Comcast May Bring Faster Streaming To Apple Set-Top Boxes
March 24, 2014

Comcast May Bring Faster Streaming To Apple Set-Top Boxes

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Apple is reportedly in talks with cable provider Comcast to provide cable-quality streaming to an Apple-branded set-top box that will provide programming on demand to consumers.

If the two companies are able to reach a deal, Comcast will beef up its streaming for customers with Apple set-top boxes that would provide content at levels seen on cable, not streamed over the Internet, The Wall Street Journal reports.

This is being called the "last mile," which is the cabling between an exchange and customer's home, according to The Verge.

"This potential deal would mean Apple's streaming service would be able to avoid congestion caused by typical internet traffic, but The Wall Street Journal's sources say the companies aren't yet close to an agreement. Comcast would have to invest heavily in technology to support Apple's desires, and both companies reportedly disagree on who would retain customer information, and whether Apple is given a share of Comcast's monthly customer subscription fees," the Verge's Rich McCormick wrote.

Apple has had several discussions to ramp up service for an upcoming set-top box for at least the past year. Before the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner closed, Apple was reportedly close to a deal with Time Warner.

A deal with Comcast, the largest cable operator in the US, establishes a new level of collaboration between Internet service providers and content providers.

"The discussions between the world's most valuable company and the nation's largest cable provider are still in early stages and many hurdles remain. But the deal, if sealed, would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Apple is concerned about its forthcoming set-top box device now that Apple TV is available and plans for the new box to replace preexisting cable boxes, according to The Information.

"The new box under development would blend live TV listings with apps and Web video, with a big focus on gaming, these people said. One person involved with the Apple product says the company hopes to attract more iPhone and iPad game developers to make their games work with the new box so that people can play them on their TV screen, using iPhones and iPads as controllers. Some games already are available that way through the current Apple TV box," the Information's Jessica E. Lessin and Amir Efrati wrote.

Such collaboration between cable and Internet service providers with content providers sets rulings such as net neutrality back, where content providers are willing to pay for the assurance that consumers get faster speeds -- in turn the consumers are likely to pay a higher price for such streaming service. A recent deal between Comcast and Netflix was the first in a long time to ensure faster streaming speeds for specific services. It is possible that other content providers will look to make deals with Internet service providers to make streaming content faster.