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Mark Cuban: An Apple box designed for TV would be game-changer

The famed investor cautions that Apple won't even consider going after cable companies by making deals with programmers.

Apple's plans for television will have nothing to do with killing cable companies and everything to do with playing nice with them, famed investor Mark Cuban believes.

Speaking to Adweek in an interview published today, Cuban said the idea that Apple would invest its bundles of cash in trying to "blow up cable companies" with its own deals with programmers is pure nonsense.

"I think there is zero chance of that happening," Cuban said. "Apple tries to do everything on commission. It's not big on upfront deals, and I don't see that changing."

However, Cuban does believe that there's a possibility Apple could deliver a new Apple TV set-top box that's designed to complement current cable and satellite services. And that platform could act as a jumping-off point for the company to do other things in the entertainment arena.

"This would be the smart approach," Cuban told Adweek. "Having a set-top box that uses a TV-ready version of iOS that changes the paradigm for user interfaces would create a platform from which Apple could sell content and integrate new options. I don't think there is any doubt that if Apple released a set-top box that supported authentication for multichannel video programming distributors (like cable and satellite companies), it would be a huge success."

The idea that Apple might do such a thing isn't so far-fetched. Over the summer, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources, that Apple was in talks with cable operators to deliver a set-top box that would replace those currently in use from companies like Motorola and Cisco Systems.

That report effectively threw some cold water on hopes of Apple releasing its own television that would integrate iOS and iCloud to deliver a new user interface for entertainment seekers. The Journal's report seemed a bit more believable, given how difficult it might be to deliver a new television.

Apple, however, has not given any indication that it's planning to try its luck in the television business. In fact, so far, its Apple TV set-top box is still the "hobby" that Steve Jobs called it years ago. The device only allows users to stream video and audio and does not integrate into existing television programming.