Report: Apple Considers Licensing AirPlay Video

| Rumor

Apple is considering expanding its third party AirPlay licensing program to include support for streaming video, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg. The expanded program would be aimed at TV makers looking to tap into Apple’s growing empire of iOS device owners.

AirPlay allows users to to stream video and audio from iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad to Apple’s own Apple TV 2, and the company currently licenses AirPlay to third party companies, but only for audio streaming. Apple has had some success with this licensing program, even though it is effectively limited to speakers and stereo receivers as it stands now.

Expanding the program to include video could allow the company to not only expand support for Apple’s iOS device products, it would effectively give the company a chunk of the TV market, which Bloomberg pinned at US$100 billion a year.

On the audio side, Apple charges $4 per device that includes AirPlay support, according to other unnamed sources — Apple hasn’t announced licensing terms for the technology. The company is likely to use a similar licensing model for video streaming.

It also contrasts sharply with Google’s strategy for the living room, which is called Google TV and seeks to essentially bring the browser and a keyboard to a TV near you. If Bloomberg’s sources are correct, Apple is looking to expand its presence in the living room by focusing on what users actually want to do with their TVs.

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Yes please. Actually guess I didn’t realize video wasn’t already part of the licensing. This should really be put in receivers, not TVs, since I don’t want the audio to come out my TV speakers. (Of course new TVs generally support an “audio return channel” but I presume you’d still have to switch sources on the receiver to pick that audio source. Grrr. Seamless home theater integration is such a mess.)

Mark Sigal

My thesis on this rumor is that it’s the beginning of an Apple Inside strategy, whereby Apple licenses the skin, bones and brain of Apple TV to TV set makers as part of their ubiquity play in the living room.

Why? The alternative for Apple is building their own TV, which has lots of downside; namely, a commodity product in an entrenched ecosystem (cable/sat, set-top box, broadcast, HBO, movies, CE) on a device that lacks the product obsolescence lifecycle that Apple tunes its R&D for (i.e., people keep TVs 10+ years).

At the same time, Apple can not NOT own the living room, given the piece parts they have assembled to fuel the digital media lifestyle. It’s too strategic for them. 

I ruminate on this thesis further here:

The Magic Adapter: Apple TV and the Battle for the Living Room

Check it out, if interested.




Interesting Link and comments section.

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