Apple, Samsung, move to transform television

Yet more evidence of an app future for television as Apple approaches a deal to offer Time Warner TV shows via the Apple TV and recruits new talent to lead negotiations with media and cable companies in order to widen what it offers via its set top box. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the ring, Samsung has acquired intelligent TV pioneer, Boxee.

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Apple v Samsung

Apple is reportedly closing in on a deal with Time Warner in which it will offer TV shows from that brand via the Apple TV. Bloomberg also claims the company has hired Peter Distad from US online video service, Hulu, to lead negotiations with broadcast and cable firms.

These moves follow last month’s introduction of content from Time Warner brand, HBO and Disney’s ESPN via Apple TV. These may be incremental steps, but they suggest an evolutionary approach on part of the Cupertino company in conjunction with established industry stakeholders.

 “It’s not necessary for Apple to remake the media industry to sell a great TV product,” Benedict Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis told Bloomberg. “They are methodically adding to Apple TV.”

The potential deal with Time Warner is interesting for a number of reasons. Apple last year was described as speaking with cable and pay-per-view TV operators in order to find a way to insert its devices into their existing business ecosystem.

The inference of this is that Apple isn’t attempting to grab business from existing incumbents, but instead seeks to insert its devices at strategic points across the existing value chain. Meanwhile rumours persist of a forthcoming Apple television system, equipped with iOS and iTunes support.


Samsung heads for the clouds 

Samsung is the current leader in smart televisions and the continued battle for the mobile device market between itself and Apple has clearly driven it to action. In this case it has acquired “key talent and assets” from Boxee, but it’s possible the vision for Boxee isn’t confined to television.

Boxee recently made available the capacity to let subscribers record TV shows onto its servers in order to make them available for streaming via connected devices.

This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices,” Samsung said of its acquisition.

Samsung has previously admitted that it lacks a media system with which to compete with Apple’s iTunes. The company last year introduced its 7Digital-powered Music Hub system, offering music and cloud-based music playback to Galaxy SIII customers.

At the time Music Hub was announced, T.J. Kang, senior VP of Samsung Electronics’ Media Solution Center told Reuters:

Samsung is not known for our content services…We are doing it to create a better experience for our users. There are things we could do better if we have complete control over all of the service.

What does this mean for those of us involved in content creation for the broadcast and film industries?

Perhaps not too much today, but it suggests rights holders will soon face a proliferation of services with which to get content into people’s eyes. In the short term this might require creative content be output in a variety of formats for different outlets, in the long term, of course, the hope must be for a spurt in demand for what we create, which may put new energy (and money) into the creative industries.


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