Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

HBO Deals Keep Fox, Universal Out of New iCloud Movie Service

As widely predicted, Apple has updated its Apple TV accessory. This isn’t an overhaul, but an update: The new box offers better resolution, and software upgrades.

The new device will support video in 1080p, and Apple will now allow users to re-download movies they’ve already purchased from iTunes, like they’ve already been able to do with TV shows, via Apple’s iCloud service. No details yet on whether this means all movies from all studios. If I had to bet, I’d guess that some studios may not participate, but I’ll ask around.

Update: A studio executive tells me that Apple does not have all six of the major studios on board. And here’s confirmation from a source with first-hand knowledge: News Corp.’s Fox and Comcast’s Universal aren’t in, because they have preexisting deals with Time Warner’s HBO that give the pay-TV service exclusive “windows.” (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

That means that if you bought, say, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” from iTunes earlier this year, you won’t be able to re-watch it on Apple TV.

But that should get sorted out eventually, says HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson. “With every technological enhancement, we have always been able to find common ground with our studio partners, and we’re sure that will be the result here.”

The price for the device remains the same: $99. The upgraded boxes will be available next week, says Apple CEO Tim Cook.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus