Apple is reported to be in talks with large U.S. cable operators about letting consumers using an Apple device as a set-top box for live TV and other content. The company does not appear to have a deal in place with any operators, and some may be reluctant to let Apple into their customers’ living room. Apple would also need to persuade consumers to shell out a few hundred dollars for a set top box as opposed to renting one from their cable provider for $10-15 per month.
Talking with cable providers would be a significant shift in strategy for Apple, looking to partner as opposed to licensing their own content and competing directly. Currently, Apple sells a $99 Apple TV box that lets users access internet video on their TVs, but does not provide live channels.
Sources close to the matter said that Apple looked into creating a set top box a few years ago before launching the latest version of Apple TV, but Steve Jobs dismissed the idea as he believed working with cable operators would be problematic because they did not have national reach. Cable operators have also been somewhat cold to an Apple set top box as slow sales of Apple TV have led them to focus more on developing apps for iPhones and iPads.
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