Apple May Be on the Verge of Kneecapping the Cable Industry

Dec. 22, 2009 10:32 AM ETAAPL, CMCSA, CHTR42 Comments
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By MG Siegler

Dead TV by rickremingtonThe cable companies suck. All of them. Some suck less than others. But they all suck. We need someone to whip them into shape. And that someone may be Apple (AAPL).

Apple may be on the verge of gaining two key television network agreements, according to The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, CBS and Walt Disney (DIS) (which runs ABC) are said to be considering a proposal by Apple to offer a subscription-based TV service over the Internet. Presumably, this would work through iTunes like all of Apple-based content, but also presumably it would work over Apple’s Apple TV device (though maybe a new version of it) to bring this content into the living room, where people are used to consuming it. Simply put: This could be huge.

But “could” is the keyword. Just as Apple transformed the music industry in the earlier part of this decade thanks to the iTunes/iPod combination, and the mobile industry thanks to the iPhone, a device that offered all the television content over the Internet could force the cable companies to stop sucking. Of course, Apple already offers a ton of television content over iTunes, but there are a few big problems. First and foremost, you have to buy all of this content. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to buy 99% of the television shows I watch. I would much rather pay a fraction of the purchase cost to “rent” them, as it were, for a time being. iTunes currently has no such option — it’s all or nothing.

And buying this content has another very real downside: You need enough storage space to keep it all. Seeing as some HD TV show seasons are 50 GB in size, this is an untenable model until Apple moves iTunes to the

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