apple and Cable. On the other side, cable with distribute all video rentals to consumer WITHOUT using any internet bandwidth. 

They don't want to have Apple control client information like they do when they sell in app magazine subscription for example where Apple shield clients info to the content provider. 

 

Cable is NOT going to give Apple control on its subscribers. Its a shame we are stall over this because everything it ready: The cable box, the TV, the channel UI and it all works on the IPTV network.  

post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

Dammit! I NEED to know if Apple is going to do this NOW!!! /sarcasm.

But I joke because I'm about ready to throw my Scientific Atlantic Explorer HDDVR box out the f-ing window and buy a Tivo. We relocated to the Albany region from Central NY a few months ago and are already on our 3rd box, going to be Number 4 tomorrow, because all of TWC's boxes have been crap.

We had the same issue years ago in our previous locations. It took me 3 boxes before I found one where the HDD didn't crap out after a week's worth of use or that the HDMI port didn't crap out or the entire Java OS crash hard.

I would give my left AND right nut for my cable to come through an Apple set top box with Apple TV integrated! Or better yet and TV!

Don't undervalue your nuts.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

Because the proposition is to use iTunes and not make a separate PPV cable offer. Cable and Apple are not going to fight over rentals on the TV, they are going to share profits.

From what I understand with the current BCE negotiations, the problem is not UI but client handling. BCE wants to keep full control on its clients and share all sales on the TV with Apple, this includes all itunes video on demand and apps that run on the TV. VoD is a part of cable business so iTunes profits must be shared between Apple and Cable. On the other side, cable with distribute all video rentals to consumer WITHOUT using any internet bandwidth. 




They don't want to have Apple control client information like they do when they sell in app magazine subscription for example where Apple shield clients info to the content provider. 



 
Cable is NOT going to give Apple control on its subscribers. Its a shame we are stall over this because everything it ready: The cable box, the TV, the channel UI and it all works on the IPTV network.
  

What part of " to ensure that customers know its TV services are being provided by Time Warner Cable and not any third parties" didn't you understand?
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post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Don't undervalue your nuts.

 

Ever.

post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post

I would give my left AND right nut for my cable to come through an Apple set top box with Apple TV integrated! Or better yet and TV!
So with that transaction complete we can assume that the cable company is not going to make any money selling you pay-per-view in the "adult" category!

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post #36 of 37
"rumroed?" Don't you guys use spellcheck? ;-)

Apple, again, will pave the way for a radical change in how content is delivered to the consumer. Then Amazon and Google will jump on the train at the next stop, using names that are close enough, but not quite, like ATV - Amazon TV Store... most likely without the proper licensing for storing said content on multiple devices or distributing to multiple devices via a cloud service...
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by hzc View Post

"rumroed?" Don't you guys use spellcheck? ;-)
Apple, again, will pave the way for a radical change in how content is delivered to the consumer. Then Amazon and Google will jump on the train at the next stop, using names that are close enough, but not quite, like ATV - Amazon TV Store... most likely without the proper licensing for storing said content on multiple devices or distributing to multiple devices via a cloud service...

 

Actually Amazon already offers this with it's Amazon Video on Demand service.

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