By Alexandra Burlacu email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 03, 2013 10:04 PM EST
Apple is reportedly in talks to start carrying Time Warner's HBO Go application on Apple TV by mid-2013, according to a new report.
Apple TV is a $99 set-top device that streams content, either purchased on iTunes or via other online services to users' televisions. Should this deal go through, cable and satellite subscribers who pay for HBO will be able to enjoy 1,700 films and TV shows on Apple TV.
The news comes from a new Bloomberg report citing "two people familiar with the plans." The tipsters talked under condition of anonymity due to the privacy of the negotiations.
Apple TV services already include the popular Netflix and Hulu Plus, but adding HBO to the set may help the Cupertino giant boost sales, especially since its set-top device has faced fierce competition from Roku, Microsoft, and other similar video-delivery services.
If the deal works out, Apple TV would allow Time Warner to offer another option to consumers, who are increasingly preferring on-demand viewing and streaming video online rather than settling for broadcasts. Besides, Time Warner already offers HBO Go for Roku and Microsoft's Xbox, so Apple would be catching up to its competition.
On the other hand, HBO Go requires customers to subscribe to the network through their cable or satellite service, which means it would be the first app on Apple TV that would require pay-TV authentication. Consumers can already use the HBO Go app on the iOS mobile platform for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, so they can watch blockbuster films, original programming, sports, or various shows on the go.
Apple TV may not be the hottest device on the market, but Apple sold more than two million set-top boxes in the first fiscal quarter ending in December. During the previous two fiscal years, the Cupertino giant sold more than 7.8 million. At the same time, the device has also sparked numerous rumors and speculation that Apple will launch its own-brand full-scale television.
"This is an area of intense interest for us," Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated back on Jan. 23, during the company's first-quarter earnings call. "I tend to believe that there's a lot we can contribute in this space. And so we continue to pull the string and see where it leads us."
The Jan. 23 comment, however, was not the first time that Cook hinted towards an Apple TV. In Dec. 2012, the CEO indicated that Apple may finally be ready to dive into the TV market, but nothing concrete has shaped up so far. Rumors, meanwhile, have only been intensifying and Apple was said to be working with Asian component suppliers to test various designs of TV sets. Until then, however, HBO Go would be a welcome addition to its current offering.