Apple in Talks With Cable Providers to Stream Live TV

If you’re even a little bit of a tech geek (or sharing living space with someone who is), odds are the space around your TV is cluttered with devices. You’ve got your cable box, your Blu-ray player, your XBox, your Apple TV, and what have you. But if Apple has its way, you may be able to ditch one of those boxes soon.

The electronics giant is reportedly in talks with U.S. cable providers about the possibility of letting consumers use an Apple product as a set-top box for watching live TV. Negotiations aren’t that far along at this point, so don’t expect to see a live TV app pop up on your Apple TV tomorrow. But Apple’s been eyeing the living room for some time now, and seems determined to reach customers there one way or another. More after the jump.

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Thanks to the proliferation of digital services like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon Instant Video, it’s easier now than ever to get your fill of TV without actually owning a TV. Unless, that is, you want to watch Game of Thrones or True Blood. HBO’s been famously stubborn about not offering a standalone HBO Go service for non-subscribers, and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says that’s not about to change anytime soon.

One reason for that, Bewkes says, is that cord-cutting is actually not all that prevalent. “[T]he whole idea that there’s a lot of people out there that want to drop multichannel TV, and just have a Netflix or an HBO — that’s not right,” he told investors. “Look for the data, you won’t find them.” HBO’s entire business model is built around the idea that people will pay for cable, and so far that assumption is paying off. AllThingsD reports that the combined subscriber base for HBO and Cinemax has increased by over 7 million in the past six months.

Nor is Netflix likely to become an option for those who’d like to get their Girls fix without adding to their monthly cable bill. “There are not talks going on between HBO and Netflix,” he said to analysts. [Gizmodo, Deadline]

After the jump, some better news for those mythical cord-cutters as Apple TV adds Hulu Plus and the iPad adds Amazon Instant Video.

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Though much of what we loved in the ’80s fails to hold up today, Ghostbusters is one major exception. Filmgoers loved it in 1984 and they still love it today, as evidenced by the endless stream of parodies, homages, and references we get even now.

After the jump, watch two very different tributes to the horror-comedy classic. “The Ghostbusters Tour of New York” is a recent video pilgrimage of familiar locations from the film that includes on-site re-enactions, while “Blue Busters” is a 1984 parody from Apple Inc. that, yes, features appearances from a young Steve Jobs and a young Steve Wozniak.

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As excited as Apple fans get for new iPhones and iPads, their next big bit of excitement surrounds a rumored Apple HD television. The device, would could be revealed as early as later this year, is expected to revolutionize the viewing experience just as the iPod did with listening and iPhone did with phone use.

Apple already has Apple TV, the affordable piece of hardware that allows users to stream all kinds of content from the Internet to televisions and this new device would likely be an all-in-one device, kind of like a massive iPad. Now a new rumor is circling that Apple is in talks with EPIX, a company owned by LionsGate, MGM and Paramount (the three studios of the headline), to stream content exclusively on Apple TV as well as any other upcoming Apple device that might stream content, which suggests this new TV. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Excitement over last month’s announcement that iTunes-purchased movies would now be available on iCloud was hampered somewhat by the caveat that Universal and Fox weren’t on board with the new arrangement just yet. Though all of the other major studios were participating, Universal and Fox weren’t able to join in due to licensing conflicts with HBO. The pay cable network promised to work something out, however, and now it’s starting to make good on its word. As of this week, Universal titles are now available to re-download on iCloud. More after the jump.

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Watching movies on your computer has long been a convenient option that comes at the cost of quality. But as Hulu’s video player gets a size upgrade and iTunes launches 1080p videos, digital media is looking better and better. After the jump:

  • Hulu unveils a shinier, cleaner new UI
  • Cablevision subscribers can now sign up for HBO Go and Max Go
  • Discovery Communications brings 3,000 more titles to Amazon
  • The difference between 1080p and Blu-ray may be smaller than you think

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

You probably have heard that Apple announced a new iPad and new Apple TV box this morning. But you might not know what this means for you the media-consuming film geek — that is where we come into play.

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As it has been widely known and rumored for a while now, Apple has been working to revolutionize the television set. Steve Jobs’ final project was trying to create a product that would change the tv world, the same way the iphone changed the world of mobile smart phones. Jobs told Walter Isaacson in his recently published biography that he had finally “cracked it” after years of trying to solve the problem:

“‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

The recent release of the iPhone 4s has gotten some to believe that the voice powered Siri software might be part of the solution, which may be true, but I believe it is much more complex than that. Now Sony has come forward and announced that they have also been developing a “different kind of TV set” in their race to beat Steve Jobs to the new television revolution.

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This week marked the launch of UltraViolet, a new digital locker system that would allow users to purchase content in one physical or digital format and access it across all platforms via a cloud-based system. The service came about through years of negotiation and collaboration between major studios, manufacturers, and retailers, but not everyone in the industry was on board — Apple and Disney were among the two biggest holdouts.

We’ve now learned why Apple declined to participate, and it’s pretty much the same reason Disney did. Apple has quietly been working on its own cloud service, expected to launch in late 2011 or early 2012, and has been working out deals with studios to allow videos purchased through iTunes to be streamed on any Apple device including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.

The good news for UltraViolet is that Apple is reportedly considering allowing UltraViolet users to access their libraries via apps on their Apple products. As the company accounts for a whopping 66% of digital movie sales and rentals — not to mention a sizable share of the market for both tablets and smartphones — this could be a big help to UltraViolet. However, in an effort to encourage customers to continue buying Apple electronics, iTunes purchases would only be playable on other Apple devices. [LA Times]

After the jump, read about a new deal between Netflix and The CW to bring all the Gossip Girl and Supernatural you could possibly want to your streaming account.

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