Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Bloomberg briefly reports that Apple and Disney are in talks to bring sports network ESPN's WatchESPN application [App Store] to the Apple TV set-top box.
ESPN subscribers with AppleTV would gain access to the network's Internet service on their TV sets. [Sean] Bratches, the network's executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, spoke in an interview today.
The brief report doesn't specify exactly how access to the WatchESPN functionality on the Apple TV would work, but currently customers of a number of cable and Internet companies have varying levels of access to the app's content on iOS and other platforms, which includes nearly all of ESPN's live broadcasts including online-only ESPN3 content.

Currently, cable subscribers through Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, and Bright House have full access to WatchESPN content, while subscribers on a host of other Internet services can receive access to the ESPN3 content through the app.

WatchESPN being sent to Apple TV via AirPlay
iOS device users who are eligible to access WatchESPN content can currently send the content to an Apple TV via AirPlay, but including the app directly on the Apple TV would streamline that process.

Update: Bloomberg has expanded its article with additional comments from Bratches:
"We're a platform-agnostic content company," Bratches, the network's executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, said today in an interview. "To the extent that in the future there's an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we're doing with Microsoft, that's something that we will participate in."
Update 2: Bloomberg has updated its article once again, citing comments from an ESPN spokesperson backtracking from Bratches' statements by noting that there are no active talks with Apple underway.
No deal is imminent with Apple, said Amy Phillips, a spokeswoman for Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN.

"We're not having conversations with Apple about authenticating WatchESPN," Phillips said.
Article Link: Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV
 

bdavis89

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2009
174
19
Down with the stupid cable providers. No reason we shouldn't get full functionality out of something like this.
 

nfl46

macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
6,898
3,952
About time! This is much needed. Make it happen Apple/Disney!
 

BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
2,123
631
Maybe it's just me, but if Apple is in talks with content providers, it doesn't seem like they will be opening up an App Store-like setup for the Apple TV anytime soon.

After all, if they just turned the AppleTV into a full-blown iOS platform like the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad, developers would come running to create and sell their app to bring the content to the enduser.
 

srxtr

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
611
0
I don't think it's such a great idea to have 40+ apps on the AppleTV because it doesn't scale terribly well.
Actually, I'd rather be faced with a page full of my favorite channels to choose from than channel surfing.
 

charlieegan3

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,394
14
U.K
ESPN always reminds me of steve jobs' comment: your phone is the dumbest f___ing idea i have ever heard...

(ESPN means very little here in the UK though)
 
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MacSKY

macrumors member
Jan 31, 2008
52
4
ESPN is the main reason I haven't cut ties with DirecTV yet, I gotta have my sports! Here's hoping that this is a subscription based fee rather than it's current set-up in which you need to have a subscription with a qualifying cable/sat provider. I'm pretty sure as contracts begin to expire with content providers, ESPN and other networks will probably be able to begin to sell direct subscriptions to end users via Apple TV and other similar devices.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
Personally, I think that finding it on your iPhone and then hitting the airplay button is probably easier than finding it on your AppleTV. I think simply touching the icon on my iPhone is faster than hitting the arrow keys on the Apple remote for the Apple TV.
 

LaWally

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2012
530
0
How about just an app store so users could choose what "channels" they want?
I want to be able to purchase any content on any available channel any time I want without subscribing to any channel. Subscribing to a channel is so "cable".
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
122
ESPN is the main reason I haven't cut ties with DirecTV yet, I gotta have my sports! Here's hoping that this is a subscription based fee rather than it's current set-up in which you need to have a subscription with a qualifying cable/sat provider. I'm pretty sure as contracts begin to expire with content providers, ESPN and other networks will probably be able to begin to sell direct subscriptions to end users via Apple TV and other similar devices.
ESPN is not only owned by Disney they paid out some ridiculous fees to major league sports organizations for access to content

no way they ditch cable subscription fees
 

TopToffee

macrumors 6502a
Jul 9, 2008
663
56
I do wish apple would put a bit more effort into getting some apple tv content for the uk.

I use my ATV for streaming from iTunes a lot, but I'd love to be able to get iplayer etc through it too.
 

GQB

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2007
1,195
102
Personally, I think that finding it on your iPhone and then hitting the airplay button is probably easier than finding it on your AppleTV. I think simply touching the icon on my iPhone is faster than hitting the arrow keys on the Apple remote for the Apple TV.
I never understand this... why would anyone who has an iPhone use the aluminum remote? The remote app is a great experience, even better on iPad.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68000
Jun 20, 2009
1,995
1,546
Lincoln, UK
I do wish apple would put a bit more effort into getting some apple tv content for the uk.

I use my ATV for streaming from iTunes a lot, but I'd love to be able to get iplayer etc through it too.
The Apple TV is the only Apple product that they sell on a direct $ to £ conversion, so we pay a lot more for it, but get a weaker service.

All the streaming services should be available, just as they are on the iOS App Store. iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5.
 

beebler

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2009
162
0
Would this be available to Apple TV users overseas too?

Would jail broken Apple TV users be able to access it?
 

iAshley

macrumors member
Feb 22, 2011
76
10
I'd rather not have channels all together. I want to pick and choose the program's I like. Always available once I've added them to my favourites and when a new episode or series come out they go straight to my favourites. No more missed series.
 

sulpfiction

macrumors 68040
Aug 16, 2011
3,052
528
Philadelphia Area
I never understand this... why would anyone who has an iPhone use the aluminum remote? The remote app is a great experience, even better on iPad.
^^This times 100. The supplied ATV remote is atrocious. I don't even think about using it. I have the app on my phone and ipad and it works brillantly.