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Report: Apple TV Put on Hold

11 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Content license agreements reportedly delay rollout, among other issues

Apple’s much-speculated rollout of a line of HDTVs with 4K resolution apparently has been put on hold. The cause: content license agreements, according to research firm DisplaySearch.

The research firm now suggests Apple may replace its TV manufacturing business model with wearable devices (i.e. watch, glasses) similar to what Google is championing.

Apple TV currently is a streaming set-top device similar to Roku. The technology giant has sought to emulate the success it achieved with iTunes, iPods, iPhones and iPads with a standalone AppleTV. For Apple, selling hardware is partly a way to sell more software and content. The aforementioned devices and the iTunes content store have been wildly successful in selling third-party content, according to Paul Gagnon, North American TV research for DisplaySearch.

Meanwhile, replacement cycles for the rumored AppleTV would much longer (about seven to eight years) compared to replacement cycles for portable media devices (two to three years), according to DisplaySearch. Even laptop PCs have a much shorter replacement cycle than TVs. In the end, Apple would have a difficult time keeping products updated with the latest hardware and software, unless it took a modular approach to upgrading components, such as what Samsung has done with their “evolution kit” for TVs.

Gagnon said for Apple to differentiate its TVs from the CE industry, it would have to deliver the units with proprietary content, similar to what Netflix and other subscription video-on-demand platforms are doing through exclusives.

Consumers already have access to SVOD services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, and inexpensive streaming devices such as the Apple TV, Roku and Google’s Chromecast. Indeed, the existing Apple TV box may actually be an impediment to Apple’s success with a smart-TV product, which as a category, is not growing in the United States as many had hoped for, according to DisplaySearch.

“Neither of these is easy to achieve, and our sources indicate this is one of the principle reasons for the delay in the project,” Gagnon wrote in a blog post.


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