Apple discussing new streaming set-top box with Comcast - report

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2014
Apple is reportedly planning to release a new streaming set-top box, and is in talks with cable provider Comcast on a potential deal that would bypass Web congestion and allow faster and more reliable performance for users.

Apple TV


Talks between the two companies are said to be in the early stages, according to The Wall Street Journal. Apple is reportedly looking to have its own traffic separated from general Internet traffic over the "last mile" of connectivity, which represents the connection between Comcast and the end user's home.

During peak usage hours, when most people are home and accessing the Internet, connections can become considerably slow. This has a detrimental effect on streaming video services, like Apple's iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or others.

"Apple's goal would be to ensure users don't see hiccups in the service or buffering that can take place while streaming Web video, making its video the same quality as Comcast's TV transmissions to normal set-top boxes," the report said.

Details of the alleged talks between the two companies would seem to suggest that the discussions are similar to those that were held between Comcast and Netflix. In February, it was revealed that Netflix had cut a deal with Comcast to boost its connection speeds -- an agreement that angered proponents of net neutrality, or the belief that all services on the Internet should be treated equally.

But Apple's desires go even further, as the company's interests would reportedly require Comcast to make "significant investments in network equipment and other back-office technology." Sources familiar with the talks indicated to the Journal that a deal between the two parties is not close.


Camera-equipped Apple TV concept via Brightcove.


Previously, Apple was said to be in ongoing talks with Time Warner Cable for a partnership centered around a new set-top streaming box that would act as a cable box, delivering live and on-demand content to Time Warner customers through IP TV. Reports have suggested that Apple is looking to cut deals with cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner directly, rather than dealing with content owners such as ESPN and HBO in a bid to bypass cable providers.

But any alleged talks between Time Warner and Apple may have hit a stumbling block when it was announced in February that Comcast intends to purchase the competing cable provider. Such an arrangement is almost certain to draw federal scrutiny and must still receive government approval before a merger would occur.

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports claiming that an Apple TV update may be unveiled in the coming months. According to Bloomberg, the device could be unveiled as soon as April, but may not launch until this fall. A months-long wait between introduction and launch would likely mean a major shift for the platform, and potentially new opportunities for developers to create software.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    New article titles for the analysts: "Apple Doesn't Care About Net Neutrality"

    "Apple Believes Their Data is Better Than Everyone Else's"
  • Reply 2 of 34
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post



    New article titles for the analysts: "Apple Doesn't Care About Net Neutrality"



    "Apple Believes Their Data is Better Than Everyone Else's"

    I believe your aggression should be towards Comcast for deciding who's and which data takes priority in the bandwidth between Comcast and their subscriber.

  • Reply 3 of 34

    I wish Apple would buy into one of the Sat. TV companies and just bypass the cable companies altogether!

     

    That's probably an overly simplistic solution. But do something to shake the cable companies tree! :)

     

    Best.

  • Reply 4 of 34
    I believe your aggression should be towards Comcast for deciding who's and which data takes priority in the bandwidth between Comcast and their subscriber.
    I have no aggression. I'm pontificating about what the headlines will be if this were to happen.
  • Reply 5 of 34

    I too finally cracked it!



    It was an amazing experience to realize what the late Mr. Steve Jobs meant on "I finally cracked it".



    I have seen what he meant about the future of TV, aka Apple TV, and how it will revolutionize the entire industry and user experience, just like what iPhone did for the mobile phone industry.



    My next steps would research on whether the entire idea(s), mechanisms, and functionalities are patented, if not, I would have to do so, and fast.



    All I can say now, it's like iPhone all the puzzle are out there, it's just who have the ability to put them together and bring out the best user experience.

  • Reply 6 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

     

    I believe your aggression should be towards Comcast for deciding who's and which data takes priority in the bandwidth between Comcast and their subscriber.


     

    I believe he just left off the /s tag.

  • Reply 7 of 34
    I would like the next Apple TV to have pass through HDMI. So AppleTV content can display while watching cable, DirecTV or a blueray movie. This could work like an overlay or quick switch from a notification. It works on the iPhone and iPad while watching a movie.
  • Reply 8 of 34

    Here we go again...

    AT&T bought Cingular and got iPhone. Verizon got left behind...

    Comcast will buy TimeWarner cable and get iTV. Will Verizon get left behind again?

     

    Actually Comcast almost has to do this because Verizon's purchase of Intel's digital TV platform.



    The start of something big? Time will tell.

  • Reply 9 of 34

    Ah, good point. I was thinking the same. Of course, that could have all been coincidence. Mmyes?

  • Reply 10 of 34
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    It sucks when you have to make a deal with Comcrap.

