Apple TV 4K could be used by big UK cable firm as set-top box

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 8
Apple is reportedly in early-stage talks with the UK's BT over a potential new partnership, where customers of the EE broadband service could be offered an Apple TV to watch BT's own pay-TV channels, rather than using BT's existing set-top box.




The discussions center around British Telecom's carrier and broadband supplier EE, reports the Telegraph, with the proposals involving BT providing EE customers with an Apple TV to use. The Apple TV would be preloaded with apps that would offer access to pay TV content produced by BT, such as BT Sport, as well as those of other broadcasters.

There is already a relationship between Apple and EE, with the latter providing the Apple TV 4K for a monthly fee, but without a pay-TV element. Based on the report, the plan could alter this existing deal to add the preloaded channel apps.

BT already competes with existing pay TV companies Sky and Virgin Media, and provides its BT Broadband customers a set-top box that uses the home broadband connection, with customers able to access many free-to-air channels alongside paid channel packages. BT Sport, BT's main self-operated channel, is also available to view via mobile apps and on other platforms, including the Apple TV.

Neither BT nor Apple have commented on the report.

It is thought the deal is similar to the one made between Apple and Switzerland's Salt announced at WWDC 2018, with the telecoms and TV company offering the Apple TV as an alternative set-top box to customers. Similar deals have also been made with Canal+ in France, with Charter Spectrum also examining the concept of replacing traditional set-top boxes with the more compact Apple TV.

The proposal is likely to be part of BT's consumer chief Marc Allera's strategy to partner with other technology companies to improve its services. Allera is said to have doubted that BT could compete with firms like Apple and Amazon in developing the company's own set-top boxes, with a switch to producing the software experience on other platforms likely to be an easier prospect than to maintain hardware.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,577member
    This is kind of like Car Play, slowly inching more and more into being a really great, ready-made device for OEMs.  Who would have thought a few years ago car buying decisions could be made on whether or not the car came with Car Play? It happens now all the time.   It makes far more sense for TV providers like this to use a well made, updated and maintained product like AppleTV and free themselves of the hassle of developing their own.
    racerhomie3repressthisclaire1chiaolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    andyblacandyblac Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    BT / EE is not a cable company, BT is an ISP that uses Over The Air (terrestrial) broadcast. it uses FreeView with an Internet decryption component to decrypt the encrypted channels, that is included in the OverTheAir broadcast.
    repressthismpw_amherstwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,398member
    Great but can someone explain to me the reason the TV might be preferred over other boxes for these companies? Is it just Apple offering to provide the equipment free for the PR or is it because of some feature or capability the TV has?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.
    edited October 8 williamlondonrepressthisclaire1olswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,538member
    A bit surprised that BT would be the one to go this route, they've historically been quite inwards focussed with regard to their technology, and they've certainly got the clout to put out their own boxes.  EE normally uses rebadged BT Smart Hubs which are pretty good.

    Maybe they feel like they're on the back foot since they don't have the media presence that the other big providers, Sky and Virgin, have.
    repressthis
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Having switched a few weeks ago from Comcrap to DirecTV Now, we are effectively using a couple of Apple TVs as our set-top boxes. The X1 system was pretty good, but I don't really miss it (nor do I miss being screwed over by Comcast's horrible pricing).

    The Apple TV still needs a better remote (preferably one that allows you to directly access channels), but we're otherwise quite happy with it! (To be fair, however, I've been using an Apple TV since the original pizza box)
    williamlondonrepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 18
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,266member
    Having switched a few weeks ago from Comcrap to DirecTV Now, we are effectively using a couple of Apple TVs as our set-top boxes. The X1 system was pretty good, but I don't really miss it (nor do I miss being screwed over by Comcast's horrible pricing).

    The Apple TV still needs a better remote (preferably one that allows you to directly access channels), but we're otherwise quite happy with it! (To be fair, however, I've been using an Apple TV since the original pizza box)
    Are you using DirectNow or DIrecTV. I have DVT and ATV, did not subscribe to DirectNow since you could not DVR and some shows we watch are not offered as OnDemand. Plus I am a channel surfer and do not like ATV since you cannot easily jump from one live program to another.

