Apple is in talks with TV programmers in search of a deal that would allow it to launch a new web-based TV service, reports Recode. Citing sources familiar with the project, the site says the Cupertino firm wants to put together standalone channel packages and offer them directly to customers—wrapped within its own interface and user experience.
Recode is hearing the talks are still in the very early stages, so things like pricing and launch dates aren’t anywhere close to being settled, but Apple has shown a demo of the service to programmers. It’s said to look similar to Dish Network’s just-launched Sling service, which offers select channels instead of a broad lineup, and bypasses cable providers.
Rumors that Apple is in talks with content providers have been bouncing around the rumor mill for several years now. The company has been connected to everyone from CBS to Time Warner in terms of partnership discussions, but the chatter has seemingly always fizzled out after negotiations “stalled” due to licensing issues and other disagreements.
Despite saying the Apple TV is “no longer a hobby,” Apple continues to treat the set-top box like a side project. Although it continues to add new on-demand content, the long-rumored hardware refresh has yet to materialize. On a conference call last month, Tim Cook said regarding TV, “we continue to work on ways we can make a greater contribution.”