Apple and Time Warner Cable have nearly finalized a deal that would allow TWC subscribers to stream cable programming with Apple TV, according to a Bloomberg report published today. Bloomberg claims the agreement could be made official within "a few months." Responding to the rumor, a Time Warner Cable spokesperson did little to quell speculation, saying only "We don’t have an agreement with them at this time."
If true, the move would represent Apple's first time offering live TV on its set-top box. The company has recently been expanding content available on Apple TV, most recently (and finally) bringing HBO Go to customers — a streaming app that has long been available on competing living room devices. Apple has largely stuck to video-on-demand content with Apple TV, limiting live coverage to its own special events.
For Time Warner Cable, the territory is more familiar. The provider already allows third-party products like Roku (and soon Microsoft's Xbox 360) to act as an extra cable box — so long as they're being used inside of a subscriber's home. Presumably, the implementation on Apple TV would be similar. Pursuing deals with cable operators (and embracing the TV Everywhere model) rather than signing individual TV networks and content producers could allow Apple to overcome the difficulties it's reportedly faced securing programming, both for Apple TV and a long-rumored Apple-branded television. As part of that push, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has hired Hulu senior vice president of marketing and distribution, Pete Distad, to help Cupertino in negotiating with media companies.