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Apple Web TV Service to Challenge Cable (Report)

The notion that Apple TV might get its own standalone TV channels has been bandied about since 2013, and now it's reared its head again.

Re/code is reporting that its sources say Apple that may be in talks with prominent cable networks to offer live channel subscriptions through its Apple TV set-top box. The site describes Apple's planned content plan as similar to Sling TV (see review), which is essentially a lightweight online cable subscription.

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Like Sling TV, Apple's purported subscription plan would offer a handful of popular networks. (Sling offers 12, including TNT, ESPN, Food Network and Cartoon Network.) Which networks an Apple TV service would host and how much they would cost, however, are still a mystery.

Previously, Apple negotiated with ESPN, HBO, Viacom and Time Warner Cable about providing either standalone channels or full cable access via Apple TV. These potential deals did not pan out, which is why it might not be terribly surprising if this one fails to materialize as well.

Apple has not commented on the issue, and the company has not done much with its platform as of late. While Apple's Eddy Cue, a senior vice president, insists that "the TV experience sucks" and is in dire need of an overhaul, the Apple TV is a rather modest set-top box, and a rumored updated version has failed to materialize time and time again.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.