Local Programming May Delay New Apple TV

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All of the biggest buzz surrounding Apple lately has been centered on the Apple TV. Expected to debut in just a couple of weeks at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the new Apple TV may just change your TV experience for the better. Featuring Apple’s A8 chip, a large internal storage capacity, Siri and HomeKit integration, and a dedicated app store with third-party apps, the device itself is a huge upgrade over previous iterations. However, one of the new Apple TV’s most exciting features, support for Apple’s own subscription TV service, may have just gotten more exciting.

Adding to their already impressive channel lineup, Apple is reportedly in talks with broadcast networks across the US to include live programming from local TV stations in their subscription package. In addition to streaming content from Fox, ESPN, MTV, Comedy Central, and more, viewers would be able to watch their local news or their local NFL team’s games streaming over the web. Even more exciting is the fact that this content wouldn’t be limited to your living room – with a subscription to Apple’s service, this programming would be available on your phone, tablet, or really any Apple device with a screen.

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Although the inclusion of local programming is exciting news, it may come at a cost – it will likely delay the launch of their service. Negotiations for the rights to local programming and commercials complicate things – the ownership of local TV stations and their affiliates is spread across a mess of companies. The process takes time – popular network ABC spent two years clearing the rights to all its live programming for their Watch ABC app. Although Apple certainly has enough money and muscle to speed the process up, some local broadcasters would be forced to build their own streaming infrastructure for the digital feeds.

The addition of local programming to the subscription service would offer quite a bit of mass appeal – those who didn’t grow up with access to Netflix and other on-demand services would likely be enticed by the deal. Unfortunately, it probably means we won’t see the TV service launch alongside the new Apple TV device this June. According to Peter Kafka of Re/Code, announcement of the service could be pushed back to “early fall” with a later launch date.

Pricing for the subscription package is rumored to be range from $30 to $40 a month.

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