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Apple Inc. has reportedly hired a Hulu executive to negotiate deals for putting cable TV channels on Apple TV, and the powerhouse maker of mobile gadgets is close to striking one with Time Warner Cable.
Apple and TWC could announce their agreement within a few months, Bloomberg reported Tuesday citing anonymous sources. Apple and Hulu declined to comment. TWC did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has poached Pete Distad from Hulu, where he was vp marketing and distribution, and has given him the task of convincing cable companies to put some of their channels on Apple TV, a small box that puts Internet content on television screens.
TWC already has similar deals with Roku and Xbox, and it makes some channels available on Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices. Apple recently disclosed that more than 13 million Apple TV units have been sold since 2007, and there have been persistent rumors that many upgrades are in store for the gadget.
When Steve Jobs was CEO, he referred to Apple TV as a “hobby,” but the company clearly has designs on a more robust — or entirely new — product focused on improving television.
“When you look at the TV experience, it’s not an experience that I think very many people love,” Cook said recently at the D: All Things Digital conference. The TV experience, he continued, is “not one that has been brought up-to-date for this decade. It’s still an experience much like 10 years ago or 20 years ago.”
He also spoke of Apple’s “very grand vision” for television, but he gave no details of what the consumer-electronics giant has in store for the future.
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