'Game of Thrones' to 'Stranger Things': Apple reportedly crafting streaming TV guide

Apple original programming
Last year, all hopes of a competitor to services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue from Apple were dashed when the company reportedly put those plans on hold. But that doesn’t mean Apple is done with trying to improve users’ viewing experiences.

The company hasn’t returned to its plans for live streaming TV, and instead wants to create an experience that makes viewing streaming content closer to standard TV, according to a report from Recode. Essentially, the company is looking to create an improved take on content browsing that would allow users to easily surf content on multiple apps offered across the Apple TV and other devices like the iPhone, iPad, and possibly even Macs.

Currently, users generally need to pick an app first – think Netflix, HBO Now, ESPN, and similar services – and then browse through its content to decide what to watch. What Apple is reportedly working on would expand on the universal search Siri provides, showing all of the TV shows and movies a user can watch across different services. This is nothing new when it comes to search – Roku devices can do this as well, for example – but the ability to simply pull up a menu and scroll through available content in the style of traditional TV is something new.

We actually got an early glimpse of what could be a part of the groundwork for Apple’s new project at WWDC in June. Apple unveiled a number of new features for tvOS, but also introduced single sign-on, which would allow a user to sign into a service on their Apple TV and access it on their iPhone or iPad without signing in a second time. Apple’s plans for this new TV browsing guide reportedly go beyond the Apple TV, so single sign-on would be a major boon to the new service.

In order to move forward with the service, Apple is reportedly talking with those behind popular apps about providing the necessary metadata needed for these listings. Any app supported by Siri’s universal search likely already provides the data needed, but Apple could be talking to them to in order to gain their permission for the data to be used in its guide — and presumably using its considerable industry weight to do so.

Even for Apple, gaining approval for the new guide could be difficult, as many TV executives aren’t happy about having their apps’ interfaces bypassed. Companies often use their apps to advertise other content, something that couldn’t happen if viewers are using Apple’s browsing guide to jump directly to the movie or TV show of their choice. There are also worries that bigger companies like Comcast and Charter, which are used to controlling how viewers find and access content, may object to Apple attempting to move in on their domain.

As is usually the case with these types of reports, Apple isn’t commenting, but given the company’s move since it reportedly abandoned its own pay TV plans, this certainly seems like something the company could be working on.

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