Might Apple Inc. (AAPL) Get AppleTV to Broadcast Cable?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is apparently in discussions with one of the major cable-television providers to incorporate AppleTV as a set-top cable box, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. While things are apparently very preliminary, it seems that Apple might be looking to develop the “hobby” of television into a revenue stream.

Should this Concern Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG)?

There have been a lot of challenges with getting into cable television, but if there is an opportunity for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), this may likely pay off big for hedge-fund investors like David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital.

The story out of the discussions would have Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) play cable television through its AppleTV box by having users buy the box rather than leasing it monthly from the cable companies. The cable company is not mentioned by name in the story, but this would go against some the work the cable companies have had in developing their own set-top boxes that they would lease to subscribers for a monthly fee. Right now, AppleTV boxes are used only for showing movies and TV shows downloaded from the iTunes store, or sreaming from Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) or YouTube from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG).

A partnership with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and cable companies would give Apple access to tons of cable channels that subscribers are able to watch. Otherwise, Apple would have to branch out on its own and try to strike licensing deals with various media companies and show owners after the shows have aired – rather than live television.

There has been talk that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a prototype television built that might be ready sometime next year.

One commenter notes that the possibility of unifying cable interface through a single set-top box would be a huge boon for consumers, considering that the cable companies right now have such tight controls about the ways and methods their content gets out., and that many times make user interface difficult and inconvenient for cable viewers who use the set-top boxes.