Pay-Per-iView…Apple to get into the digital TV biz?

In November, it was leaked that Apple may be getting into bed with a few of TV’s major networks to begin offering a paid, subscription-based package of digital content using Apple TV. Apparently, for a tithe of about $30, subscribers will get to watch whatever they want using Apple’s existing network of streaming and downloadable content through iTunes. The latest seems to be that no major networks have agreed so far, but the larger question is: can Apple really compete with the likes of Comcast, AT&T, and DirectTV?

Not many people got really excited about the Apple TV when it came out; for sure, not enough people bought it for it to come down in price along with the rest of Apple’s line. Among the issues it carried in the door were enormous updates to install right out of the box, incompatibilities with various TV sets, and wildly variable streaming speeds. Nevertheless, their sales since then increased exponentially, and now it’s not that hard to conceive of a widely-used, Apple-based system for watching TV the way we already do. We’ll be watching to see which, if any, of the big networks sign on to become part of the new Apple TV Paid subscription system–and who signs up.