Consumers who aren’t heavily dialed into Apple and the company’s current and future forays into television are likely to find themselves confused by recent news. For that matter, even some who are pretty in touch with Apple and the state of streaming television may need to take a moment to sort things out.
The terminology doesn’t help. So that’s a good place to start in separating the Apple snarl.
First things first: what is Apple TV? (If you don’t know you’re certainly not alone, so no need to be embarrassed.) Apple TV is a hardware device — a compact little box — made by Apple. The box plugs into any HDTV, and from there operates as a media streaming device.
That means it lets users watch video streaming services—like Netflix and Hulu Plus—on a TV, as well as watch stuff from networks like HBO and Showtime that are compatible with Apple TV. Users can also play content from iTunes, or send videos, music and photos from an Apple computer to their TV with Apple TV. Apple TV reviews have been favorable, though for users who aren’t already invested in the Apple culture it’s typically not the best choice of media streaming device. (Compare media streaming devices)
Apple TV has been around for a few years. The current, third-generation model launched in March of 2012—which is eons ago in tech time.
Now, at long last, there is talk of an updated version being released this year. That’s the hope—but for now it’s only a rumor. Eager ears waited to hear confirmation at Apple’s Spring Forward conference this month but were disappointed. According to the APPL stock experts at SeekingAlpha, “After studying Apple’s product history and digital video trends, there are few reasons for new Apple TV hardware anytime soon.” So, when? For now, the question lingers.
Apple has also confused consumers a bit recently by announcing a new television venture. It’s not Apple TV—it’s TV from Apple.
Apple is reportedly in talks to start offering an Internet TV service. Subscribers would get access to a package of channels, which would be streamed onto TVs or devices via the Internet instead of cables or satellite, at a significantly lower cost than traditional cable. The move is meant to appeal to the growing movement of consumers interested in cutting the cable cord and exploring cheaper, more flexible options.
While details on Apple’s Internet TV service are still scant, this is more than just a hyped-up rumor. TV networks are already aligning with Apple to be included amongst the channel offerings.
Apple will reveal their complete plans in the near future, presumably after they’ve signed deals with as many networks as possible. The streaming service is expected to be available this fall.