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Apple, major labels discuss plans for free streaming music service

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
According to multiple music industry sources, Apple execs have met with the four major music labels about a possible free-of-charge music streaming service.

According to multiple sources in the music industry, Apple has been shopping around the idea of a streaming music service that would allow users the ability to back up and access their music from any Internet-connected device. CNET writes that Apple sees the cloud-based streaming feature as a "value add" that could help to stimulate music download sales.

All indications point to the service being up and running as soon as spring of this year.

On Tuesday, Michael Robertson, 12-year veteran of the digital music business and former CEO of MP3.com predicted that a cloud-based version of iTunes would soon be a reality:

"An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet," he wrote.

"The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million iTunes users with a simple 'An upgrade is available' notification dialog box."

"After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."

In December, Apple purchased music streaming service Lala for $85 million. It is believed that Apple will use the knowledge and technology gained from this acquisition in order to make the streaming music service a reality.

Apple has already leveraged some degree of Lala's streaming tech, with 30-second song samples being available on the iTunes Preview website, allowing users to view and listen to content available from the service without opening iTunes.

CNET writes that it is unlikely but not impossible that Apple will include the streaming service in their upcoming January 27 press event. It is widely believed however, that Apple will introduce both its new tablet device along with iPhone OS 4.0.
post #2 of 38
Quote:
After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area.

Arrgh. Another Lala article, another ambiguous statement about streaming an 'entire library' from the cloud. Does this include music outside of the tracks one buys from iTMS (such as ripped CDs)?
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Multiple music industry sources tell CNET that Apple execs have met with the four major music labels about a possible free-of-charge music streaming service.

"After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."

More like Apple bundles this into MobileMe to allow paying members access to their music collection over the web, either streaming from their home device (TimeCapsule/AppleTV) or from their MobileMe accounts online. I would LOVE to have this functionality so that I don't have to load down my laptop and iPhone with my entire music collection. Most everywhere I go has a decent Internet connection, and my connection at home uploads at 5Mbps sustained, sufficient enough to stream music anywhere I want over the web.

But I don't see how or why Apple would invest the amount of money it would need to to store hundreds of millions of users' iTunes collections without being able to monetize it somehow, or at least generate some kind of incremental revenue or market share by doing so. The feature is nice, but I don't see how it improves their market position, so why spend the $$$ to make it free. This is Apple, not Google.
post #4 of 38
Quote:
CNET writes that Apple sees the cloud-based streaming feature as a "value add" that could help to stimulate music download sales.


What do the Music Labels (with 5 RIAA lawyers in top spots in the US Justice Dept.) gets out of this deal so Apple can eliminate superdrives and hard drives out of it's devices and sell us less machine with a high monthly subscription in order to access our purchased content?
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post #5 of 38
This has been available from a many Apps for the iPhone for at least the last year.

My home Internet Access is faster than I get currently for streaming a lousy 30 second song. I get my full iTunes library and it's faster and free to stream it from my home machine.

This has already been done by numerous apps. Apple and AI are really reaching if this is going to be introduced as "innovative" for the announcement tomorrow.

Been there done that and it's already Free and faster than Apple can deliver.
post #6 of 38
Two of the three previous posters miss the point. The service is free if you have uploaded your library from the hard drive.

I feel mixed about this. The advantages:

-the service is free
-the service will stream the music you already own if iTunes has it

the disadvantages:
-piracy will allow users to upload any content they wish without paying for it
-will not allow users to find new music because it's just the content you own

I would rather have the streaming service just because I own the music that has influenced me. I would be willing to pay for a subscription service so I can find new music without feeling I'm taking a risk on owning it.

Tha being said I understand both sides of the argument.
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

This has been available from a many Apps for the iPhone for at least the last year.

My home Internet Access is faster than I get currently for streaming a lousy 30 second song.

This has already been done by numerous apps. Apple and AI are really reaching if this is going to be conidered "inovative" for the announcement tomorrow.

Been there done that and it's already Free and faster than Apple can deliver.

I have Simply Media as well and there is always problems with either updating your library or it takes too long to refresh your library on the iPhone. This way is much quicker through iTunes.

As I said before, all of this streaming is free so you are not relying on your home upload connection to listen to your content.
post #8 of 38
lala lala lala lala hey hey hey lala
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post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

I have Simply Media as well and there is always problems with either updating your library or it takes too long to refresh your library on the iPhone. This way is much quicker through iTunes.

