Apple CEO Tim Cook. Source: Reuters
Media/Telecom Apple

Apple Pushes Ahead with TV Box Amid Tough Talks with Cable Cos.

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook. Source: Reuters

The years-long dance between Apple and cable operators marches on, as Comcast and Apple continue to discuss enabling the cable company's subscribers to watch TV through an Apple set-top box instead of a Comcast one, people familiar with the talks said.

While no deal has been reached, teams at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters are working full-steam on the new device that would fully replace a customer’s cable box. It has a dramatically overhauled interface and a big emphasis on gaming, the people said. 

Apple and Comcast have been talking for more than a year about such a partnership, and it’s far from clear they will reach a deal. But recent talks, which the Wall Street Journal also reported on Sunday night, have encouraged at least some Apple employees, who have been pitching the box to cable operators to little avail for years. Some of these people believe that Apple could start selling the new set-top box later this year.

The new box under development would blend live TV listings with apps and Web video, with a big focus on gaming, these people said. One person involved with the Apple product says the company hopes to attract more iPhone and iPad game developers to make their games work with the new box so that people can play them on their TV screen, using iPhones and iPads as controllers. Some games already are available that way through the current Apple TV box.  

Apple’s also banking on drawing customers with a new interface. The new box replaces the traditional channel guide with on demand menus, and Apple has been seeking deals to allow people to watch virtually all their content on-demand. The device under development is likely to integrate with iPhones and iPads and Siri, Apple’s voice-activated assistant.

Unlike the existing $99 Apple TV, the new box would serve as a full replacement for a cable box, offering cable content as well as iTunes and other Web video. Apple has also been working to release an updated version of the $99 box, which supports a growing number of video apps, including apps from Disney and HBO.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Briefing Crypto Venture Capital
An NBA Battle Could Fuel SF-Miami Feud
Golden State Warriors' Andrew Wiggins (22) and Miami Heat's P.J. Tucker (17) in a game in March. Photo by AP
It has been a rough week for national news, so please excuse us for a little diversionary counterprogramming on this Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend. Several of tech’s most important cities have a great showdown looming! On Thursday, San Francisco’s Golden State Warriors clinched their first NBA finals berth in three years after defeating the Dallas Mavericks to win the Western...
Latest Briefs
 
SEC Confirms Scruitiny Elon Musk’s Initial Disclosure of Twitter Stake
Twitter Board Rejects Shareholder Vote to Oust Silver Lake’s Durban
Chinese E-commerce App Pinduoduo Reports Better-Than-Expected Results
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Roelof Botha, partner at Sequoia Capital. Photo by Getty
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Sequoia Warns Founders of ‘Crucible Moment,’ Advises How to ‘Avoid the Death Spiral’
Sand Hill Road’s doomsayer-in-chief—Sequoia Capital—is back with a warning to its startup founders: Don’t expect a recovery from the current market downturn to happen quickly.
Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings. Photo by Bloomberg.
True Value Entertainment
Netflix Could Boost U.S. Revenue 21% With Advertising Push
Netflix has spent its entire existence setting the trend for others in video streaming to follow. But as it prepares to launch an ad-supported tier, Netflix executives are pondering a different question: Which rival service should it follow as a model?
Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive
A Top China VC Firm Struggles to Raise Funds After 10% Return, U.S. Investor Fears
Despite a difficult climate for raising money, at least four top-tier Chinese venture capital firms set ambitious goals to raise billions of dollars this year from Western institutional investors.
Dan Levitan, co-founder of Maveron. Photo by Maveron.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Consumer VC Firm Maveron Raises $225 Million Amid ‘Serious Paradigm Shift’
Venture firm Maveron, whose well-timed investments in eBay and Drugstore.com helped it get through the 2000 dot-com bust with relative ease, had a tougher time during the financial crisis eight years later, when it was forced to downsize and narrow its focus to early-stage investing in consumer brands.
Brian Armstrong, chief executive officer of Coinbase. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive Crypto Culture
Coinbase Tests App for Employees to Grade Each Other During Meetings
Coinbase, a cryptocurrency trading firm that garnered attention for banning salary negotiations and political speech among employees in recent years, is testing another practice that has raised eyebrows internally: asking employees to frequently rate each other.
Art by Mike Sullivan
Crypto Venture Capital
VC Pay Surged Again in 2021, but Future Jumps Are in Jeopardy
It’s hard to find venture capitalists right now who aren’t telling their startups to tighten their belts.