Sony to sign a deal with Viacom for its cloud-based TV service

Sony strikes deal with Viacom

Sony announced the service early this year at the CES promising a combination of live television, on demand and DVR. But no cloud without good content and good content is rather difficult to obtain. So where others have failed (Intel, Google) or are still working on it (no news about the Apple TV yesterday), Sony seems to have found a way to do business by striking a deal with Viacom. Sony will be allowed to distribute 22 of the Viacom channels over the internet, including popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon.

Although it looks like a breakthrough, the only new thing here is the ability to access traditional lineair channels over IP and therefore on other devices than the TV set and the (technical) possibility to sell contracts anywhere in the world. However, it still will be (mostly) linear TV and Sony might encounter problems in countries where these Viacom channels are already being distributed by traditional cable companies.

Furthermore, one of the biggest reasons Netflix is so extremely popular has to do with the fact that they provide on demand content only. Somehow people seem to like this, so it has to be seen if the new Sony service is something that will attract the coach potatoes attention.

“Apple’s TV will be called iTV, will be an Ultra HD and will be launched end 2013 / early 2014”

Apple iTV

At least, that is what Julian Ho and Alex Wolfgram of DigiTimes think. According to them, Apple will launch this television somewhere at the end of this year or the beginning of 2014. Next to the Ultra HD (3840 by 2160) screen, the television will have internet access and will be controlled by both motion and voice.

Personally, I doubt this to be true. The last decade, Apple brought us products that we did not expect. With features we had not thought about in a design we had not seen before and with an unprecedented user experience. They did not bring evolution, but revolution by creating completely new segments. And they did it in such a way that it took the competition a long time to come up with an answer allowing Apple to earn enormous amounts of money in the meantime.

So why would a company like that enter the market with a TV mentioned by DigiTimes. All television brands are introducing Ultra HD televisions. So where is the revolution if Apple would do the same. Voice and motion controls are already on the market and might not provide the best user experience for a television in the living room (picture yourself with the rest of family waiving and shouting at the television), so why would Apple use this? And last but not least, most television brands have a hard time making money selling TV sets. So if Apple does not bring a revolutionary new device, they are probably not going to make much money.

Does this mean that Apple will stay away from the television business. Probably not. But they will approach it in their own way. With something new that we could not think of.


image credit: Guilherme Martins Schasiepen

New Apple TV not that new after all, HBO Go coming?

Apple TV

There were some rumours the last few days about a brand new Apple TV coming to the market. Based on a FCC-filing, Engadget thought there was a new version in the making with new hardware in just a few millimeters smaller box. After some good research from TheNextWeb, it turned out to be just a small hardware resfresh.

“We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval” an Apple spokesperson told TNW. “The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.”

So nothing new as far as hardware concerned. However a new and interesting rumour about HBO Go emerged. According to Bloomberg, HBO Go will be available on Apple TV sometime this year. Adding HBO Go to the current parnerships with Netflix and Hulu Plus might put them a little bit more in the game with Microsoft XBOX 360, Roku and other set-top box suppliers.

Still, nobody really knows what Apple will do with TV. Apple TV so far is not the groundbreaking revolution for TV as the iPhone was for the smartphone market. And adding a few media partnership or adding a few content libraries will not change that. On the other hand, Apple sold 2 million boxes last quarter. Without much effort. People like it, it’s easy to use and it fits perfectly into the ecosystem. So maybe not a revolution after all.