    And besides any profit on the box, where is the pot of gold for Apple at the end of this rainbow?
  • Reply 11 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msantti View Post

    It sucks when you have to make a deal with Comcrap.

    And besides any profit on the box, where is the pot of gold for Apple at the end of this rainbow?

    People also thought that it sucked when Apple made a deal with ATT.

     

    Relax. This is how it starts. I think it'll be huge (if it comes to pass).

  • Reply 12 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    Verizon FiOS is never mentioned in these sort of deals Netflix and maybe Apple make with Comcast. I pay for an extra fast level with FiOS 75/50 and have no issues at all but I wonder if FiOS generally less throttled or is it I am just OK due to higher level speed levels. Anyone with standard FiOS here getting bad Netflix and iTines streaming?
  • Reply 13 of 34
  • Reply 14 of 34
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    well, that's it. if the next ATV requires a pay-tv service to work. I'm out. We cut our cable service off over a year ago an I don't miss that $120/mo cable bill one bit. (we get over-air, Hulu, Netflix on the ATV). I've been waiting to upgrade my Gen 2 ATV (the first "hockey puck" 720p) since what seems like forever and a day and if this is the future of ATV, i don't want any part of it. If this happens, it can only mean that Apple really wanted to get this new device on the market, but couldn't do it without brown-nosing big-media. Net-neutrality is doomed!
  • Reply 15 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post



    well, that's it. if the next ATV requires a pay-tv service to work. I'm out. We cut our cable service off over a year ago an I don't miss that $120/mo cable bill one bit. (we get over-air, Hulu, Netflix on the ATV). I've been waiting to upgrade my Gen 2 ATV (the first "hockey puck" 720p) since what seems like forever and a day and if this is the future of ATV, i don't want any part of it. If this happens, it can only mean that Apple really wanted to get this new device on the market, but couldn't do it without brown-nosing big-media. Net-neutrality is doomed!

    Why do you assume it'll be either/or? I have little doubt that Apple will come up with a version of it to retail directly to consumers who do not subscribe to cable.

     

    Surely, you have an internet connection? And, if in the US, chances are quite high that you're getting it via cable?

  • Reply 16 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,267member
    Best of luck to Comcast in figuring out a way to sneak around the agreement they made with the FTC to avoid anti-trust issues in their purchase of NBC/Universal.
    http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f300600/300662.pdf

    If they do find a way that meets the court's approval then good luck to Apple in keeping subscriber data (what's been viewed, for how long, when, etc) all to themselves and not sharing it with Comcast.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dlscharlau View Post



    I would like the next Apple TV to have pass through HDMI. So AppleTV content can display while watching cable, DirecTV or a blueray movie. This could work like an overlay or quick switch from a notification. It works on the iPhone and iPad while watching a movie.

    I like that idea. I would like the Apple TV interface to come right up first when I switch on my TV.

  • Reply 18 of 34
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    Why do you assume it'll be either/or? I have little doubt that Apple will come up with a version of it to retail directly to consumers who do not subscribe to cable.

     

    Surely, you have an internet connection? And, if in the US, chances are quite high that you're getting it via cable?


    look at the example of HBO Go app and ESPN app.  Those apps require a cable sub. to work.  With this rumored deal between Netflix and Comcast, who's to say Netflix will not start requiring a cable sub. to access content on ATV?  With Comcast in rumored talks to buy NBC/Universal (who owns Hulu+)...who's to say if that deal goes through, Hulu might require a Cable sub to work on the ATV.  and so on and so forth.  I'm sure Apple will release a device that does work without a cable sub., but who's to say all those app that are currently sub-free aren't going to change their terms of service?

     

    I do get my internet though cable, however to use apps that require a cable sub...you must have a TV subscription to use said apps currently.  not just a data subscription.

  • Reply 19 of 34
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 222member

    This actually makes a lot of sense when I hear about what a turd the X1 Platform has turned out to be.

  • Reply 20 of 34
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

     

    look at the example of HBO Go app and ESPN app.  Those apps require a cable sub. to work.  With this rumored deal between Netflix and Comcast, who's to say Netflix will not start requiring a cable sub. to access content on ATV?  With Comcast in rumored talks to buy NBC/Universal (who owns Hulu+)...who's to say if that deal goes through, Hulu might require a Cable sub to work on the ATV.  and so on and so forth.  I'm sure Apple will release a device that does work without a cable sub., but who's to say all those app that are currently sub-free aren't going to change their terms of service?

     

    I do get my internet though cable, however to use apps that require a cable sub...you must have a TV subscription to use said apps currently.  not just a data subscription.


    I find it odd that you'd blame Apple for something the content providers do to collude with the distributors.

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