Apple and Comcast are in the early stages of negotiating a streaming TV service, according to The Wall Street Journal. The service “would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.”
Rumors have been saying that Apple is working on a TV streaming product for years, and this latest report suggests that Apple is concerned about its customers have enough bandwidth to make the experience worthwhile at home.
Apple wants to make it easy, presumably through the Apple TV, to stream on-demand shows and movies over the internet, but it needs the backing of entities like Comcast. Since cable companies already throttle their customers’ bandwidth, Apple is worried about the content it plans to deliver not being playable in households around the country. Netflix had to recently cut a deal with Comcast to keep its videos from getting throttled.
From the Journal’s report:
“Apple would benefit from a cable-company partner because it wants the new TV service’s traffic to be separated from public Internet traffic over the “last mile”—the portion of a cable operator’s pipes that connect to customers’ homes, the people familiar with the matter say. That stretch of the Internet tends to get clogged when too many users in a region try to access too much bandwidth at the same time.”
Apple’s idea is that customers should be able to log into their TV subscription using their Apple ID. Apple would then take a cut of the subscription fees.
The negotiations are sticky on a number of levels. Mainly, Comcast doesn’t want Apple eating its lunch like the iTunes Store did to the music industry in the early 2000s. If Apple can negotiate with content providers to offer an internet-based cable alternative at a cheaper rate, it’s game over for the likes of Comcast.
Apple was reportedly talking to Time Warner before the Comcast’s acquisition proposal was announced. With the potential of a Time Warner/Comcast merger on the horizon and the FCC’s recent net neutrality changes, Apple’s plans for TV are still very much in a state of flux.
That being said, reports are saying an updated Apple TV could be coming as soon as next month.
Source: The Wall Street Journal