Watch Out, Comcast: Apple May Soon Launch a Live TV Service | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Apple may soon join the ranks of CBS, HBO, and DISH Network with the launch of its own web TV service, which would allow viewers to stream live television from select channels, without a cable package.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the new service may launch as early as September, and will give subscribers access to around 25 channels including ABC, CBS, and FOX. The service, which will reportedly cost $30 or $40 a month, will be available exclusively on Apple devices, including Apple TV.

With this new service, Apple would become part of a growing cohort of companies that are working to offer cord cutters a slimmed-down version of the traditional cable package at just a fraction of the cost. In January, DISH Network announced the launch of SlingTV, a new service that gives viewers access to channels like ESPN and the Food Network. Meanwhile, last fall CBS announced the launch of CBS All Access, its standalone streaming service. And of course, there was last week’s announcement that HBO was launching its new web TV service, HBO Now, exclusively on Apple TV.

But while all of these companies are pursuing a common goal, Apple stands apart from the competition largely because it is a device manufacturer. As such, Apple has far more flexibility to strike contracts with rival broadcasters than, say, CBS could. And though DISH Network took a major step with the launch of SlingTV, the company’s incentive will always be to prop up its existing cable package by ensuring that SlingTV is not a completely comprehensive—and therefore, more attractive—alternative to cable.

Apple, however, doesn’t have the same ties to the cable bundle. Its only incentive is to make its web TV service as robust as possible, in order to do what Apple does best: sell more hardware. By releasing its streaming service exclusively on Apple devices, the tech giant stands to get a leg up on competing technologies, like Google’s Chromecast, Roku, and the Amazon Fire TV. Plus, unlike services like SlingTV, Apple will have full control over the platform on which it disseminates this new service.

Of course, all of this depends on Apple building a truly comprehensive package. According to the Journal‘s sources, however, that might not be so easy. NBCUniversal channels, including NBC, Bravo, and USA, are notably missing from the list of expected channels. That’s because, the Journal reports, Apple and NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast had a “falling out” when the two companies failed to reach an agreement on launching a web TV service of their own. Plus, Apple could run into issues with companies like Netflix, which have longstanding licenses with media companies.

Still, sources say that Apple is in talks with other major media companies, including Walt Disney Co., 20th Century Fox, and CBS Corp., which could help flesh out some of its offerings. An announcement is expected from Apple in June.