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In pushing for Time Warner merger, Comcast cites Apple's development of new set-top box

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Rumors that Apple is working on a new set-top box are high-profile enough that Comcast saw it fit to cite them on Tuesday as part of a filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Apple TV


Comcast published the document publicly as well, as part of the company's efforts to have its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved by the government. In the letter, Comcast attempted to portray how its competitors are exploring new ways to offer content to customers, specifically naming Apple, Amazon, Google and Verizon.

Regarding Apple, Comcast cited the iPad as being used by existing cable services to provide content, while Apple's own iTunes and the existing Apple TV are also used to sell video content to consumers.

Comcast then mentioned that the company is exploring "development of an Apple set-top box," seemingly suggesting that a more full-fledged offering could be in the works. The document declines to offer any more details, so it's unknown whether Comcast was simply referring to longstanding rumors, or if the claims were made based on some other knowledge.

Apple TV


The current Apple TV hasn't been updated in two years, and numerous rumors have suggested that the company is working on an update that could be unveiled as soon as this month. While the current Apple TV has been continuously expanded with new content options, it's been suggested that Apple may be considering partnerships with cable providers themselves to provide live and on-demand content to existing subscribers.

As for Comcast, America's largest cable provider has also been rumored to be in talks with Apple regarding potential future partnerships. Specifically, it's been said that Apple is interested in bypassing Web congestion on Comcast's infrastructure to user's homes, which would allow Apple to provide faster and more reliable performance to users watching streaming video content.

Apple was also said to be in talks with Time Warner for a potential partnership, and Comcast announced in February that it hopes to purchase Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at $45.2 billion. Comcast's efforts face serious federal scrutiny, however, as the two companies are the largest cable providers in the U.S.
post #2 of 51
Idiots! (Headslap!)

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post #3 of 51
"We need more of a monopoly because all of these internet services (who have to come begging to us for non-throttled bandwidth) might someday get around our monopoly agreements with the content providers". See?
post #4 of 51
Perhaps Comcast might just be echoing rumors.

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post #5 of 51

I've been pulling for this for a while.  Again, people wanting a la carte services might as well concede to the fact it wont happen for a decade.  Again- the biggest factor is sports programming and their exclusive deals with TNT, Fox Sports, TBS, amongst the networks as well.  Could those services sell individually?  I guess- but also very very unlikely seeing as they package their popular stations and force the cable companies to purchase their spare and less-watched stations as a bundle.

 

If the next Apple TV partners with a handful of companies to provide the UI for their services- I would likely switch from AT&T U-verse to one of their services if the UI & search function was compelling enough.

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post #6 of 51

The FCC needs to break up these content agreements as anticompetitive. We should be able to get Television content from the provider of our choice regardless of who owns the last mile. 

post #7 of 51
Originally Posted by GQB View Post
"We need more of a monopoly because all of these internet services (who have to come begging to us for non-throttled bandwidth) might someday get around our monopoly agreements with the content providers". See?

 

Apple will be sued for trying to create a monopoly and their statement here will be cited as proof.

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #8 of 51

I am all for this deal. I could care less about cable monopolies, they are already monopolies.

 

All that I want as part of the deal is for the complete separation of the ISP business from the cable business. The ISP should own the physical cabling and the cable company can purchase bandwidth from the ISP.

 

Without this all of this is a sad and not funny joke. Isn't it interesting that all of the "competition" that these cable jokers pointed to are in large part dependent on the cable company's ISP services? So, in other words their competition is dependent on their good graces. Yeah, that always works well.

 

Cable and ISP should be broken up. It is a huge conflict of interest.

post #9 of 51
Maybe Apple will start a subscription service like Amazin or Netflix?
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post
 

I've been pulling for this for a while.  Again, people wanting a la carte services might as well concede to the fact it wont happen for a decade.  Again- the biggest factor is sports programming and their exclusive deals with TNT, Fox Sports, TBS, amongst the networks as well.  Could those services sell individually?  I guess- but also very very unlikely seeing as they package their popular stations and force the cable companies to purchase their spare and less-watched stations as a bundle.

