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Next Apple TV Could Feature Content from Time Warner Cable

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We’ve been hearing about the next Apple TV for several weeks now, and while there aren’t any specs to speak of just yet, we did get a hint today for what the device may offer. According to Bloomberg, Apple is negotiating with Time Warner Cable and other cable companies to bring more content to its streaming set-top box.

tvApple actually seems to be getting somewhere with TWC, which is what makes this especially newsworthy. There are stories dating back to nearly two years ago stating that Apple was in talks with cable providers. Those talks never went anywhere.

I actually did a double-take when I read that Bloomberg story, because I was certain that we had already reported a story similar to this one last summer. I was right — it was July 2, 2013. And guess who broke that story? Bloomberg.

Perhaps the two companies are closer to an agreement now?

If this news is true, it could mean Apple is going in a different direction with the Apple TV’s functionality than other recent reports have stated. If Apple wants to make cable content available on the Apple TV, it sounds a lot like the next version of the device won’t be utilizing HDMI-passthrough like the Xbox One. Instead, live TV or on-demand content would be streamed over the Internet.

The plus side to this arrangement is that Apple could control the entire experience, not just the user interface it’s laying over a cable box’s video feed. Cable customers could also dump those $15 or $20 per month HD-DVR boxes (though it’s not guaranteed the Apple TV would be a DVR).

There are some negatives, though. It’s likely you’d still be paying the same price as a typical cable customer, but instead of TV and Internet being walled off from one another, your TV would actually be coming over the Internet. If you are a heavy downloader or you like to play online games, either could disrupt streaming TV quality. And, as I just mentioned, you might have to do without DVR functionality — not that Apple would mind. You can just buy an episode of your favorite show for $2.99, right?

We expect to hear about the next version of the Apple TV in the coming months. In the meantime, do you have any wishes for the device? Leave us your thoughts below.

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over seven years. He covers consumer electronics, Web-based services, and tech startups. Read disclosures here.