Apple is reportedly holding talks with the major US cable operators about offering live television content through its set-top box.
The Wall Street Journal reported that while Apple has yet to sign any contracts, the move is the technology giant’s “most ambitious crack at infiltrating the living room.”
The paper claimed that Apple has had talks with companies including Time Warner Cable and is looking to entice them to use Apple’s hardware and software.
Apple’s existing Apple TV set-top box currently offers online on-demand content, but not live cable channels. While it is still a relatively small business segment for the firm, Apple sold 1.3 million set-top boxes in the three months to June 30, a leap of 170% year-on-year, according to its recent earning call.
The news follows persistent rumours that Apple has been working to develop a web-connected TV set.
This was given further credence by former Apple boss Steve Jobs’ authorised biography, in which he claimed to have “finally cracked” such a device. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud,” he said.
In the past week, technology rival Google announced details of its own ambitious cable TV plans.
The firm is trialling super-fast broadband service Google Fibre, and has said it will offer a bundled 1GB web connection and a TV service that will include 126 local and national TV networks, such as A&E, Bloomberg, Comedy Central, Discovery, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon and Telemundo.
As part of the Google Fibre experiment it will offer subscribers a set-top box as well as a free Nexus 7 tablet to use as a remote.