As I said before, all of this streaming is free so you are not relying on your home upload connection to listen to your content.

I have the PC version and very fast home Internet connection and by the way, if you have the App then you know it's Symplify Media. It isn't free now but was when I downloaded it. So I guess I get a bonus for being a fan from the beginning.

I know and trust my home Internet site and have been MORE than happy with Symplify Media.

If your home connection is that bad then you won't have any more success with Apple's offering until they open their farm (if that's what it's for). To download a 30 second sample from iTunes takes twice as long as Symplify Media.

Sucks it costs $7.99 now but it's more than worth the cost if you have fast home Internet access.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

More like Apple bundles this into MobileMe to allow paying members access to their music collection over the web, either streaming from their home device (TimeCapsule/AppleTV) or from their MobileMe accounts online. I would LOVE to have this functionality so that I don't have to load down my laptop and iPhone with my entire music collection. Most everywhere I go has a decent Internet connection, and my connection at home uploads at 5Mbps sustained, sufficient enough to stream music anywhere I want over the web.

hear, hear! kinda like simplifymedia only better. way better.
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post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

hear, hear! kinda like simplifymedia only better. way better.

And you're saying way better for a product that is rumored and Apple's cloud service other than MobileVista has been a failure.

I'll keep my money on Simplify Media until I see an actual product and hear from NON Apple Fanatics a fair and unbiased opinion of the yet feature that doesn't exist other than rumors.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

What do the Music Labels (with 5 RIAA lawyers in top spots in the US Justice Dept.) gets out of this deal so Apple can eliminate superdrives and hard drives out of it's devices and sell us less machine with a high monthly subscription in order to access our purchased content?

How is it you always come to some bizarre conclusion? Copying your catalogue doesn’t mean storing your music files to the cloud and then deleting your local library. It means copying a “list” of your library that you can access if you aren’t with your local content.

What content is streamable and if there is an extra fee are the questions you should be asking.

Again, YOUR LOCAL CONTENT IS NOT GOING TO BE REMOVED!
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post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

I have the PC version and very fast home Internet connection and by the way, if you have the App then you know it's Symplify Media. It isn't free now but was when I downloaded it. So I guess I get a bonus for being a fan from the beginning.

I know and trust my home Internet site and have been MORE than happy with Symplify Media.

If your home connection is that bad then you won't have any more success with Apple's offering until they open their farm (if that's what it's for). To download a 30 second sample from iTunes takes twice as long as Symplify Media.

Sucks it costs $7.99 now but it's more than worth the cost if you have fast home Internet access.

I live in NY and get 20Mbps from FIOS. I have one of the best Internet connections in the country. That is not the point. From dealing with Simplify Media from the beginning I have seen many an issue with them especially recently. It also takes awhile to refresh your library if you have some new music that has been added or subscribe to many podcasts as I do. Info living on iTunes servers is faster. BTW it does not take twice as long unless you have a really slow data connection. There is no constant go-between you and iTunes like Simplify.

I trust my internet connection but I trust iTunes more than Simplify Media. iTunes is much faster and stable on the iPhone. This not only includes audio but video as well which Simplify does not offer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

And you're saying way better for a product that is rumored and Apple's cloud service other than MobileVista has been a failure.

I'll keep my money on Simplify Media until I see an actual product and hear from NON Apple Fanatics a fair and unbiased opinion of the yet feature that doesn't exist other than rumors.

You're dealing with an Apple fan but not a fanatic. I am one who believes the tablet won't be a huge hit. That doesn't mean that Apple doesn't have more to offer than Simplify. From my own experiences iTunes is faster than Simplify. I'm also one of the people who didn't bitch and moan when Simplify charged an upgrade price. I paid.
post #14 of 38
People, your local content will remain local.

RIGHT NOW whatever sits on your iDisk is also on your Mac locally. Your data is in the Cloud, but it also sits on youur hard drive, and is synced automatically.

Does anyone here (the naysayers) acutally USE iDIsk and MobileMe?? This is pretty basic knowledge. There's really no cause for complaint.

Jeez . . .
post #15 of 38
Is anyone as turned off by the cloud concept as I am? I'm sure many would find it useful, but for myself, I prefer to keep my data local, and totally under my control.
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post #16 of 38
Where's the Macbook update love?
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Where's the Macbook update love?

