Keeping The Apple TV Rumors Alive
August 16, 2012

Does Apple Want To Get In Bed With Cable Operators For Apple TV?

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Perhaps we´ve become bored with the iPhone and “iPad Mini” rumors. Perhaps – and this is a shame – we already know all we need to know about the next iPhone. In which case, Apple could just release the thing tomorrow, we´d all buy it straight away, and Apple wouldn´t have to go through the whole flash and pomp of a press event.

For the second time this month, the Apple TV has come back into the conversation. Earlier, a pair of analysts revived the rumors that looked like they would never die, discussing matters of cannibalism and cost.

Today, the Wall Street Journal tackles the issue once more, issuing a report which claims Apple is once more in talks with US cable operators. According to the Journal, Apple wants to persuade these cable companies to use an Apple device as a set-top box with which to stream live television.

Such a solution might not be quite the utopian, cord-cutting option many have hoped for, but it could be a start. The report also suggests that these conversations aren´t meant to only include Apple´s existing TV puck, but rather that famed Rumored Apple TV we haven´t discussed for months.

These cable companies have a couple of industries to look to while they´re in talks with Apple, specifically the music and publishing industries. Apple came to these industries as they were showing signs of struggle and breathed some new life into them. Of course, in doing so, Apple also made sure to take their cut and enforce some restrictions in the process. Having seen this and knowing this is Apple´s modus operandi, these cable companies might not be too keen to cede any control to the iPad maker.

As pointed out by the Journal, these talks are less “radical” than previous talks, teaming up with the cable companies and choosing to be used as a part of the cable companies´ offerings rather than attempting to cut them out altogether. Of course, if Apple and the cable companies were to reach an agreement, Apple would have to persuade customers to buy a box, which the Journal says could cost hundreds of dollars, rather than pay a $15 monthly rental fee.

According to the Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Time Warner chief executive Glenn Britt met together in Sun Valley, Idaho last month during a conference hosted by Allen and Co. It was during this same conference that Tim Cook met with Joe Einhorn of The Fancy.

According to the Journal´s sources, Time Warner is one of the cable companies involved in talks with Apple.

Before Apple´s first TV box was released – which more closely resembled a Mac Mini – Steve Jobs was dubious about dealing with these cable operators, worried that they only reached small geographic areas rather than reaching nationwide.

Cable operators aren´t without their complaints of Apple, either.

The Apple TV has always been referred to by Apple as their “hobby,” and as such, sales haven´t been as strong as the cable companies would like, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Rather, these operators would rather build out streaming apps for their content to be played on an iPad rather than work directly with a new set-top box or a new technology. Furthermore, the cable operators want to be able to service the box, likely a distinct point of contention for Apple.

On the other hand, a deal with Apple could mean expanding their subscriber base, bringing in those who have made attempts to cut the cord and access their entertainment though alternative channels.