Apple’s bid to completely destroy the cable industry didn’t quite work out, so Apple is doing the next best thing: adding cable streams to the Apple TV. By all accounts, Apple is close to a deal that will give Time Warner Cable subscribers the chance to stream through more than just their Xbox.
The companies plan to announce an agreement within a few months… A deal with Time Warner Cable would be a first with a cable company for Apple, which said last month that it’s also adding content from Time Warner Inc.’s HBO and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN.
Helping substantially is the fact that Time Warner’s CEO has proclaimed publicly that he doesn’t care what the software looks like as long as he can sell people cable, which is a surprisingly open-minded and intelligent opinion from a cable CEO. Apple, meanwhile, is hoping to bolster the Apple TV without having to let anybody else into the digital sales playpen, a strategy that has largely helped keep the Apple TV a second banana to the Roku. Give it up, Apple, you’re going to have to let Amazon in to play with your toys eventually.
Time Warner’s strategy, on the other hand, is becoming clearer and clearer. One question that popped up in the comments was “Will Time Warner be offering this outside its normal service areas?” At the time we assumed the answer was no, because that would trigger a massive streaming arms race and the cable companies have been a bit nervous about fighting each other when companies like Netflix are ready and waiting to help viewers cut the cord.
Now we’re not so sure. It seems that Time Warner Cable very much wants to stream all the channels to your set-top box, whatever, and possibly wherever, it may be. Now, how about decoupling HBO Go from having a cable subscription, guys?