Carrier Partnerships for Apple iTV Soon

February 9, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Apparently, Apple is looking to work with operator partners, like AT&T and Verizon, and the Canadian Rogers and BCE for the introduction of its upcoming iTV products.

Why partnership? Well, because it means a more complete lineup of content, a better user interface, and wider distribution.

And for the customers out there, this means Apple would be able to provide you with all the TV content you expect, and the company does not have to bear the headache of carriage.

This has happened before of course. Dish Network has partnered with Google TV, and Verizon has partnered with Microsoft to make their FiOS TV service accessible through the new Xbox Live user interface.

In the FiOS case, the program data and channel lineup will be deeply integrated with the Xbox Live service and Bing search engine, which will let viewers discover live TV and video-on-demand content alongside streaming content from services like the Zune Marketplace, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu and YouTube.

Interactive apps could be coming to the new Apple product as well and it’s just a bonus for the operators; a deal with Apple.

Those operators could push the iTV to their customers and could act as an additional distribution outlet, apart from Apple Stores and the company’s existing big box retail partnerships.

Then there is the possibility of carrier subsidy. Apple could bring the same subsidy model that exists in the mobile space to TV operators. Also, carrier subsidy could potentially boost adoption for an Apple device’s being launched in a market with traditionally long replacement cycles.

It is unlikely than Apple’s partnerships with operators would be exclusive. AT&T and Verizon are the most likely partners in the US.

And, if a customer gets the product directly from a retailer or if a consumer doesn’t subscribe to an Apple partner, he would still get all the same third-party apps and TV coming from her set-top box.

Non-partners could even build their own apps for device search and navigation like the iPad apps from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others.

Well, it’s a world full of possibilities.

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