    This was Apple approach since Steve was around to just replace the STB with ATV. Cable operators hate the STB and would be happy to not have to provide it to you and let you buy your own. They now have that solution.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,266member
    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.

    Simple solution, change the password on your WiFi network and do not allow guest access without a password. Can not connect to what it does not have access to. I have everything in my house hardwired. Wireless is only for cellphone and laptops. All my other electronics with internet capabilities are hardwired including the TV but the TV and a few other things are blocked by the router from access the internet, they can access my NAS and video server.
    icoco3maciekskontaktrepressthisbestkeptsecretwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    MedEdMedEd Posts: 1member
    Any word on when the Spectrum app for Apple TV will be available?  I love my Apple TV, but the Spectrum app for Roku has me seriously considering "changing teams"
  • Reply 10 of 18
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,454member

    ...

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    ....
    Can you delete the WiFi profile so it can't connect?  Or change the WiFi pass-code on the router if all else fails?

    I agree big time here, if I turned it off they should not have ANY permission to turn it back on.  Maybe a popup recommending to connect and check for updates but that is it.
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    MacPro said:
    This is kind of like Car Play, slowly inching more and more into being a really great, ready-made device for OEMs.  [...]  It makes far more sense for TV providers like this to use a well made, updated and maintained product like AppleTV and free themselves of the hassle of developing their own.
    There are a few glaring problems with the Apple TV that I would want to see addressed before making it my primary viewing interface. In the interest of brevity I won't bother itemizing them again -- I've detailed the issues in other threads -- but will say that while we continue to use the Apple TV because the benefits outweigh its failings, I don't consider it a well-made or maintained product. The software is missing key functions and is not reliable.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 18
    maestro64 said:
    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.

    Simple solution, change the password on your WiFi network and do not allow guest access without a password. Can not connect to what it does not have access to. I have everything in my house hardwired. Wireless is only for cellphone and laptops. All my other electronics with internet capabilities are hardwired including the TV but the TV and a few other things are blocked by the router from access the internet, they can access my NAS and video server.

    There are several possible solutions I could use. My point is I shouldn’t have to take alternate steps to make sure my TV doesn’t connect. If I turn it off it should stay OFF. This is another example of Google not respecting users choices.

    I could deny access via my router, but if Google connects without my permission how do I know it won’t also connect to my neighbors unsecured WiFi?

    BTW, my house is also hardwired. WiFi is only for our phones/tablets. I just used it once for the TV for convenience. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 964member
    MacPro said:
    This is kind of like Car Play, slowly inching more and more into being a really great, ready-made device for OEMs.  Who would have thought a few years ago car buying decisions could be made on whether or not the car came with Car Play? It happens now all the time.   It makes far more sense for TV providers like this to use a well made, updated and maintained product like AppleTV and free themselves of the hassle of developing their own.
    Or they could produce an S10X (S12X?) SiP + tvOS for TV manufacturers to integrate, starting with LG.

    They could even drop it onto an m.2 card for future upgradability - the start of something beautiful.
    edited October 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 18
    I’ve been using the HDHomerun Extend & Prime boxes and the Channels app on 3 ATV4s. SiliconDust started offering HDHomerun Premium TV, a streaming service of cable channels for $35 a month. I signed up for that and Channels DVR Service for $80 a year. Works great and I love the interface. The only catch is that you need an HDHomerun OTA box (e.g. Extend) as a requirement (they don’t stream local channels) and a local NAS to run the DVR software and store the recorded shows. While I get most most OTA channels but not all off a roof antenna, when I called Optimum/Altice to reduce my service to just Internet service they offered me Internet plus Broadcast Basic (OTA channels) for less than Internet alone ...and I guess they get to say they didn’t lose a cable TV subscriber. I’m very happy with the setup. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    claire1claire1 Posts: 460unconfirmed, member
    Makes sense. Would love to see Apple TV as the default on major cable providers.

    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.

