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Apple to scale back Apple TV set-top-box plans

The next Apple TV device might not be quite as advanced as recent reports had led us to believe, with fresh suggestions that Apple has had to reign in its set-top-box ambitions.

Last month we reported on suggestions that the next Apple TV would sport a TV tuner, allowing it to play live TV as well as an even greater range of streamable content.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Apple has been unable to directly license TV content for its own internet TV service. It had been claimed that Apple wanted to compete in the living room set-top-box space with a considerably revamped (at least internally) iteration of its Apple TV device and unprecedented access to TV content.

Apple’s new plan is to fall in line with the current way of doing things. This would mean forming agreements with existing media companies to feature their content in a controlled way.

Rather than having access to full seasons of TV shows, Apple will now request only the five most recent episodes, as is the norm for video-on-demand services. Apple will also seek to disable the fast-forward ability on such shows for the first three days, which would appease TV channels and their advertisers.

The company is said to be in the process of discussing such terms with Time Warner Cable – a suggestion supported by a separate Bloomberg report, which also states that the new Apple TV will have a faster processor and an upgraded interface (all of which is a bit of a no-brainer).

According to the WSJ report, a new Apple TV box could launch in June at the earliest, but both seem to agree that it will arrive some time before Christmas.

It’s unclear whether Apple would sell the product directly, as it does with Apple TV, or would seek to distribute it through cable operators.

Next, read our pick of the best TVs of 2014.

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