What would you think of using iTunes instead of cable to watch all your TV shows? Apple is starting to sell that idea to TV and cable networks, touting a $30/month iTunes subscription that will give viewers many of the same programs they now receive on cable. The goal is to launch the service next year.
Whether iTunes could actually replace cable TV depends on how many deals Apple can make with cable networks and TV broadcasters. In fact, no programmers have stepped forward in favor of Apple's iTunes plan yet. It's also unclear whether the videos would be streaming at the same time they air on the cable networks, or if Apple would offer a group of downloads of programming currently only available on cable.
Apple's not tying the service only to the recently firmware-updated Apple TV set-top, but aiming much higher than that, counting on a sizable percentage of its 65 million iTunes users to spring for a monthly subscription. One thing's for sure, television viewing is headed toward the Internet, and if Apple could leverage its iTunes users, it might emerge as a leader. Again.
First, they're going to have to name it something other than iTunes.