Apple in Talks to Build Cable Set-Top Box to Display Live Television

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Apr 12, 2001
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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has a set-top box in the works that would allow viewing of live cable television as well as other content.
Apple Inc. 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.
The WSJ suggests Apple's set-top box will be an aftermarket item that could cost "hundreds of dollars" rather than $10-$15 per month for the standard one provided by cable companies. Companies such as Tivo already provide similar boxes to independently replace your cable box by utilizing CableCARD technology.

By following this path, Apple would avoid having to license content directly from providers and instead piggy-back on existing cable television distribution. The report also notes that this technology could eventually find its way into a standalone Apple television set.

Apple is said to have considered a set top box as long as 2 years ago, but Steve Jobs had previously dismissed the market due to the lack of national-providers. Meanwhile, cable companies are reportedly reluctant to give up some control and revenue by allowing Apple into their set top boxes.


Article Link: Apple in Talks to Build Cable Set-Top Box to Display Live Television
 

gregwyattjr

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2008
198
1
One box to stream everything from your computer and to display your iPad's screen and to view live television? This will change everything.
 

redkamel

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2006
432
28
Interesting idea. I always thought it unlikely they would make stand alone TVs (for various reasons such as obstruction by cable/internet companies, TV cost, non-computer market, has to integrate with set top boxes etc).

A set top box would allow them upgrade the Apple TV to get live shows and possible a la carte programming without overtly alienating cable companies who provide the programming and date; they could still get a cut of the action. It would also let them keep the apple TV as a comparatively lower tier product. And it would decrease the amount of boxes on a TV stand while guaranteeing the box would work with your provider.

It would also be the same plan they they used with the iphone; superior product and plan on an existing service/data pipe. I am sure thats what they would point to during deals; I would.

All they need is a great deal on content and data, but Apple has a track record of that.
 

portishead

macrumors 65816
Apr 4, 2007
1,114
2
los angeles
I doubt this is true, but I really wish Apple would release a set top box like Tivo. They could do it a lot better than anything that is on the market. I love my tivo, but too many ads, interface isn't great, and expansibility is almost zero.

Plus even though Tivo is decent, most DVR's from your cable company suck, and you pay $20 monthly for them. It's more expensive up front, but you save money by purchasing a DVR. It takes money to make money (or save I guess).

They could include:
DVR Functionality
Multi Stream Cable cards
Offline iPad/iPhone/computer viewing
Up front cost only (ditch monthly fee)
UPnP/Airplay support
App store (imagine an Apple DVR with Plex!)
Unfortunately it will probably be locked to just playing mp4 or mov and no mkv or open format types.
 
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Scrub175

macrumors 6502
Apr 25, 2012
487
13
Port St Lucie FL
Having live TV through apple tv is about the only major feature preventing 100% usage for me. Google tv (spare the hate) has a nice feature set and passes through live tv for a seamless transfer between NAS, Netflix, amazon instant, web, and cable content. I like how google integrates all those sources all in one device on one input. Hope something is planned for apple tv as well as a set top box option.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,683
1,243
Georgia
This would be great if it replaced my current leased Comcast DVR or was something you pay for from Apple with CableCard 2, dual tuner recording and simultaneous playback. Along with full networking support like the AppleTV adding the ability to transfer quickly recorded and compressed 1080 content.

Plus features like saving the guide so I don't have to wait hours after a blackout to have the guide rebuild.

I'd rather it be something I buy with CableCard 2 support for full cable features without the function neutering the cable company does.
 

Leonard1818

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2011
2,459
393
I for one have had it with the big cable companies pushing us around and taking advantage when there are limited-to-no other options in the area.

On that premise, I recently cancelled cable (retaining internet). I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER... I went from $125/month for cable/internet to $50/month high speed internet. That's $75 PER MONTH that I am saving. That leaves me PLENTY of money for netflix, hulu, pandora (all of which I now subscribe to), Amazon prime, a TV mount and a fancy antenna for local stations.

Be careful who you partner with Apple... I liked the talks of a standalone apple branded TV set rather than a new cable box for my non-subscription...
 

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
May 1, 2011
2,872
513
SF Bay Area
An Apple television never made sense to me.
This however seems a perfect match.
Live TV and iTunes all in one box that anyone and their granny could hook up and use in minutes
 

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
809
847
This is all so wrong... :rolleyes:

I want a box that helps me CUT THE CORD with cable companies, not a box that keeps me with them!!! :mad:
 

Billy Boo Bob

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2005
493
0
Dark Side Of The Moon
I for one have had it with the big cable companies pushing us around and taking advantage when there are limited-to-no other options in the area.

On that premise, I recently cancelled cable (retaining internet). I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER... I went from $125/month for cable/internet to $50/month high speed internet. That's $75 PER MONTH that I am saving. That leaves me PLENTY of money for netflix, hulu, pandora (all of which I now subscribe to), Amazon prime, a TV mount and a fancy antenna for local stations.
I would do the same, but I'm out in the boonies to where I can't get anything at all on HD antenna.
 

faroZ06

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2009
3,387
1
The lack of coax input on the Apple TV has always been the dealbreaker for me. I don't care about paid TV, but I want an antenna input for recording and watching live TV.
 

vsthsd

macrumors member
Aug 15, 2012
31
44
(i've no idea what i'm talking about, take it w/ a grain of salt)

given apple's $ reserves, i'd LOVE to see apple break the back of this awful standard of major broadcasters are for cable providers only.

if they could, i'd imagine this would be the first step towards a la carte programming, which is pretty freaking huge.

basic cable for me costs around $20 in boston for a bunch of broadcast channels. i can't imagine they're getting much of a kickback. any kickback is probably bs too since i theoretically can get it OTA with an HD receiver. it must be existing contracts slowing this down.

does anyone know which? that may give a date when all of this is possible. i think dishnetwork recently had a contract w/ the NFL effectively blocking out a lot of customers.

i feel like all of this is inevitable, and apple knows damn well of it. what gives?

as a side note, if and when apple or someone else achieves this, that's when the net neutrality war really begins. it's ****** enough seeing at&t apply a surcharge for facetime users.
 

albusseverus

macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2007
736
138
Sounds like one of many options Apple might be trying out, aimed at appeasing cable operators, who also seem to be ISPs. I don't think it would be the only option Apple would pursue, just a fishing expedition, to see if they'll bite.

Has merit, but I can't imagine it would be any more than an app or integrated feature of the current tv, or any future Apple television, for that matter. Describing it as a set-top box, may be a way of disguising Apple's intentions.

An iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator… are you getting it?

This whole, every distributor/channel/publisher has their own App is just ludicrous, unwieldily and so last-century. That's the thing Apple's got to fix.