According to The Wall Street Journal Apple is in talks with Comcast, US’ largest cable provider, for a streaming TV service that’ll be available in future versions of the Apple TV.
Apple plans to offer live and on-demand streams of TV channels over the internet in the future, and this partnership would give the company access to Comcast’s network of channels.
In addition to this, the partnership would let Apple deliver the streams over special cables on Comcast’s network, such that it bypasses “congestion on the Web.” This is particularly important as Apple wants to ensure that the quality of the streaming video is as good as traditional TV networks, and that customers don’t have to wait for the video to buffer.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
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.
Apple has proposed that users would sign on to the new device using Apple login IDs, and it is interested in controlling customer data, the people familiar with the matter said. Apple also has asked for a cut of the monthly subscription fees paid by customers, these people said.
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.
WSJ notes that Comcast and Apple’s discussions are in early stages, and the two companies aren’t close to an agreement. The deal would require Comcast to significantly invest and improve its network, so that the service quality is up to Apple’s standards.
Apart from content, Apple’s also working on improving the software on the Apple TV. The updated version of the set top box will reportedly feature a “dramatically overhauled interface and a big emphasis on gaming” according to The Information. Apple already has a number of partners for manufacturing MFi Game Controllers for iPhone and iPad, and it would make sense to extend compatibility of the same controllers to the Apple TV too.
While Apple has long been rumored to release a full-fledged television, recent reports suggest that the company has shifted focus to wearables.
Let us know what you think about the Apple TV replacing Comcast’s set-top box in your drawing room.