Opinion Brief

Could Apple kill cable TV?

Watch out, Time Warner. Apple may be poised to remake the television industry just as it did the music industry

It's long been rumored that Apple will make deeper inroads into the television industry than it has already with iTunes and Apple TV — Steve Jobs once described the latter as a mere "hobby" project. Now, with Jobs out as CEO, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple may launch a subscription television service. (As with many Apple rumors, details on such a subscription TV service remain vague.) With the cable industry struggling to compete with internet offerings, could Apple be the one to kill cable TV the way it transformed the music industry?

Apple could crush cable: The tech giant may very well "kill the cable box like it killed the music CD," says Mike Elgan at Computerworld. Apple often replaces "old-and-busted content-consumption products and services with new-hotness Apple solutions." The cable industry is certainly busted, just as the old music model was. Apple TV and iTunes already provide a great user experience. Apple just needs to cut deals with TV studios to offer a more affordable subscription service instead of just hawking episodes a la carte.  "Elgan: How Apple will kill cable TV"

But it won't be easy: If Apple picks this fight, "it will undoubtedly run into heavy resistance from Big Cable," says Jacqui Cheng at ARS Technica. Cable companies would pressure networks to reject deals with Apple — NBC, which is owned by cable giant Comcast, is particularly unlikely to play ball. "Apple may still challenge cable with TV subscription service"

Still, something good will come of this: Negotiating TV license deals will indeed be extremely difficult, says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. But even if Apple isn't able to cut enough deals to kill cable outright, it could still effect change. "Apple as a legitimate competitor, even without a full hand of licensing deals, could be the oomph needed for serious cable reform. And that would almost be just as good" as dealing a death blow to the "dinosaur cable companies.""WSJ says Apple's trying to kill the cable industry"

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