It was recently updated. Its the pro Macs that need the love.
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post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

I have the PC version and very fast home Internet connection and by the way, if you have the App then you know it's Symplify Media. It isn't free now but was when I downloaded it. So I guess I get a bonus for being a fan from the beginning.

You must have renamed your copy then. Mine is called Simplify Media.

It works well and I love it, but I have to agree with str - if I had so much as a single track to my collection, Simplify can sometimes take five minutes on my iPhone with the subsequent launch to update my library. The server component often takes up a ridiculous amount of resources as well, although I admit it's running on a fairly low-end machine: my old G4 Mac Mini has been turned into a media server. That said, it really shouldn't take 40% of my CPU to monitor my iTunes library.

Quote:
Sucks it costs $7.99 now but it's more than worth the cost if you have fast home Internet access.

It's also cheaper than upgrading your device to one with more memory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

RIGHT NOW whatever sits on your iDisk is also on your Mac locally. Your data is in the Cloud, but it also sits on youur hard drive, and is synced automatically.

Not by default. I believe I had to configure (through the MobileMe pref panel) for my MBP to keep a local copy of my iDisk. But I'm picking nits - it's easy enough to have your iDisk sync with your local disk.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Is anyone as turned off by the cloud concept as I am? I'm sure many would find it useful, but for myself, I prefer to keep my data local, and totally under my control.


I agree with you. I don't think people are going to jump on the cloud business too much, especially the prices the are trying to charge.

A hard drive lasts years for $80 for 500Gb, yet a online service costs $20 or so a month, don't pay and they lock your content. Plus it can be snooped in on too.

And you can't boot from a online cloud, like you can from a clone of a boot drive.
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post #20 of 38
BTW, I find it somewhat ironic that companies are offering this sort of service. MP3.com offered remote streaming of your music library and was pretty well sued into oblivion for it. While I think it should have been allowed then, I find it odd that it wasn't yet now it's become acceptable to the suits.
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Is anyone as turned off by the cloud concept as I am? I'm sure many would find it useful, but for myself, I prefer to keep my data local, and totally under my control.

Why exactly are you turned off by it? You do know that your data is stored locally and never leaves your machine and devices? This would be a free or paid for service that offers an additional option to access your audio.


Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

Not by default. I believe I had to configure (through the MobileMe pref panel) for my MBP to keep a local copy of my iDisk. But I'm picking nits - it's easy enough to have your iDisk sync with your local disk.

Youre correct that its an option you turn on in the MM preference pane, but his point is sound: cloud and local storage are NOT mutually exclusive storage methods.
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post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

BTW, I find it somewhat ironic that companies are offering this sort of service. MP3.com offered remote streaming of your music library and was pretty well sued into oblivion for it. While I think it should have been allowed then, I find it odd that it wasn't yet now it's become acceptable to the suits.

What is acceptable always changes. Sometimes its a slow moving cultural change, but often its because suits figure out how to make a buck from it.
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post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has already leveraged some degree of Lala's streaming tech, with 30-second song samples being available on the iTunes Preview website, allowing users to view and listen to content available from the service without opening iTunes.

I thought Lala used Flash, and Apple's uses Quicktime.
I haven't used either though, just read it on the web. Anyone know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

I don't see how or why Apple would invest the amount of money it would need to to store hundreds of millions of users' iTunes collections without being able to monetize it somehow, or at least generate some kind of incremental revenue or market share by doing so. The feature is nice, but I don't see how it improves their market position, so why spend the $$$ to make it free. This is Apple, not Google.

Although they have ways of minimising what's actually stored (by recognising when you and I have the same song, and just storing it once), I agree that simply storing music online doesn't seem to earn them money. They can already advertise and sell related songs via genius on iTunes.

Google does earn money though, and Apple may be looking at new models of earning.

I personally suspect that MobileMe is being shaped into a user's entire setup. Your "master user directory" is stored online, and your Mac/iPhone/Slate/aTV just hold part of your data depending on how much room they have locally.

This allows Apple to sell a "500GB iPhone", with 8GB local storage. It also means you could conceivably connect to any iPhone/Slate/Mac and login with your MobileMe account and get all your data, apps, music, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

BTW, I find it somewhat ironic that companies are offering this sort of service. MP3.com offered remote streaming of your music library and was pretty well sued into oblivion for it. While I think it should have been allowed then, I find it odd that it wasn't yet now it's become acceptable to the suits.

