Apple’s TV ambitions may be going through some changes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is trying to convince cable operators to pipe their content through an Apple-made set-top box.

If true, the report suggests that Apple is backing away from its rumored goal to license television content though its own Internet protocol television, which would put it in direct competition with cable operators. Companies like Samsung, TiVo, and Motorola already offer their own set-top boxes, so Apple would hardly be alone in the space.

But there’s one big problem: The cable operators don’t want Apple anywhere near them.

There are two main reasons for this: For one, Apple tends to dominate the industries it injects itself into, usually to the detriment of the industries themselves. And two —  the cable companies say Apple just wants too much money out of the deal.

But there are some benefits as well. Rather than buy cable boxes and lease them to consumers, by working with Apple, cable operators could just shrug the costs of the boxes onto consumers themselves.

In any case, Apple hasn’t reached a deal with anyone yet, so there’s no telling what its television offering will ultimately look like. But more and more it’s looking as if the cable industry is one area that Apple hasn’t found a way to crack.


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