There has been a lot of speculation that Apple is going to enter the television hardware business. But according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the company is exploring other ways to infiltrate people's living rooms around the globe. Namely, expanding the content available on its set-top box with live television and other media through partnerships with major US cable operators.

The report suggests no deals have yet been made toward that goal yet, but Apple has reportedly been in talks with Time Warner. It's unclear exactly what the deal would entail, however – presumably users will get the same service they do today except through Apple's device instead of a rented generic brand box. Hopefully Apple has something else planned besides sugar coating your TV guide and adding a few bells and whistles.

If that the case it would be a far cry from initial plans – or at least rumored plans – of licensing content on its own and offering it to consumers a la carte or via subscriptions. On the other hand, the move would at least give Apple a firmer foothold in the market and some leeway to negotiate other deals in the future.

For the time being it seems cable and media companies are reluctant to let them in their territory, worried about ceding control the same way record labels and wireless carriers have done in the past.

Although the current plan involves' Apple's set-top box, the Wall Street Journal says the technology could ultimately be embedded in a television if the Cupertino company decides to finally enter the market.