Recode: Apple Developing a Universal TV Guide

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode:

Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones.

The idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and movies with a single click.


Industry sources say Apple’s plans are an outgrowth of the TV service it wanted to launch last year. The difference is that in 2015, Apple wanted to sell TV programming directly to consumers and provide them with a new interface that would make it easy to find the stuff they paid for.

In a way, I like the rebuilt-from-the-ground-up TV guide idea better than a paid streaming service.

We've had AT&T U-Verse for a while now, and their TV guide, like most providers, is terrible. I use it all the time to see what's on, now and in the future, and the interface isn't the best for someone with low vision. Fonts are small, which makes it hard to read stuff like channel listings and show descriptions. What's worse, AT&T's software has no built-in accessibility features such as zoom or a screen reader. There are times when I have to literally be inches from our television's screen in order to see something. So, for me, the guide's crap factor goes beyond the general clunkiness of the design—it's practically unusable by virtue of being really inaccessible.

Which brings me back to Kafka's story. If this guide ever comes to market, I have full faith in Apple that it'll have accessibility features out of the box, just as the Apple TV and all of Apple's other products do. In that case, I'll gladly—finally—replace our decrepit old standard-def TV with something that's decidedly more 21st century. Then I'll buy an Apple TV for it and finally have a programming guide I can actually use.