Apple Working With Cable Providers To Stream Live TV To The Living Room [Report]

Apple Working With Cable Providers To Stream Live TV To The Living Room [Report]

Will the current Apple TV simply evolve, or is Apple working on something much bigger?

The iPhone 5 and iPad mini sections of the rumor mill have been churning nonstop as of late, but there hasn’t been any rumors surrounding the future of the Apple TV for quite some time.

Today a report sheds more light on the future of the Apple TV by noting that Apple is in talks with major cable providers to stream live television to a set-top box.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Apple is in talks with some of the biggest U.S. cable operators about letting consumers use an Apple device as a set-top box for live television and other content, according to people familiar with the matter.

The talks represent Apple’s most ambitious crack at infiltrating the living room after years of trying.

Apple doesn’t appear to have reached a deal with any cable operators. One obstacle may be the reluctance of operators to let Apple establish a foothold in the television business.

Cult of Mac exclusively reported that Apple was working on a full-fledged HDTV back in May. We noted that the product was in the prototype stage, and today The Wall Street Journal corroborates:

Two people briefed on the matter said the technology involved could ultimately be embedded in a television. Apple has worked on prototypes for televisions in the past, according to people briefed on the projects.

The report also notes that “Apple contemplated building a cable set-top box more than two years ago before it launched the latest version of its Apple TV.” Apparently Steve Jobs was “dismissive” of the idea because of how fragmented and complex the cable companies are. One of the main problems with licensing Hollywood content is that, for the most part, studios own the content rights, not the operators.

Apple has always called the Apple TV a “hobby,” but the set-top box continues to sell more than one million units each quarter. Apple has also continued to add more content like Hulu Plus. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Apple TV was an “intense area of interest” for the company in an interview earlier this year.

The Journal does not offer any further information on an Apple HDTV, but rumors from earlier this year said that the product would likely be announced by 2013.

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  • Atienne

    Leave it to apple to finally bring cable to the masses. By masses, I mean I would love to be able to buy packages of the 5 or 10 channels that I actually watch for $20 instead of paying $100 for the other 150 I could give a crap about.

  • FriarNurgle

    I ain’t paying for it.

  • Anthony Antman Siringo

    GO APPLE!!!!! Lets change the cable company next!! WOOT

  • Robert Moore

    I would love to pay for channels like they were apps on my Apple TV. If Apple can’t get TV channels at least make TV Shows more affordable on iTunes. A show for $50 a season is just way too much money!!

  • grouver

    unfortunately, Apple might actually need Jobs to get this one done … it is pretty widely known that if it wasn’t for him iTunes would have never taken off and he’s tried to crack the TV business for a very long time. That said, I do honestly wish them the best of luck for all out sakes. The current TV model is clearly not cutting it and if you want proof just look at all the pirated content available…

  • MacHead84

    Until the Apple TV adds a Coax Cable input its not practical. No one wants their TV to Buffer EVER. And thats what would happen running channels through your router.

  • ddevito

    Apple, PLEASE make this happen. I swear I won’t badmouth Apple ever again :)

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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