Coming to a TV near you: a new way to stream all your favorite shows. Apple may release a TV streaming service that would allow consumers to buy a small bundle of channels to stream on iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the Journal, the tech giant is in talks with TV programmers about the project, which is expected to be announced later this year.
This is not Apple's first attempt at entering the TV biz. The company tried to launch a monthly TV subscription through iTunes in 2009 that obviously didn't pan out; Apple also wants to work with TV providers, like Time Warner Cable, to offer Apple TV apps for their content. Last week, Apple also announced a partnership with HBO to offer the network's new digital TV service, HBO Now, on Apple devices.
In short, Digital TV services are on the rise and Apple is jumping in on the trend. According to Statista, it's expected that the number of online TV viewers in the U.S. will reach 99 million in 2015. Dish Network recently launched Sling TV, a web-based service customers can watch on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, iOS, Android, Mac, PC and soon Xbox, for only $20 a month with additional channel packages for $5 a month. Let's take a look at how Apple's streaming service will compare to Sling TV and traditional cable.
How will it be different than cable?
Apple's streaming service would offer small bundles of channels, rather than the seemingly endless options on most cable subscriptions, reports the Journal. It will would operate over the Internet and will only work on devices with Apple's iOS operating system, including Apple TVs, iPads, and iPhones.
What channels will it have?
The plan would offer about 25 channels owned by the Disney, Fox, CBS, and Discovery television groups, including broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and Fox and popular channels like The Discovery Channel, ESPN, and FX. It will not include all of the networks owned by the TV groups in order to keep the bundle of channels relatively small. Comcast, and its NBCUniversal entertainment group, has not been involved in the recent talks with Apple, so NBC and the cable networks it owns, such as Bravo and USA, might not be a part of the streaming service, reports the Journal.
How much will it cost?
The Wall Street Journal reported that media executives expect the service to cost between $30 and $40 per month, though the final price will depend on the networks offered.
When will it be available?
Apple is reportedly aiming to announce the streaming service in June and actually launch it in September.