Apple is in talks with Comcast about using the cable provider’s network for a streaming TV service to be integrated in a future version of the Apple TV, reports The Wall Street Journal. According to the report, Apple’s set top-box would be able to access Comcast’s wide variety of channels for a monthly subscription, with the Apple TV receiving “special treatment” from Comcast when connected to its cable network to ensure that it would bypass congestion on the Internet for optimal streaming.
Apple’s intention is to allow users to stream live and on-demand TV programming and digital-video recordings stored in the “cloud,” effectively taking the place of a traditional cable set-top box.
…Under the plan Apple proposed to Comcast, Apple’s video streams would be treated as a “managed service” traveling in Internet protocol format—similar to cable video-on-demand or phone service. Those services travel on a special portion of the cable pipe that is separate from the more congested portion reserved for public Internet access.
People familiar with the matter said that while Apple would like a separate “flow” for its video traffic, it isn’t asking for its traffic to be prioritized over other Internet-based services.
The report also adds that the discussions between Apple and Comcast are still in early discussion, and that Apple’s ultimate goal would be to ensure that Apple TV users receive the same quality that Comcast’s regular set-top TV boxes receive. Apple has proposed to Comcast that users would sign onto the new device using an existing or new Apple ID, as well as a cut of the monthly subscriptions paid by customers.
Apple is expected to launch a new Apple TV sometime in the near future, with some rumors pointing to Apple working on a refined set-top box with expanded functionality that may include gaming and cable box-like capabilities. The move would also come as Comcast announced the acquisition of Time Warner Cable in February, which Apple was reported to be in talks with for quite some time to provide TV shows and other media.
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