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Could Apple’s latest app acquisition become the new Apple TV?

Apple's estimated $1.5m acquisition of iOS streaming guide app Matcha.tv could hint at the future interface of its long-awaited Apple TV television set

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Matcha.tv’s iOS app was removed from the App Store back in May

Apple has acquired Matcha.tv, a streaming media discovery tool for iOS that enables users to easily find where a film or TV show is available online.

The acquisiton, which was first reported by VentureBeat and confirmed by Apple to AllThingsD, is one of a number of low-profile acquisitions that Apple takes part in every year. Details around the acquisition are sketchy, with neither Matcha.tv or Apple saying much, beyond confirming that the acquisition took place. The startup is estimated to have been bought for around $1.5m, although the figure has been disputed.

Matcha.tv launched in January 2012, offering users a way to quickly find which online streaming services were showing specific TV shows or films, it also included TV channels in the mix, making it a go-to app for TV and film fanatics.

The app disappeared from the App Store in May with little explanation from the company themselves. Given the news of its acquisition the immediate shutdown makes sense and follows a string of apps that have followed the same fate (Sparrow’s acquisition by Google springs to mind).

Whether Apple was looking for the talent or technology in Matcha.tv is unclear, but what is interesting is that we could see the same innovative interface reflected (in some respects, at least) in a future update to Apple TV or in the much-rumoured television set that the Cupertino company is apparently working on.

Update: According to TechCrunch, Matcha was purchased by Apple for a figure between $10 million and $15 million, far higher than original reports suggested. They also shared further information, citing a source close to the matter, that the reason Match was acquired in the first place was because of their content recommendation algorithms that were driving, “an explosion in user growth”:

It was Matcha’s user acquisition and user engagement strategy that Apple was interested in, according to one of our sources … Matcha had completed a round of vigorous A/B testing and had “found the answer” to rapid user growth and time spent in app. Matcha’s pairing algorithms that drove the right content to the right users simply worked best of any other apps competing in that space, the source affirms.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has acquired a company for their search algorithms. As Cult of Mac points out, they did something similar with app discovery company Chomp. Here’s hoping this new purchase makes it beyond the App Store (where Chomp’s technology ended up) and into a new Apple TV.

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