Apple might not need to make a TV set to make a big splash in the television market: a brand new report from Bloomberg claims that the company is negotiating with Time Warner Inc. to bring HBO Go to Apple TV by the middle of this year, citing two people familiar with the plans. That would still mean that the ability to watch HBO shows on Apple’s set-top box would be limited to people who already subscribe to the network in cable and satellite packages, but it’s a promising step.
HBO Go currently provides mobile access to HBO shows and content, which would mean that Apple TV users who are also subscribers would have access to the more than 600 hours of video currently available on the service, which includes hit shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood. The move wouldn’t be unprecedented, as Apple already currently offers Hulu Plus and Netflix access on the platform, and HBO Go is already on Roku and Xbox.
And in the end, it would still mean that customers are shackled to traditional cable and satellite distribution methods, even if the delivery mechanism for their HBO content is actually Apple’s standalone streaming video player. But turning the Apple TV into a platform with access to a broader content library is a key step in making it a better value proposition for consumers: AirPlay is a good selling point, but content options are more plentiful on other devices, even given the fact that the iTunes library is among the largest for digital video.
Many have wondered also whether Apple would open up the Apple TV to third-party apps in a way similar to how it’s running on the iPad and iPhone. This sounds like just another hand-selected partner, however, so it’s unlikely we’ll see an opening up of the platform anytime soon.