Apple plants seeds of future TV incursions; Hulu said headed to Xbox Live

There seems to be some disconnect in the way Apple is approaching the TV business. On the one hand, Apple co-founder-CEO Steve Jobs complained at All Things Digital that cable subsidization of set-top boxes "pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation because nobody's willing to buy a set-top box."

On the other hand, he later suggests this situation can be combated by redesigning the box and making consumers want to pay for it. To that end, Apple reportedly is planning to gut its iPhone operating system and turn it into a portable set-top box that it would sell for around $100.

Speaking of boxes, word is that Hulu will be coming to Xbox 360 as Microsoft plays catch-up in a cable TV space which is being dominated by cable operators, of course, but also Apple and Google.

When it comes to video--and cable operators have been very careful to differentiate between IP video and IPTV--it seems people will watch anything. April data from comScore reports that 178 million U.S. Internet users--83.5 percent of the potential American audience--watched some form of video online during April. Google's YouTube dominated that viewing with 135 million Web surfers watching more than 13 billion videos. Hulu came in a far distant second with 958 million views.

As for cable, a poll conducted by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair listed the service at the top of a list of "most overpriced" items of 2010. Thirty-four percent of respondents said so. Movie tickets, at 22 percent, came in second.

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