 

If the next Apple TV partners with a handful of companies to provide the UI for their services- I would likely switch from AT&T U-verse to one of their services if the UI & search function was compelling enough.

 

Apple shouldn't have to partner with U-verse. They should be able to compete with them and kick their ass. It would be great to hand pick my channel lineup, but right now I want to be able to pick my provider. Choosing between U-verse, Time Warner, Dish, and DirecTV is not what I have in mind. 

post #11 of 51

Maybe Apple has an agreement of exclusivity with Comcast like it did with AT&T back in 2006/2007

post #12 of 51

To take "exploration" from the actually quote, and turn it into "development" in the headline is a RIDICULOUS stretch.

post #13 of 51

If you ask me, Comcast desperately needs more competition...  

post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post
 

The FCC needs to break up these content agreements as anticompetitive. We should be able to get Television content from the provider of our choice regardless of who owns the last mile. 

We should be able to buy content from the content creators. The best scenario is to have a retailer middle man, like Apple, for the entire thing.

 

Works for iTunes.

 

Wonder how successful it would be if you could watch a show LIVE when it Airs, but still had to pay per episode (you then own the episode thereafter as well). I think very.

 

I think $0.99 for a 30 min segment with ads, and $1.99 for a 60 min segment with ads, to Watch LIVE and own the content Ad-free on demand afterward would be great. Certainly not cheap if you watch too much TV...but for my limited habits of consuming live TV it would be great.

 

Let's say I watch a weekly series with 60 min episodes, that runs 24 episodes over the course of 6 months.

 

I pay $1.99 per week to watch each episode with Ads, and then own it as part of my iTunes account for on demand streaming.

 

At the end of 6 months, I've paid roughly $48 to watch Live and Own a full season. Over 6 months, not bad if you ask me. Not bad at all. More expensive than a current Season Pass on iTunes, but with added value.

post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post

I am all for this deal. I could care less about cable monopolies, they are already monopolies.

All that I want as part of the deal is for the complete separation of the ISP business from the cable business. The ISP should own the physical cabling and the cable company can purchase bandwidth from the ISP.

Without this all of this is a sad and not funny joke. Isn't it interesting that all of the "competition" that these cable jokers pointed to are in large part dependent on the cable company's ISP services? So, in other words their competition is dependent on their good graces. Yeah, that always works well.

Cable and ISP should be broken up. It is a huge conflict of interest.

Nobody's gonna build a new network just for internet. The cost is astronomical, and it would take decades if not centuries to recover the cost.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-lack-internet-competition-starting-an-isp-is-really-hard/?kw=100k_pvs&search=100k_pvs
Edited by dasanman69 - 4/8/14 at 10:27am
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post #16 of 51
As long as this agreement somehow allows me to get HBO Go without cable TV, then maybe I don't care. Personally I think local municipalities should provide internet service or at least run the fibre and lease it to ISPs. This market is naturally a monopoly. Having at least some local control is really the only thing you can do.
post #17 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

As long as this agreement somehow allows me to get HBO Go without cable TV, then maybe I don't care. Personally I think local municipalities should provide internet service or at least run the fibre and lease it to ISPs. This market is naturally a monopoly. Having at least some local control is really the only thing you can do.

That's called 'unbundling' the network. The telcos were forced to allow other companies on their network. Many businesses get their DSL from Covad over the local telco's network. Don't see why the same couldn't be done with a incumbent cable company.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #18 of 51
Great argument against merger is Comcast continuing fight to neuter tech for viewers will that much more effective with merger.
post #19 of 51

And I

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Nobody's gonna build a new network just for internet. The cost is astronomical, and it would take decades if not centuries to recover the cost.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-lack-internet-competition-starting-an-isp-is-really-hard/?kw=100k_pvs&search=100k_pvs

 

I never proposed that anyone should. What I said was that the current Cable/ISP company should be split into two different companies. The ISP company would get control of the existing network and the cable company would be allowed to  buy bandwdith on that existing network from the ISP.

 

This would allow the cable companies to remain content providers, and would also allow the ISP companies to become dumb pipe providers.

 

Nobody needs to build anything new at all and the conflict of interest inherent in cable companies controlling the conduits, ISP, for their competition is removed.

post #20 of 51

It's ironic.

