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During Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Wednesday, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said that he "hopes" Apple builds a television set with its own take on the medium, noting the company's history of disruption in already-established markets.
When asked about Apple's possible plans in the TV space, especially as it pertains to manufacturing an in-house designed HDTV, Bewkes told Business Insider, "I hope they do. I think Apple is a great device company."
The executive went on to echo statements made by analysts, pointing out that Apple's strength lies in its ability to invent intuitive user interfaces, something that the cable and TV industry is sorely lacking.
"They bring good interface and navigation skills," Bewkes said, referring to the hundreds of channels now available from many cable providers.
A new sleek UI coupled with a content discovery engine like the one implemented in iTunes could very well be a game changer, however Apple may not be alone in introducing such improvements to the marketplace. Consumers are going to see "as many interfaces as you can get," Bewkes said. Just last week, a rumor said Microsoft was planning to build its own Xbox-branded set-top streaming device to take on the current Apple TV.
Speculation as to what Apple is planning to take over the living room has persisted for over a year, with possible products ranging from a smart iOS-based remote control to a full-fledged television set. Rumors surfaced after the first Apple TV was released in 2009, but a quote from late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs saying he had "cracked" the code to creating a simple TV sparked a flood of conjecture that the company would soon unveil a totally new product.
Further reports noted that while Jobs was "excited" about the possibility of building an Apple-branded HDTV, content rights distribution was a major hurdle to bring such a device to market.
Another rumor from August said Apple was shopping around the idea of an advanced set-top cable box with cloud-based DVR capabilities to national and regional providers, though again, content rights management was though to be a significant stumbling block in the purported talks.
The IGNITION: Future Of Digital conference is scheduled to run for two days, and explores the successful and emerging business models of digital media.