    Welcome to "Apple sucks! Other companies provide choice!!"

    I have a Roku TV and it will not get past the setup screen. After fighting hours with it and plenty customer service calls to Roku and the TV manufacturer who BOTH kept telling me to call the other and blamed each other, I just stopped trying. My Apple TV 4K turns on my TV and controls it just fine without that mess that is Roku.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    lkrupp said:
    Great but can someone explain to me the reason the TV might be preferred over other boxes for these companies? Is it just Apple offering to provide the equipment free for the PR or is it because of some feature or capability the TV has?
    I live in Germany, and the Telekom is offering their Entertain TV just via buying or renting a set-top box. They even have an app for the iPad, so technically it would be a piece of cake to make it available on the Apple TV. Instead you have to pay extra money nearly comparable to the monthly fees you pay for Netflix or Amazon Prime.

    Not only is this ecologically a big waste to produce dedicated hardware where you can rely on generic hardware like the Apple TV, it is also another device using space and cables in your home. So I actually do not care if it is for Apple TV or other similar consoles, if companies like Netflix can offer it why do the other content suppliers waste money on additional hardware development...even if it is a source of income, I would prefer them to focus on content! And in a digital age companies need to look at the vertical component chain and focus on what they are really good at, at least in my humble opinion.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,275member
    claire1 said:
    Makes sense. Would love to see Apple TV as the default on major cable providers.

    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.

    Welcome to "Apple sucks! Other companies provide choice!!"

    I have a Roku TV and it will not get past the setup screen. After fighting hours with it and plenty customer service calls to Roku and the TV manufacturer who BOTH kept telling me to call the other and blamed each other, I just stopped trying. My Apple TV 4K turns on my TV and controls it just fine without that mess that is Roku.
    You should have returned the TV for an exchange since it's not operable. I much prefer Roku (built-in) over ATV. 
    edited October 9
  • Reply 18 of 18
    claire1claire1 Posts: 460unconfirmed, member
    gatorguy said:
    claire1 said:
    Makes sense. Would love to see Apple TV as the default on major cable providers.

    On a related note, I just bought a Sony 4K TV. It runs Android - and it’s pissing me off.

    I connected it so WiFi after I bought it so I could update the software. So far so good. Then I turned WiFi off since I only intend to use it as a monitor for my existing Apple TV, STB and so on, and don’t care to have Google listening in on what I do.

    So I get to the settings page and this is what I see:



    Seriously, WTF.

    Why does Google want to continue to scan for WiFi networks for “location”. It’s a fucking TV - its location will never change. I like how they put “other Apps” in there as a catch all to allow pretty much anything.

    So I turned both settings off and forgot about it. A couple weeks later I get a pop-up on my TV that there’s a new software update available. I’m wondering how it knows there’s a new update if I turned WiFi off and it doesn’t have a network connection. Sure enough WiFi is back on. I did the update and AGAIN turned it off.

    I’m seriously pissed off this TV doesn’t respect my settings and “reactivates” WiFi on its own without my permission. I’m waiting to see if it does it again them I’m going to complain to Sony about this behavior.


    I know a LOT of TVs and set top boxes are now using Android. If this is how they behave (so they can continue sucking my data) then fuck them. Apple, if they were smart, could have an opening here in making a set top box that actually respects your privacy.

    Welcome to "Apple sucks! Other companies provide choice!!"

    I have a Roku TV and it will not get past the setup screen. After fighting hours with it and plenty customer service calls to Roku and the TV manufacturer who BOTH kept telling me to call the other and blamed each other, I just stopped trying. My Apple TV 4K turns on my TV and controls it just fine without that mess that is Roku.
    You should have returned the TV for an exchange since it's not operable. I much prefer Roku (built-in) over ATV. 
    It's operable and I watch it to this day. The Roku part was inoperable.

    When I called Roku they told me to contact the TV manufacturer and when I call the TV manufacturer they blame Roku.

    I don't need the Roku after trying Roku at my friends house. WHAT A MESS!
    edited October 9 watto_cobra
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