An unwillingness to “sleep with the enemy” may be behind cable companies’ reluctance to deal with Apple, but that isn’t stopping the Cupertino tech firm from trying. Their latest round of talks with various entertainment brokers would give their set top box the ability to integrate traditional cable feeds.
It’s a matter of compromise. Apple has been trying for years to break into the television industry, even contemplating licensing content directly and competing with cable operators. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…
The walled-garden of the television industry has long been reluctant to allow more-nimble tech companies from playing in their arena, fearing that it would start a natural transition away from traditional television access. They are already losing people as time spent on computers and mobile devices rises, eating into the television time that has driven the industry (and the country) for decades.
It’s unclear whether the discussions would include a future iteration of Apple TV (pictured above), a device that allows internet-driven content to be displayed through home entertainment devices but has no integration with live television through the cable operators.
According the WSJ:
Apple contemplated building a cable set-top box more than two years ago before it launched the latest version of its Apple TV, according to a person familiar with the matter. At the time, Apple’s then CEO Steve Jobs was dismissive of the idea, believing working with cable operators was problematic because they didn’t have national reach—each served only defined geographic territories. Another issue: entertainment companies own most of the content, not the operators, according to two people familiar with the meetings.
If bypassing the operators won’t work, licensing through them may be Apple’s path of least resistence.