Apple Will Reportedly Launch Subscription TV Service This Fall

Cord cutters frustrated with their cable or satellite TV provider may soon have yet another option in the streaming space if Apple is able to seal the deal with programmers for a new online television service. The Cupertino outfit is reportedly in talks various programmers to offer a modest bundle consisting of about 25 channels.

According to The Wall Street Journal and "people familiar with the matter" that it spoke with, the service would include ABC, CBS, and Fox, which would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV. Curiously missing from the list is NBCUniversal, which not only owns NBC but also popular cable channels like USA and Bravo. The talks don't currently involve NBCUniversal because of a falling out between Apple and Comcast, NBCUniversal's parent company, the sources say.

Apple TV

The falling out has to do with talks Apple and Comcast were engaged in last year regarding a streaming television platform, one that would combine Apple's UI designs with Comcast's broadband infrastructure. Things turned sour when Apple came to believe that Comcast wasn't really interested in a partnership and instead wanted to focus on its own X1 web-enabled set-top box.

While NBCUniversal's participation is up in the air, Apple has been in discussions with Walt Disney Co., CBS, and 21st Century Fox, plus a few other media firms. Similar to Sling TV, Apple wants to offer consumers a slim bundle of popular channels like ESPN and FX rather than force-feed a bunch of smaller networks into the equation.

It will be interesting to see how many channels Apple ends up with and what it decides to charge for its service. Some say it will be in the $30 to $40 range, though that's just speculation at this point.

Apple's biggest competitor in the space could be Dish Network's Sling TV. It costs $20 per month, and while it doesn't include broadcast channels, it does include a decent mix of TNT, ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, Disney Channel, Adult Swim, AMC, and several others under its base package. Users also have the option of categorized channel bundles at $5 a pop.