There’s new fuel for the fire that Apple’s working on technology for an updated TV set-top box or TV platform.
Citing unnamed sources, tech writer Jessica Lessin (formerly of The Wall Street Journal), says Apple’s been meeting with cable companies to pitch a service that would enable TV viewers to skip commercials.
That feature would be worked into a “premium” service Apple TV owners would buy into, the report says, adding that Apple would then pay networks when it occurred.
Apple’s TV set-top box remains limited to prerecorded content instead of live TV channels, though that’s expected to change. Apple has dabbled in offering live programming, but only its own presentations, like keynote addresses and concerts. A series of rumors has pointed toward the company expanding from selling content a la carte to a subscription that would rival what people purchase from their cable providers. Earlier this month, Apple was said to be in late-stage talks with Time Warner Cable to add live channels to the set-top box, presumably inside an app.
Apple would not be the first company to offer users a way to skip ads on TV programming. TiVo and ReplayTV offered the feature to consumers more than a decade ago, and it’s since permeated to the DVRs cable providers offer to customers. More recently, companies like Dish and its Hopper technology can skip commercial blocks, though the feature can be limited on certain programming and has raised legal ire from major broadcast networks which say it violates copyright law. (Disclosure: CBS is one of those broadcast networks, and CBS Interactive is the publisher of CNET News).
Apple declined to comment on the report, calling it rumor and speculation.