Can Apple Disrupt the TV Industry?

DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) chairman Michael White is downplaying the projected threat of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the television space, saying the rumored device from the company was not likely to put the current industry model at risk.

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“They are going to launch something, maybe in the next two weeks … but I don’t see media companies saying, ‘You can stream things in bundles over the Internet,’” White said. “Typically with technology, it smashes the cost structure in some new way, (but) with content costs, rights fees and the cost of spectrum, it’s hard to see (NYSE:IT) obsoleting our technology.”

Apple has been rumored to be working on an industry disruptive high-definition television that incorporates Siri-based controls and FaceTime video chatting, and enables content sharing between various devices from the company. Some analysts have predicted the device may debut late this year and start selling in the first half of 2013.

However, White, also the chief executive of the DirecTV, was emphatic in his assertion that Apple was unlikely to deliver an improved user experience. White said he doubted “Apple’s interface will be so much better than DirecTV’s,” and added that people would continue to pay for a set-top box.

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) chairman Brian Roberts was much more understated, saying he looked forward to learning more, “like everyone else.” He added that he hoped consumers “want our interface, but if they want Apple’s interface,” he didn’t want to drive them away because they would still need broadband access, which Comcast provides.

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