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The Wall Street Journal also suspects features like social media tools

Apple is planning to release a set-top box with a myriad of new features onboard, but it must contend with cable operators and entertainment companies first.

The new Apple set-top box device has one main goal: to offer both live and on-demand content in one place. The digital-video recorder (DVR) would store TV shows on the Web, allowing customers to watch it at any time.

Apple already offers the $99 Apple TV, which is a digital media receiver that plays digital content originating from the iTunes Store, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, etc. However, Apple is looking to release something with added features to draw customers.

Specific features associated with the new Apple set-top box are speculative at the moment, but The Wall Street Journal proposed likely new additions like an iPad-like user interface, which would be both familiar to most customers and easier for them to use, and also social media options that allow people to share their TV shows through networks like Facebook and Twitter.


But in order to launch Apple's latest idea, it has to work with cable operators and entertainment companies -- and that's not the easiest thing to do. Why? Mainly because cable operators have their own competitive set-top box products, and entertainment companies don't want Apple changing the current pay TV method and gaining more power with more licensing rights to content in the long run.

However, Apple's latest TV idea isn't out to disrupt the pay TV business model. It's not throwing out sci-fi ideas to ruin the cable industry, but rather, offer improvements on options already available. For example, Apple's set-top box aims to allow customers to access all episodes of a TV show rather than just select episodes of a current season. It also wants older seasons to be available as well.

Source: The Wall Street Journal





"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997







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