It's hard to know how to define streaming your own music. I mean, what if you call it "online backup", and then your iPhone just "restores" a song if you try to play it but it's not on your local device?

Do you remember what MP3.com actually lost based on?
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

I thought Lala used Flash, and Apple's uses Quicktime.
I haven't used either though, just read it on the web. Anyone know?

Lala deos use a little Flash for the simple player, but Apple uses HTML5 for the iTunes Store and iTunes Preview site.

http://popup.lala.com/popup/576742231612591227 (Yes, I chose that song as a joke)

PS: You can now set YouTube to only use HTML5 when playing video. Save your RAM and CPU!

http://www.youtube.com/html5
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post #25 of 38
I've got a subscription to Spotify and I love it. All my playlists are out there on the cloud and I can listen to music from any PC or smartphone connect to the net. It's great for work, for on holiday and at parties.

If I can access my own collection (which includes a lot music that isn't available on Spotify) then all the better!
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why exactly are you turned off by it? You do know that your data is stored locally and never leaves your machine and devices? This would be a free or paid for service that offers an additional option to access your audio.

"According to multiple sources in the music industry, Apple has been shopping around the idea of a streaming music service that would allow users the ability to back up and access their music from any Internet-connected device."

"An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet,"

"After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."

This doesn't sound at all vague to me, and it most definitely does not sound 'local'.
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post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

"According to multiple sources in the music industry, Apple has been shopping around the idea of a streaming music service that would allow users the ability to back up and access their music from any Internet-connected device."

"An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet,"

You'll still have your local copy. Chill out.
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

You'll still have your local copy. Chill out.

Why would I need to 'chill out'? I simply won't use the service.
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post #29 of 38
If the iTunes library file is being uploaded to an online profile connected to all the music in the iTunes store then we have a stepping stone to full wireless sync. Would be rather nifty if that library file could be accessed via a web portal, edited using an iTunes-like interface, and changes to sync settings for media get pushed to Macs, iPhones and other slate-shaped iDevices.

I imagine that's a bit beyond what is being initially mooted though.

How close is that server farm to being operational?

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post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Two of the three previous posters miss the point. The service is free if you have uploaded your library from the hard drive.

I feel mixed about this. The advantages:

-the service is free
-the service will stream the music you already own if iTunes has it

the disadvantages:
-piracy will allow users to upload any content they wish without paying for it
-will not allow users to find new music because it's just the content you own

I would almost guarantee that this will only work with content purchased via the iTunes Store. Thus the "value add" of purchasing digital downloads. I don't think anything will be uploaded anywhere. It will simply connect to your existing iTunes Store account and allow you to stream anything it knows you have purchased. If you own a ton of CD's, you'll be out of luck for streaming them.

Quote:
I would rather have the streaming service just because I own the music that has influenced me. I would be willing to pay for a subscription service so I can find new music without feeling I'm taking a risk on owning it.

Then why not simply subscribe to Rhapsody? I've had a subscription for several months and I absolutely love it. It's great having access to all that music and for the cost of about one album a month. Plus it serves practically the same purpose as this iTunes service will except that I can listen to anything on the service, not just the things I own.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I would almost guarantee that this will only work with content purchased via the iTunes Store. Thus the "value add" of purchasing digital downloads. I don't think anything will be uploaded anywhere. It will simply connect to your existing iTunes Store account and allow you to stream anything it knows you have purchased. If you own a ton of CD's, you'll be out of luck for streaming them.

I actually think streaming authorized music would be easier for Apple, but the article implies that it will be uploading music, otherwise a simple internet connected device would not be able to access your personal music (ripped but not purchased via iTunes).

From the article:

"According to multiple sources in the music industry, Apple has been shopping around the idea of a streaming music service that would allow users the ability to back up and access their music from any Internet-connected device."

"An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet,"

"After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."
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post #32 of 38
What about the literally hundreds of CDs that I have that are not offered by the iTunes Store?
post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

But I don't see how or why Apple would invest the amount of money it would need to to store hundreds of millions of users' iTunes collections without being able to monetize it somehow, or at least generate some kind of incremental revenue or market share by doing so. The feature is nice, but I don't see how it improves their market position, so why spend the $$$ to make it free. This is Apple, not Google.

