Apple might be trying to expand on the Apple TV, and take the concept in a slightly different direction. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is currently in talks with some of the major cable operators in the US about a set-top box that consumers can use to stream live television and other content.
The biggest hurdle Apple has in making this plan a reality is getting deals with cable providers, which hasn’t happened yet, according to the WSJ. Cable providers may be reluctant to let Apple in on the live TV arena.
Apple would also need to get consumers to buy the set-top box, which could go for hundreds of dollars, rather than being able to rent similar boxes from cable companies for $10 or $15 dollars a month. Other electronic makers, like TiVo and Samsung, already sell set-top boxes as well, without making a huge impact on the market.
Apple’s approach is somewhat less radical than in the past. Steve Jobs reportedly contacted the CEO of CBS last year about providing content for a new Apple television subscription-based service but was rejected. Now Apple is taking a different approach by teaming up with existing service providers rather than licensing content to compete with them directly.
Like phone carriers before them, cable providers are reluctant to let others into the television market because they’re worried about losing control the same way record labels and wireless carriers have in the past. With a set-top box, Apple could transform the television industry just as it did with the mobile-phone industry by getting existing service providers to join their service with Apple’s hardware and software.
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Glenn Britt, chief executive of Time Warner Cable, in Sun Valley, Idaho, last month at the annual media conference. Sources have revealed that Time Warner is one of the operators that is talking to Apple.
Apple has apparently been contemplating a cable set-top box for over two years, before the launch of the Apple TV. Both Apple and cable providers have had reasons to be skeptical, but it looks like Apple has made the decision to move forward with their plans. Now Apple just needs to get cable providers on board with the idea of a set-top box to stream live TV.