updated 01:35 pm EST, Wed February 1, 2012
Terms for program guide technology might change
An Apple TV set could require Apple to pay a higher amount of royalties to Rovi, says Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson. Rovi owns patents to related to interactive program guide technology, for which Apple is paying an annual license fee. The two companies signed a contract in September 2010.
Olson estimates that Rovi already gets about $8 to $10 million a year from Apple. He suggests, though, that if Apple needs Rovi patents for a full-sized TV, it may be forced to pay additional royalties on a per-unit basis, in the same way that some TV makers already do. Apple's current payments are fixed.
Other TV makers could take advantage of their connections to Rovi to try and compete with Apple, Olson notes. "Rovi already has deals in place for use of total guide components with Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Panasonic, and Vizio. We believe existing partners, as well as new customers, could choose to leverage Total Guide components more fully to quickly ramp an improved connected TV software platform to compete with an Apple Television," he writes.