“Apple Inc. appears to be scaling back its lofty TV industry plans,” Shalini Ramachandran, Amol Sharma and Daisuke Wakabayashi report for The Wall Street Journal. “The company is talking to media companies and pay TV distributors including Time Warner Cable Inc. about launching a revamped Apple-branded TV set-top box in coming months, according to people familiar with the matter. Previously, the company had been trying to license TV programming for its own [""over the top"] Internet-based TV service.”

“In the current discussions, which involve at least two big media companies, Apple envisages working with cable companies, rather than competing against them, the people said,” Ramachandran, Sharma and Wakabayashi report. “For programming, it would rely on cable providers to acquire programming rights from media companies, rather than acquire them on its own, the people said. Apple might consider seeking some rights directly in the future, one of the people said. One of the people said Apple was aiming to release the new set-top box as early as June, though another cautioned the device might not be ready for several months after that.”

“Instead of asking for full current seasons of shows, it is asking programmers for just the most recent five episodes of current-season shows—the standard for video-on-demand services in the TV industry, a person familiar with the matter said. Apple is also proposing to disable fast-forwarding on shows for three days after they air, which would protect TV channels,” Ramachandran, Sharma and Wakabayashi report. “It is unclear whether Apple would sell the box directly to customers, as it does with Apple TV, or reach a deal with a cable operator to distribute the box and lease it to customers.”

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