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From PC Advisor:
The speculation over Apples latest plans for the TV industry has been fueled by recent meetings with media executives who were seeking updates on the companys plans. Naturally, Apple didnt tell them much, but the reports suggest Apple is working on a set-top box that can carry live TV and online content, not the full-fledged Siri device everyone was talking about.
The rationale behind an Apple set-top box would allow the company to partner with cable providers to access channels available for subscribers already, instead of multiple separate deals with content producers. Following the model used for the iPhone with carriers, cable providers could subsidize the cost of the set-top box, helping it to establish a foothold in the market.
However, Apples talks with media companies and services are nothing new. As Ryan Lawler points out at TechCrunch, Apple has been in talks with carriers such as AT&T and Verizon about some sort of TV since February. Whats interesting is that if Apple is indeed pursuing the set-top box model, then we might see something similar to the way Microsoft is leveraging the Xbox 360 with service providers.
The company are also thought to be planning talks with a number of cable TV providers (including AT&T and Verizon), where the idea is to allow Apple become an additional means of hosting the content for cable subscribers to access, with the channels integrated with the online offerings already provided by current Apple TV models, including streaming from individual content rights holders, and the ability to download apps to the platform.
The cable TV plans are rumoured to have been thought up as a way of cutting costs on the product, along with using the brand power of established forces in the TV industry to give Apple a leg-up that they may or may not have needed if they decided to go it alone, providers could subsidize the cost of the set-top box, helping it to establish a foothold in the market.