Apple has acquired the small online content service Matcha.tv, suggesting that it is moving to release a new Apple TV in the near future. Along with rumors now spreading about an updated set-top box, many people believe that this is a sign of Apple's intention to take over and reinvent the TV market.
The deal is believed to have gone down for an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million. Matcha has been offline for a few months now after shutting down its Web site in May. Prior to closing, Matcha.tv offered a content recommendation system for users based upon things they had previously watched.
Users could also organize and aggregate content from Netflix, Hulu, cable services, Amazon Prime, iTunes and other content providers.
Now that the acquisition has been confirmed for the most part and Matcha's employees will work for Apple for two years, we still do not know what Apple plans to use the service and technology for. Of course, the most obvious implementation would be including aggregation and recommendation features in Apple TV, but there could be other uses as well.
Apple has already enhanced the functionality of its TV services by adding content provider applications to the platform. In doing so, Apple could use Matcha to organize all of that content in a way that is more appealing to users.
Sure, CEO Tim Cook still calls the TV business a "hobby" for Apple, but it is making moves to suggest it would like to expand its control of the set-top box market. Without Matcha having a large portfolio of patents or software, the technology seen on its Web site and in its apps is going to be used by Apple in some way.
Dangers of the Market
Entering the TV market can easily become a bad decision with the thin margins that exist there. Companies like Samsung and Panasonic already have a large presence in the TV market and have struggled to push units.
Without entering the full TV set market, Apple would be left with simply improving the Apple TV. If Apple adds all this functionality to its set-top box it could still revolutionize the TV industry, which is something it already has said it plans to do.
The Apple TV currently acts as a middleman between users and their content. Matcha puts that content in one place, allowing it to be looked through and watched in a much simpler way. Using Matcha's technology to replace the main screen of the Apple TV might make sense.
Returns from upgrading the set-top box with a more widespread and feature-rich product would be higher than if Apple tried to release a television set. Over the next few months we will likely see how Apple is hoping to use all the new software that it has acquired since the beginning of 2013.
Posted: 2013-08-14 @ 12:57pm PT
Nothing Better than Google TV's PrimeTime app !