Apple Discussing TV Plans With Cable Operators

Now that all of the new Apple products have been released for the year, speculation turns to a proposed Apple project in a completely new industry, with the full fledged Apple Television set. Yesterday, Jefferies & Co. analyst James Kisner published a research note that the Apple TV set release is imminent. That belief is based on at least one major U.S. cable company assessing the potential impact on their network infrastructure from the proposed Apple device.

Our discussions with industry contacts suggest that at least one major N. American MSO is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network. We believe this potentially suggests an imminent launch of the Apple TV, a positive development for ARRIS, who is directly exposed to data traffic growth from incremental IP video streams on cable networks.

The research is based on ARRIS, with is the main communication technology for the network infrastructure for U.S. cable companies, like Comcast. The Apple TV set or set top box would reportedly increase demand significantly for on-demand HD streams, and the network capacity would have to be upgraded.

Following the report AppleThingsD posted their own, that respond to the research note above, and says talks of an imminent launch is premature. They do confirm that Apple is indeed talking with cable operators. This is an extremely interesting story as the entire TV industry is so entrenched in their current model. Apple could make the greatest TV hardware on the planet, but it really comes down to content. We’ve been following this story for well over a year, and while Apple may have the hardware ready for launch in 2013, the cable operators and broadcasters are the biggest hurdle. In September it was reported Apple was furthest along in talks with Time Warner Cable, but negotiations are extremely difficult across all parties in terms of live content.

Apple is working on something related to TV, but it’s unclear if they can forge alliances to do so, like they did with AT&T with the first iPhone.

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