CBS chief talks Apple TV

With Steve Jobs first dropping hints about Apple’s plans for a branded TV set in his conversations with biographer Walter Isaacson, others are a bit more comfortable discussing it now. Appletv

The latest to reveal details was CBS CEO Les Moonves in an earnings conference call this week.

Asked about the network’s interest in striking deals with new streaming providers – particularly those where there’s no upfront money – Moonves said “We – frankly, we don’t believe in them…We’ve even been against joining Apple TV, which was an advertiser split.”

The network instead prefers unfront licensing deals to syndicate its content and has struck bargains with Netflix and Amazon this year for catalog content.

Of course, since Moonves didn’t delve deep into what he meant by Apple TV. He could have been referring to the company’s existing set-top box, which toyed with renting episodes for a year – though that program was not set up as an ad split, which has raised speculation he had something else in mind.