Bernstein: Apple faces slog in working with cable guys

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) appears to have new interest in partnering with cable TV companies to support its TV ambitions, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. However, noted sector research firm Bernstein Research has issued a report warning that will be no easy task for the computing giant.

The WSJ reported that Apple has been in talks with cable TV operators, news which may have come as a surprise to some after it earlier seemed like Apple could attempt to bypass traditional cable TV networks with its own new Internet-connected Apple TV set. The reported talks with cable TV companies suggest that Apple could end up dealing with the cable TV companies to instead have their programming delivered to such a TV set or another appliance, such as the existing Apple TV alternative set-top box—or perhaps even a new, yet-to-be-developed appliance.

Bernstein Research, however, said some of the differences between the cable TV business and the mobile business, where Apple has obviously succeeded, could pose hurdles. Not only does the cable TV market, unlike mobile, feature network distributors that also own content, it does not subsidize end user devices, and it is heavily involved in determining the capabilities of those end user set-top box. That final point, in particular, is something that service providers in the mobile market pretty much ceded to Apple.

Apple has had a long history of hiccups when it comes to participating in the TV sector, and that appears to still be the case, but as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in particular increases its TV efforts, Apple can't take too long to figure out how to get rid of its hiccups.

For more:
-see this Barron's bit on Bernstein's position

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