Apple Aiming for Online TV Service by Fall: Report

Apple is in talks with multiple TV programmers — but not NBCUniversal — about launching an over-the-top TV service later this fall that would charge $30-$40 for about 25 channels including broadcast TV, according to a report Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

Details are scarce regarding the service in question, but it is reportedly able to stream linear channels live to a variety of Apple products including Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. Last week, Apple cut the price of Apple TV from $99 to $69 and got an exclusive window on HBO’s new a la carte network extension, HBO Now.

WSJ reported that NBCU is not negotiating with Apple over the untitled new offering because of hard feelings left over from aborted talk the tech giant held last year with NBCU parent company Comcast. Unless Apple is able to get the largest cable operator in the U.S. back to the table, the planned service will be left without key networks including broadcaster NBC and cable channels like Bravo, E!, USA and Syfy.

Apple would be the latest entrant to a category of over-the-top channel packages informally known as “skinny bundles” because they offer far fewer networks than traditional pay-TV distributors in order to keep the price down. Dish’s Sling TV was the first such service to come to market last month, and will be followed next month by Sony, which is launching a similar product, called PlayStation Vue. Verizon, DirecTV and AT&T are also expected to enter the fray later this year.

That said, don’t get too excited about making a pre-order just yet. Apple and the TV programmers have a long history of negotiations to launch such a service that have gone nowhere beyond providing content for rental or purchase via iTunes.

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