Services & Software

Apple TV nears Time Warner Cable deal, Bloomberg says

The Apple set-top box would get a wealth of new channels, and its first mega cache of live ones, if it reaches a deal with the cable provider.


Apple and Time Warner Cable are nearing a deal that would bring new channels to the computer maker's set-top box, Apple TV, for subscribers of the cable television service, Bloomberg reported Tuesday citing people with knowledge of the talks.

A deal would bring the set-top box a significant influx of channels, and its first flood of live ones.

Apple has been expanding its offerings on the device, which connects Web videos and other media to the traditional television but lacks the the broad array of channels that its chief competitor Roku offers.

Earlier this year, Apple TV got its first network television app in a deal with the CW for prime-time shows. Last month, Apple TV lassoed Time Warner Inc.'s HBO GO and Disney's WatchESPN apps.

Sports and HBO's premium content are some of television entertainment's biggest consumer draws. But it exemplified how Apple TV's selection is largely one-off apps. The same can be said of its live TV offerings, which consists of MLB.TV for the most part, all while rival Roku already has Time Warner Cable content streaming 300 channels through it.

Apple and Time Warner Cable plan to unveil the pact within a few months, and Apple is also hiring a former Hulu executive to help the Cupertino, Calif., company navigate negotiations with media and cable companies, according to Bloomberg's report.

If a deal is reached, it will be interesting to see how Apple tackles the interfaces for Time Warner Cable's channels. More so than other set-top boxes, Apple TV has a custom interface for seamless transition from channel to channel. That means each service has the same feel, but it creates a big undertaking when a wealth of channels are coming at once.

For consumers, the attraction of getting Time Warner Cable through a device like Apple TV when they're already paying for the cable service itself is the ability to watch programs on a second box in another room without paying more.