Apple Reportedly in Talks with Cable Providers over Set-Top Box That Offers Live TV
Apple may be taking what the Apple TV, which they describe as a “hobby” one step further as new reports claim the company is currently in talks with major cable providers, asking them to let consumers use an Apple-branded set-top box to view live television along with other video content. The Wall Street Journal
is reporting that people who seem to be familiar with the talks claim that Apple has yet to reach a deal with any of the cable operators, possibly due to a reluctance on the part of the providers to let the tech giant into the live TV space.
According to the sources, technology involved in the proposed box could feasibly fit inside a television, though it isn’t clear what features Apple seeks to cover in their plans. As of right now Apple currently sells the $99 Apple TV, which allows users to stream content from the internet from sources such as iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, and others. The device is also compatible with other devices such as the iPad via features such as AirPlay mirroring. The set-top box in discussion seems to add to those capabilities by allowing users to also view live content as part of the mix.
The Cupertino California company faces the challenge of getting consumers to purchase a box outright instead of renting it in additional to the pressure from cable companies, which are hesitant to have their power eroded much like the record of and wireless industries. Traditionally, cable subscribers are forced to rent their boxes directly from a cable provider for a nominal fee, but Apple would take on a model similar to TiVo’s, which hasn’t made much of a dent in the market. One of the sources claims that Apple has been toying with the idea of building a cable box for over two years, even before the company revamped the Apple TV into a small streaming device. Jobs was reportedly cooled to the idea, noting that partnering with regional cable operators could cause issues due to limited reach. Another one of the people familiar with the talks claims that Apple has discussed interest in being an exclusive provider of set-top boxes using internet protocol tech, something that the company has some expertise given that it was in previous iterations of the Apple TV.
The news comes after Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, met with Time Warner Cable CEO, Glen Britt, at the annual Sun Valley media conference in July. The sources are claiming that Time Warner Cable is one of the cable companies that Apple is currently in talks with. Live TV on an Apple set-top box is something that many consumers would probably love to see so if the rumors are true, consumers have something to look forward to.
Source: The Wall Street Journal