Apple TV: the rumor that won’t die

Here we go again.

According to Barron’s, Jefferies & Co. analyst James Kisner believes the launch of an Apple television is imminent:

“Our discussions with industry contacts suggest that at least one major N. American MSO is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network. We believe this potentially suggests an imminent launch of the Apple TV.”

It goes without saying that Apple TV believers are a passionate bunch, and it’s usually the leader of the movement, Gene Munster, who can be relied on as the source of these rumors. Now, the very fact that another analyst has gotten into the Apple television rumor-creation industry could mean there is something to this speculation, but  I’m still skeptical.

MSOs always do capacity planning, and it’s no secret the biggest demand driver for bandwidth today is video delivered over the top. But simply imagining all potential scenarios — and an Apple product is one of those scenarios any good capacity planner would have to factor in — doesn’t mean a product is imminent.

Obviously I wasn’t in on those conversations, and it may be that the MSO executive has had high-level conversations with Arris or even Apple. But I seriously doubt it.

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  1. I don’t know why an MSO would need to plan around a specific piece of hardware. What would matter is the OTT services that hardware supported. And unless Apple is going around telling MSOs what new or existing services would be embedded in an Apple TV — in which case the secret would almost certainly have leaked out by now — it’s not clear how an MSO would have that information.

    Seems to me the much more likely scenario here — to the extent there is anything to the chatter at all — is that the MSO is having conversations with Apple about integrating its linear service with an Apple set-top box. That might require some measure of device-specific capacity planning, and could be kept much closer to the vest until Apple is ready to unleash it.

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