Fortune magazine reports that Apple has worked out a multiyear licensing agreement with Rovi, which offers the TotalGuide electronic programming guide (EPG) to cable providers and other consumer electronics partners. The move could be another signal that Apple is planning to release its own HDTV in the future.
Apple could be hoping to integrate the EPG into its Apple TV set-top box offering, though it currently doesn't have any storage to provide DVR functionality and lacks any kind of TV tuner. The company could bake the guide into a future version of the device, or Piper Jaffray Gene Munster analyst believes that this could be part of a plan to prepare for the launch of an Apple television down the road.
The TotalGuide technology includes the ability to offer programming choices based on a viewer's viewing habits and "social recommendations," a function that is similar to the one Google TV is hyping for its platform. One other Rovi offering could be intriguing to Apple as well: the Rovi Advertising Network, technology that could help Apple extend its advertising to the EPG itself or the interface for online apps.