Apple TV talks with BT could lay groundwork for an Apple pay TV service

Apple and BT are in talks to offer a customised version of the Apple TV set-top box to EE broadband customers, according to reports on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph says the pair are in ‘early discussions’ over distributing versions of the smart TV hardware to those rocking EE broadband – pre-loaded with apps like BT Sport.

The reported plan could have benefits for Apple beyond enabling it to sell more Apple TV boxes. The company has reportedly long-desired a cord-cutting pay TV service, but has struggled to nail down deals with content providers.

Should Apple eventually resolve this quandary, the more Apple TV boxes already in homes, the easier it will be for consumers to quickly adopt an Apple service.

Related: Apple TV 4K review

For BT, it provides another avenue to tout BT Sport subscriptions that give viewers access to live Premier League and Champions League football. Also, with the ability to offer users an established device like Apple TV to their customers, BT won’t have to spend as much time developing its own set-top box hardware.

According to the report, the BT subsidiary EE was chosen over customers of the parent company because of the more youthful demographic it attracts. The Telegraph report points out:

EE has a long-standing relationship with Apple in relation to the iPhone and is used by BT as a proving ground for new initiatives. Its customers are typically younger and more technologically savvy than those of the BT brand.

It isn’t clear whether EE broadband customers would receive a free Apple TV device when they sign up to the contract, or whether Apple/BT will simply be discounting it for those customers.

This wouldn’t be the first such accord Apple has made with broadband and mobile companies. The firm has similar arrangements with the likes of Verizon and AT&T in the United States, while customers of the Swiss telecoms firm Salt can also grab themselves an Apple TV.

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