updated 12:25 pm EST, Wed December 15, 2010
DirecTV hints Apple TV getting NFL Sunday Ticket
The Apple TV other unsupported platforms may get NFL Sunday Ticket in what could be a major coup. A leaked DirecTV research survey has suggested that those who subscribed to the Internet version of the live sports service could watch on an "Apple TV, Boxee or Roku player," adding dedicated media hubs that haven't had service at all before. Blu-ray players, game consoles and direct TV connections were likewise mentioned in Engadget's tip.
Along with the device mention, the example pricing sheets float a number of possibilities for how an updated NFL Sunday Ticket would be priced. In addition to the usual season pass, which could cost either $40 or $50 for a digital-only version (free or $10 bundled with TV access), viewers would have the option of paying $20 for each weekend of their choice if they only need the Internet version for a handful of games.
Live sports have already been a staple of the mobile world and have been recently been finding early outlets in digital media hubs. The MLB and NHL have extended content deals across platforms like Boxee and the PS3, and ESPN3 content is now available live for the Xbox 360, but NFL access has until now remained limited. Unlike services such as Hulu, however, the NFL isn't as dependent on TV carrier revenues to drive its business and may be more willing to offer Internet service even if subscribers then scale back to cheaper TV packages.
Apple's addition would be even more significant as it has never supported live content on the Apple TV. However, the company has just become open to using video services other than iTunes and has implemented Netflix on its current device. The use of iOS also simplifies loading apps and could lead to easier integration of new features, although it won't necessarily lead to an app store.