Apple and Comcast in negotiations regarding streaming TV service

Apple is in talks with Comcast to bring streaming television service to an Apple set-top box (there is no mention whether this will be Apple TV or a new product). According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal with Comcast would insure that Apple would receive preferred treatment on ComCast's network, which would allow for congestion free content streaming to millions of users. Comcast has recently merged with Time Warner Cable (pending approval) to become one of the largest cable providers in the United States providing service to roughly 30 million customers. 

Unlike traditional set-top boxes, Apple would like to allow its users to stream live and on-demand television programming which would be stored in the cloud. One of the main hurdles in a service like this would be the quality of the transmission of content, but by partnering with Comcast, Apple hopes to create a streaming service that will rival the quality of traditional TV programming. This unique service would be something not offered by current competing set-top boxes like Roku.

While there has long been speculation of Apple releasing a TV, it has yet to materialize, but this seems like a solid first step in that direction. Apple could unveil the details of this partnership at WWDC or a planned event later in 2014.

Source: Wall Street Journal | Image via Apple 

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18 Comments

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This is ABSOLUTELY ZERO BIG DEAL.

Comcast may be the largest tv provider in the U.S., but I don't see how this is going to be "advantage Apple" for their upcoming latest Apple TV product.

If I were a Comcast customer, would this make me go out and buy an Apple TV? No. Why? I'll just use my cable box or Comcast DVR. LOL...what does Apple TV have to do with anything?

I don't get it. It's like when Microsoft was making a big deal about the Xbox One features, when no one really cares about it. LOL...after all, why would anyone care to shrink the real estate of their tv screen for NFL stats? When people want to watch a sporting even like the NFL, they want the whole screen and nothing but the whole screen. There is no market for this feature and it already comes with an HD Receiver that comes from your cable/satellite provider.

IMO, this is Apple news is nothing but a waste of space in the entertainment area and a waste of a power outlet.

VictorWho said,
This is ABSOLUTELY ZERO BIG DEAL.

Comcast may be the largest tv provider in the U.S., but I don't see how this is going to be "advantage Apple" for their upcoming latest Apple TV product.

If I were a Comcast customer, would this make me go out and buy an Apple TV? No. Why? I'll just use my cable box or Comcast DVR. LOL...what does Apple TV have to do with anything?

I don't get it. It's like when Microsoft was making a big deal about the Xbox One features, when no one really cares about it. LOL...after all, why would anyone care to shrink the real estate of their tv screen for NFL stats? When people want to watch a sporting even like the NFL, they want the whole screen and nothing but the whole screen. There is no market for this feature and it already comes with an HD Receiver that comes from your cable/satellite provider.

IMO, this is Apple news is nothing but a waste of space in the entertainment area and a waste of a power outlet.

Missing the point for $2000, Alex.

Notice this part...

Apple would receive preferred treatment on ComCast's network, which would allow for congestion free content streaming to millions of users

So people without an Apple TV device and people using non-Apple services will NOT GET full access to the bandwidth they are buying from Comcast.

This is not abusing BOTH sides of Net-Neutrality, not only are they 'preferring' a service over others, they are even dictating what device you need to buy.

comcast has been wanting to use it's 360 as a set top box for years, at least for the providers in my area comcast and u-verse such was planned but never came to fruition

Kind of hilarious since Comcast is claiming Netflix is overloading it's capacity...but suddenly carrying fruit-tv will not be an issue? Hilarious money grab again.

Another reason to not approve the proposed merger.

Bingo. 100% true.

ISPs need to be classed as neutral common carriers, split from content creators/providers.

There is an inherent conflict of interest in this oligopoly structure.

Agreed. It's taken me awhile to see the need for that, back in the 90's I didn't agree, and by default I'm not a fan of regulating\restricting anything that's not entirely necessary. Over time the larger ISP's\telcos have made it abundantly clear to me that common carrier status is now needed, even if perhaps it wasn't originally. Their needlessly forcing the issue their own collective actions.

I don't care for having access to "Live TV" but I would love an XFinity app on the Apple TV to get to all the VOD. XFinity on XBox 360 works pretty good, but Apple TV would just be faster, quieter, and potentially have a better interface.

Comcast's VOD service is pretty nice... My family rarely watches anything "Live" anymore and even DVRs are now becoming obsolete because of VOD.

Shadrack said,
I don't care for having access to "Live TV" but I would love an XFinity app on the Apple TV to get to all the VOD. XFinity on XBox 360 works pretty good, but Apple TV would just be faster, quieter, and potentially have a better interface.

Comcast's VOD service is pretty nice... My family rarely watches anything "Live" anymore and even DVRs are now becoming obsolete because of VOD.

This is more than having an 'App', they could of had an App years ago if that was the intent. This is about all your neighbors that don't have Apple TV getting a slower/lower quality picture.

"According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal with Comcast would insure that Apple would receive preferred treatment on ComCast's network"

Yet another stab at net neutrality. Fast forward and we might as well be offered packages to access certain sites and services. Exclusivity deals, preferred services, gated and/or restricted access... Sigh. And then they cry when people pirate things just because it is a lot more convenient than using a legitimate service.

ians18 said,
What if Microsoft bought Comcast or it's division (Xfinity)?

There are more chances that next week I will buy a Pershing 74 than MS buy either Comcast or Xfinity. And in order to buy that boat I would have to win California lottery on Saturday.... :-)

ians18 said,
What if Microsoft bought Comcast or it's division (Xfinity)?

Considering MS sold their Mediaroom (IPTV) stack to Ericsson I couldn't really see this happening.

If Microsoft has no plans to combat this except for XBox One, they have once again made a huge mistake. A simplified Apple device will be much more consumer friendly and easy to use then the XOne. Very curious to know what MS plans are or are not in this area. Maybe the market is not as large as I thought or maybe smart TV's are already handling a lot of this content.

jimmyfal said,
If Microsoft has no plans to combat this except for XBox One, they have once again made a huge mistake. A simplified Apple device will be much more consumer friendly and easy to use then the XOne. Very curious to know what MS plans are or are not in this area. Maybe the market is not as large as I thought or maybe smart TV's are already handling a lot of this content.

This is bigger than a 'Microsoft' issue...

If this crap continues, based on what internet access is available to you, it will dictate what devices and what services you will be allowed to use.

Mobius Enigma said,

This is bigger than a 'Microsoft' issue...

If this crap continues, based on what internet access is available to you, it will dictate what devices and what services you will be allowed to use.


Sad but true...