Apple reportedly discussing the possibility of a TV streaming service with Comcast


The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is now in talks with Comcast about the possibility of a collaborative television streaming service. The plan, according to the report, is for Comcast to provide preferential streaming treatment to an Apple-built set-top box like the existing Apple TV.

The service would allow subscribers to stream live TV shows as well as on-demand content provided by Comcast. The agreement between the two companies would allow Apple’s box to continue streaming smoothly even when other connections were bogged down by high traffic and bypass bandwidth issues.

According to the Journal, the two companies are not yet close to a finalized decision, since the plan would require a significant upgrade to Comcast’s infrastructure to maintain the reliability Apple demands (a fact any Comcast subscriber will attest to). Apple also needs to get the rights to stream the content in question.

Apple has been looking to jump into the television market for some time. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said that he had “cracked it” in regard to building a television set, a move Comcast competitor Time Warner Cable’s CEO said in 2012 he would like to see the company pursue. More recently, the company promoted its current Apple TV device from “hobby” to a full product line in preparation of a rumored update in the works.

Apple was previously in talks with content providers—including Time Warner—about a system similar to what the WSJ is describing now. Based on the current status of the talks with Comcast, it’s not likely we’ll be seeing this system rolling out any time soon. Unfortunately, given how similar talks have broken down in the past, this Comcast agreement may also fall apart before it ever gets off the ground.

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  1. OneOkami (@OneOkami) - 9 years ago

    I get the impression Apple’s original vision for a TV set has crumbled after hitting a barrier/reality of an industry that refuses to change appropriately to make it a reality. Personally, my interest in an Apple TV stemmed largely from the ideal of paying only for the content I want when I want it. I don’t think big names in TV want me to be able to do that they probably have enough leverage to ensure someone like Apple can’t strike deals for content to make such a thing a reality. I really think that’s a big the reason progress on the TV seems to have sputtered.

    As I’ve said on related articles in the past, I am NOT interested in content services which would require me to have a cable subscription (or even any kinda of TV service with a cable company) so when I read something like Apple exploring a TV service “with Comcast”, it’s just disappointing and deflating. An Apple taxed television set that doesn’t truly revolutionize the way I consume content in a way that I’d want would be a very tough sell. The same goes for a new generation set top box.


    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      >>Apple’s original vision for a TV set

      You mean the one made up by the media?

      Dead on about everything else, though. Either a la carte or don’t expect me to ever use the service.

      • OneOkami (@OneOkami) - 9 years ago

        There have been several media reports of content negotiations falling through either because of providers refusing the open the door, or creators not willing to deal for fear of upsetting their relationships with providers. I personally feel inclined to believe when there’s so much smoke regarding a topic, it’s probably for a reason.

        But I’m also basing my impression on what I personally believe is part of how Apple wanted to revolutionize TV, which is to revolutionize the way TV content is consumed, just like they used the iPod to help drive a revolution in the way music was consumed. The numerous media reports on stiff content negotiations seem to support that.

  2. Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

    Sure hope not. Comcast is the EA (and the Google/Samsung/etc.) of telecoms. Hope people enjoy channels for which they’re paying being removed from the Apple TV at any time for any reason.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      Interesting comment. I have Comcast. I don’t have a TV scubcription, but then again we don’t watch more than 1% of the crap that’s on TV. We have internet-only, and AppleTV. We’re pretty happy with it. The more ala carte content they offer, the better, and it could definitely use some more. I should also be able to subscribe to Disney and ABCGo with having a cable subscription.

      Oh and right now under my promotion I pay $29 a month for 50 Mbps / 10 Mbps. So, where exactly am I going wrong with Comcast? Maybe I misunderstood your post.

      You know as well as I do that Apple wants full-blown ala carte content for networks, both Live and On-Demand. We also know its going to fall short of their wishes, unless the content is overpriced. So, its going to happen….but the first iteration is not going to be the most consumer friendly.

