Apple Reportedly Makes TV Headway with Time Warner, Taps Hulu Exec

Apple TVApple is reportedly close to a deal with Time Warner Cable that would allow the company to offer the cable provider's content through the Apple TV. The company has also hired Pete Distad, formerly senior vice president in charge of marketing and distribution at Hulu, to help with industry negotiations.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Apple is "nearing a deal" with Time Warner Cable, one of the largest cable providers in the U.S., and that the companies were planning to announce it "within a few months." If true, it would mean that Apple is finally making some progress on a long-term effort to make Apple TV the center of a connected living room.

While Apple has long been rumored to be working on a bigger play in the television space, those rumors were given credibility in Walter Isaacson's biography Steve Jobs (Amazon, iTunes). In that book, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that he had been working on how to make an Internet-connected TV work, and that he had finally "cracked" the code.

Steve Jobs passed away in October of 2011, but since then his successor as CEO, Tim Cook, has said on multiple occasions that he is extremely interested in the TV space. Despite that, there's been no sign of significant changes in the Apple TV settop box, let alone signs of an Apple television set.

There's been a lot of speculation that Apple has run into major resistance from the legacy TV players, including studios, networks, and the cable/satellite providers, all of whom are leery of giving up the customer experience to Apple, a company known for doing it right.

We call it "speculation," but it was based on reports from industry execs, including CBS CEO Les Moonves, who said that Steve Jobs pitched him on the TV thing, and that he rejected it out of hand.

If Apple is able to strike a deal with Time Warner, it would mean that Apple has the chance to become the settop box for at least some of Time Warner's customers. That's a far cry from building the kind of à la carte service that Apple was originally pursuing, but it would put Apple—and iTunes content—front and center of more living rooms.

In the meanwhile, there's this Pete Distad cat, an industry veteran whose job at Apple will reportedly be to help the company line up more media companies for Apple's TV dreams.

For those keeping score at home, this means that Apple is still committed to the living room and that the company is still "extremely interested" in the television industry. Some have doubted that considering the lack of news since Mr. Cook's comments, but hiring an exec to handle negotiations in an industry is the kind of resource expenditure you only make when you're serious.