Word is, Apple is hard at work on an online TV service. But while recent reports have stated that NBC won’t be a partner for that project, 9 to 5 Mac reports that an NBC app will still show up on the Apple TV and other platforms — it’ll just require a cable TV subscription.
Is this a huge surprise? Not when you trace NBC back to its parent company, Comcast. The cable provider/media conglomerate isn’t exactly motivated to help cable TV packages disappear, especially when TV is still a very big part of the company’s business.
Factor in the looming Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, and Comcast’s defense of cable TV makes even more sense.
The Apple TV currently plays host to a number of apps that work like NBC’s, asking users to input their cable account credentials in order to access TV shows or movies. So this isn’t a new thing that NBC is doing. But these apps existed in a world where an online TV service didn’t seem possible. Apple reportedly has 25 channels lined up, including major networks like ABC, CBS, and FOX. The lack of NBC could make the service less attractive. If Apple is really on to something? NBC’s position could do harm to the network.
But, again, Comcast owns NBC. If Apple’s online TV service really takes off and NBC doesn’t factor into the equation, Comcast could simply raise Internet prices to make unbundled access cost more than Internet packaged with a cable TV subscription.
No word on when we could see Apple’s TV service come online. As far as NBC’s apps for the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox platforms? They’re expected to arrive in the second half of 2015.