 

I get live Time Warner cable on every device that I have except for one, the Apple TV.

 

I can watch live Time Warner cable tv on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Macs, but not on Apple TV.

post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post
 

 

Apple shouldn't have to partner with U-verse. They should be able to compete with them and kick their ass. It would be great to hand pick my channel lineup, but right now I want to be able to pick my provider. Choosing between U-verse, Time Warner, Dish, and DirecTV is not what I have in mind. 

Please expand.  If picking between U-verse, time warner, fios, dish, directtv, cox, etc. isnt what you have in mind- then what did you mean by you want to be able to pick your provider?

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post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

It's ironic.

 

I get live Time Warner cable on every device that I have except for one, the Apple TV.

 

I can watch live Time Warner cable tv on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Macs, but not on Apple TV.

And you can get it on Roku.  So instead of using a cable box- you can just hook one of those up to the TV.  I'd love that accessibility with the Apple TV if they had a compelling search function and attractive UI.

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post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post
 

I am all for this deal. I could care less about cable monopolies, they are already monopolies.

 

Cable and ISP should be broken up. It is a huge conflict of interest.

 

And the "Contradiction of the Year Award goes to…"

post #24 of 51
My concern with al a carte programming would be the networks or studios charging more than what a cable bill now entails. These companies are not going to lose money, so the subscriptions may add up to more than the existing bills if you subscribe to more than a few channels or shows. Not to mention any caps on data from the ISPs.
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post
 

And you can get it on Roku.  So instead of using a cable box- you can just hook one of those up to the TV.  I'd love that accessibility with the Apple TV if they had a compelling search function and attractive UI.

 

At the moment though, the quality of the picture on the cable box is much better than the internet live tv signal that they're sending out. 

 

When I was watching Game of Thrones live the other night, I watched it on my cable box, because it looks much better than when streaming to a device.

 

They might be limiting the bandwidth intentionally, but they need to match the bandwidth and quality of the cable box picture if they want to make internet streaming on different devices a compelling option.

post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

At the moment though, the quality of the picture on the cable box is much better than the internet live tv signal that they're sending out. 

 

When I was watching Game of Thrones live the other night, I watched it on my cable box, because it looks much better than when streaming to a device.

 

They might be limiting the bandwidth intentionally, but they need to match the bandwidth and quality of the cable box picture if they want to make internet streaming on different devices a compelling option.

Just sit further away, then it won't matter :lol:

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post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Personally I think local municipalities should provide internet service or at least run the fibre and lease it to ISPs. 

Essentially the cities do own the fiber in the street even though they didn't install it. The cable company pays a license fee to have an exclusive provider agreement. The contracts are usually really long term to make sure the provider can recoup their investment of running the fiber in the first place. Obviously not every municipality could afford to build a multi-million dollar data center, which is what they would have to do if they wanted to allow multiple carriers to share the same fiber. It is not just the last mile. There is a lot more infrastructure required than just fiber in the street. Sure another company could pull more fiber through the conduit, but the exclusivity agreement prevents that from happening in most cases.

 

AT&T in many cases already had leases on pole and underground going back to the when they were just POT and DSL so they can compete with the cable providers in the same neighborhoods.

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post #28 of 51
Where's the Apple TV 4?
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
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Where's the new Apple TV?
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post #29 of 51
Self-serving manipulation by Comcast.

Just like when Microsoft wants to brag about Windows' marketshare, they call the Mac a "rounding error," but when Microsoft needed to defend itself against allegations of abusing monopoly power (back in 1998-2001, when there was serious discussion about breaking up MSFT), it cited the Mac as evidence that there was "competition."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #30 of 51
Personally, I'm against any attempts to prevent mergers in this space (same with cell service carriers), but I'm also completely against subsidies and other such anti-competitive protections.

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post #31 of 51
The Cable/Sat companies and the content providers have been giving each other reach around's for far to long.
post #32 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Nobody's gonna build a new network just for internet. The cost is astronomical, and it would take decades if not centuries to recover the cost.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-lack-internet-competition-starting-an-isp-is-really-hard/?kw=100k_pvs&search=100k_pvs

 

Didn't the wrestling people just create a network just for the internet?

post #33 of 51
Buy the government. They won't mid. Then Apple can do what ever it likes just like the oil industry. Fracking aye.
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post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

Didn't the wrestling people just create a network just for the internet?

