Apple reportedly in talks with cable companies regarding live TV for Apple set-top box

Apple reportedly in talks with cable companies regarding live TV for Apple set-top box

Aside from a full-on Apple television, one of the longest running rumors in Apple living-room land is a deal with cable companies and/or broadcast networks for the right to air traditional cable programming on an Apple TV or similar set-top box. However, television is notoriously myopic and future-averse, and Apple has previously sought to disrupt rather than engage their business. But that might be changing. Jessica E. Vascellaro And Shalini Ramachandran, writing for The Wall Street Journal, report that Apple might be trying a more pragmatic approach than before.

The talks illustrate that Apple is seeking a less radical path to expand in television than it has contemplated in the past, namely teaming up with existing service providers rather than licensing content to compete with them directly.

Steve Jobs once elaborated on the problems involved in going to market with a television or television box, namely the cable companies make even the cell phone companies look unified and sane by comparison. It's tough to see Apple compromising on either user experience or control to get a deal like that done either, but the Wall Street Journal has certainly proved credible in the past.

This could just be another in the long history of periodic feeling outs that Apple and Hollywood seem to feel compelled to engage in -- a tug at the thread Apple CEO Tim Cook still feels is there.

The WSJ also once again repeats the rumor that Apple has prototyped television sets, as mentioned above, and as iMore has also heard previously.

Where all of this is going, if any of it is going in the short term, is probably still too early to say, but for most consumers, including Apple consumers, it remains a problem that needs solving.

And the Apple TV remains a single-digit million-selling hobby, rather than the hundred million unit moving solution that typically attracts Apple this days.

The Wall Street Journal

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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