Apple does not need to store your copy of, say, Weezer's new single to be able to stream it to you online. That's not how lala works, and iTunes.com will most likely be a souped-up version of lala.

Also, there is no reason for Apple to warehouse 400,000 copies of that track to be able to stream it to the 400,000 iTunes users who have that track in their library, since only a small fraction of those users will stream the track at any one time.

I suspect a web-based iTunes would give you access to a streaming version of either every track you've ever bought on iTS plus (maybe) streaming version of the other MP3s in your iTunes library that are commercially available and meet Apple's non-piracy criteria.
post #34 of 38
Are you listening Sonos!!
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post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKuei View Post

More like Apple bundles this into MobileMe to allow paying members access to their music collection over the web, either streaming from their home device (TimeCapsule/AppleTV) or from their MobileMe accounts online. I would LOVE to have this functionality so that I don't have to load down my laptop and iPhone with my entire music collection. Most everywhere I go has a decent Internet connection, and my connection at home uploads at 5Mbps sustained, sufficient enough to stream music anywhere I want over the web.

But I don't see how or why Apple would invest the amount of money it would need to to store hundreds of millions of users' iTunes collections without being able to monetize it somehow, or at least generate some kind of incremental revenue or market share by doing so. The feature is nice, but I don't see how it improves their market position, so why spend the $$$ to make it free. This is Apple, not Google.

I agree, more likely to make it's way into mobileme, which Apple has long been planning to fully ramp up now that they gave it an overhaul. As Google offers more & more free online apps via iGoogle & Google Apps Apple is going to be looking for some solid ways to make the paid mobileme service more attractive.

I also fully expect to see iWork.com get an overhaul & possible become part of mobileme either as a business type package or maybe as a discounted service if you already have basic mobileme.
post #36 of 38
Apple just bought Lala last month. So unless one of two items has occurred (Apple and Lala working in secret for many, many months; or Apple just bought Lala for its patents) this is way to soon for Lalas' tech to show up in any of Apples' products.
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post #37 of 38
20MB one of the best internet connections in the country?

I'm currently paying $29.99 per month for 22MB from Comcast.
My business uses their Comcast Business Class internet service which gives me 100MB
for $99.

I never have downtime & often times i'm clocking 24 / 25mp at home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

I live in NY and get 20Mbps from FIOS. I have one of the best Internet connections in the country. That is not the point. From dealing with Simplify Media from the beginning I have seen many an issue with them especially recently. It also takes awhile to refresh your library if you have some new music that has been added or subscribe to many podcasts as I do. Info living on iTunes servers is faster. BTW it does not take twice as long unless you have a really slow data connection. There is no constant go-between you and iTunes like Simplify.

I trust my internet connection but I trust iTunes more than Simplify Media. iTunes is much faster and stable on the iPhone. This not only includes audio but video as well which Simplify does not offer.



You're dealing with an Apple fan but not a fanatic. I am one who believes the tablet won't be a huge hit. That doesn't mean that Apple doesn't have more to offer than Simplify. From my own experiences iTunes is faster than Simplify. I'm also one of the people who didn't bitch and moan when Simplify charged an upgrade price. I paid.
post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cigsm View Post

20MB one of the best internet connections in the country?

I'm currently paying $29.99 per month for 22MB from Comcast.
My business uses their Comcast Business Class internet service which gives me 100MB
for $99.

I never have downtime & often times i'm clocking 24 / 25mp at home.

I'm sorry, but I have to doubt your claims as well. Can you post a link to that 'deal'? Most of us are stuck with $40-$50 a month for asynchronous 10 mb/s service.

Even Comcast's own web site lists their 'speedboost' web service, which is only 12 mb/s for $19.99 a month, and that is only for the first 6 months.

According to the 'small print' on their web site: "Comcasts current monthly service charges for the advertised services range from $42.95 to $59.95"
iMac 27" 2.8 Quad i7 / 24" Dual Core 3.06 / 17" Macbook Pro Unibody / Mac Mini HTPC / iPhone 4
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iMac 27" 2.8 Quad i7 / 24" Dual Core 3.06 / 17" Macbook Pro Unibody / Mac Mini HTPC / iPhone 4
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