I don't mean a TV network, I mean a cable network. Putting up new cables to deliver content, TV, phone, and internet.
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post #35 of 51
These guys are simply using Apple as DoJ bait.

Once (or if) the DoJ approves the deal, they'll dump the Apple 'set-top box' idea like a hot potato.
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

 

Apple shouldn't have to partner with U-verse. They should be able to compete with them and kick their ass. It would be great to hand pick my channel lineup, but right now I want to be able to pick my provider. Choosing between U-verse, Time Warner, Dish, and DirecTV is not what I have in mind. 
Please expand.  If picking between U-verse, time warner, fios, dish, directtv, cox, etc. isnt what you have in mind- then what did you mean by you want to be able to pick your provider?

I want to be able to get a tv package from some internet based service of my choosing. If Apple offered a service I liked I would go with them and time warner would just get my data business like they do now. I don't have tv service. We stream stuff when we want it, but I would prefer to stream a service instead of dozens of sites and Apple TV. They best example is voice service. I use a cable modem and have vonage. No need to get voice service from the last mile losers. I get good rates, compelling services, and even took my service to Europe for a couple years. This is what I want for tv content. If it were not for these content agreements, the last mile guys would be in trouble as innovators would eat their lunch. Even the disorganized mess I have is in a sense competing as it is good enough to keep me off of cable/sat/fiber providers content.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

 

When I was watching Game of Thrones live the other night,

 

 

Game of Thrones is live? Does this officially make it the first snuff serial?

post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

We should be able to buy content from the content creators. The best scenario is to have a retailer middle man, like Apple, for the entire thing.

Works for iTunes.

Wonder how successful it would be if you could watch a show LIVE when it Airs, but still had to pay per episode (you then own the episode thereafter as well). I think very.

I think $0.99 for a 30 min segment with ads, and $1.99 for a 60 min segment with ads, to Watch LIVE and own the content Ad-free on demand afterward would be great. Certainly not cheap if you watch too much TV...but for my limited habits of consuming live TV it would be great.

Let's say I watch a weekly series with 60 min episodes, that runs 24 episodes over the course of 6 months.

I pay $1.99 per week to watch each episode with Ads, and then own it as part of my iTunes account for on demand streaming.

At the end of 6 months, I've paid roughly $48 to watch Live and Own a full season. Over 6 months, not bad if you ask me. Not bad at all. More expensive than a current Season Pass on iTunes, but with added value.
That's how the iTunes TV and movies currently work, and they show ad-free. Only difference is they upload the day after. Big deal I say. Screw Ads, I get enough of them on hulu+. And now the paid deal is no better than live TV ads-wise. Wasn't like that 12 mos. ago.
post #39 of 51
Once again this brings up the thought of an Apple branded cable stb. Ugh I really hope that's not the case. I am one of the small but slowing growing minority groups that use an Apple TV as my only source of TV content. iTunes, Hulu and netflix. We have antenna but have yet to use it. We don't watch sports or local news and our bill ( yes we still rely on cable company for data only) is about $100 less every month. We will not go back to the subscription cable model again. It's a rip-off and I really wish more people took the plunge too.
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

I want to be able to get a tv package from some internet based service of my choosing. If Apple offered a service I liked I would go with them and time warner would just get my data business like they do now. I don't have tv service. We stream stuff when we want it, but I would prefer to stream a service instead of dozens of sites and Apple TV. They best example is voice service. I use a cable modem and have vonage. No need to get voice service from the last mile losers. I get good rates, compelling services, and even took my service to Europe for a couple years. This is what I want for tv content. If it were not for these content agreements, the last mile guys would be in trouble as innovators would eat their lunch. Even the disorganized mess I have is in a sense competing as it is good enough to keep me off of cable/sat/fiber providers content.

That's called biting the hand that feeds you. The last mile guys getting in trouble would mean you're in trouble as well, because you're service would eventually decline.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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