      • weakguy - 9 years ago

        $29 a month for 50 Mbps / 10 Mbps!! And I’m paying 5 bucks more for 15 Mbps / 1 Mbps. We really need more competition in Texas…

      • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

        >>So, where exactly am I going wrong with Comcast?

        You read your ToS, right? Throttled for doing anything they specifically don’t want you to do, capped at 150 gigs per month.

      • Jason Piebes - 9 years ago

        If you don’t understand where you went wrong with a Comcast subscription then you obviously haven’t been using their service one bit to browse the internet. Just do a quick search for Comcast customer service… Then do a quick search on where the US ranks in worldwide broadband bandwidth availability. And lastly, do a search on Comcast’s annual financials. Quick summary of what you’ll find: Ranked the WORST customer service of any corporation in the US, we are 33rd in average bandwidth across the world, and they rake in the dough hand over fist while screwing customers out of $80/mo for sh!t bandwidth.

        You may be happy and content because you haven’t had an issue personally and you’re still in the honeymoon phase with a 1 year reduced monthly subscription… But doesn’t that represent the worst in consumerism? You’re content until you have a problem in spite of how the company treats other customers. Try stopping by one of their ‘support’ offices for a real experience.

        You really shouldn’t be happy with a paltry 50 down and you should be outraged at only 10 up! The damn internet was invented in the US and yet 32 other countries have better service. Pathetic and criminal especially when they took advantage of tax subsidies with a promise to build out access the country.

  3. o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

    I just want to point out that the remote concept shown here is one of the stupidest ideas ever conceived. You have to have tactile feedback when you are using a device to control another device (the one in which you are looking at) which doesn’t have an on-screen curser to guide you. Simply put, Apple has never even considered the idea of a touchscreen being used as a remote control.

    • rettun1 - 9 years ago

      “Simply put, Apple has never even considered the idea of a touchscreen being used as a remote control.”

    • Jimmy Bagley - 9 years ago

      you mean other than the Apple TV remote they currently offer in the App Store now for both the iPhone and iPad????

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      Every single remote control concept besides the $19 version shipping with it right now is a stupid idea. For advanced control, there is iOS remote app, and even Logitech Harmony, and others. No one, repeat, NO ONE, wants Apple to go to lengths to put the best remote control possible in the box. I don’t ever use the remote Apple includes because regardless of how good or bad it might be…..I don’t want another remote.

      I cannot stand the people that think Apple should basically bundle an iPod touch with the AppleTV for remote control purposes. BUY A @#$%ing iPHONE ALREADY.

  4. ronie678 - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on Ronak's Apple iNews.

  5. chalty669 - 9 years ago

    I think everyone is looking at this in the wrong way. What I imagine is something new. Sure there will be apps and live streaming. The thing is thats how things are done now anyways. Imagine if Apple swayed you so called cable cutters into something new and exciting. Comcast and Time Warner combined own many of the large companies, Warner Brothers and Universal come to mind. Imagine that you didn’t have to pay for what you use “a la cart”. Imagine that anything ever made was stored on Apple’s new servers. Imagine Apple making a deal with Comcast, Time Warner to subsidize a very expensive Apple cable box. This would lure many back to the cable companies. It would also ensure that Apple would control the experience of the living room. Imagine me, paying the same amount for cable that I usually do. Except now I can play anything I ever could think of without renting it. Man I haven’t seen the goonies in a while, “search goonies””play”. Netflix is only $8 a month and they have to make deals to get movies from Warner Brothers and Universal. Apple would already be in the same room as the owners of those companies. I would gladly even sign a two year contract to get this subsidized, high end Apple TV set top box.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      Apple is not looking to lure subscribers back to cable. I can promise you that. They are looking to encourage people following the cord-cutting path to spend more in a different way, and share that wealth with telecoms so as not to get blackballed in the arena.

      Apple knows everyone can make more money with ala carte, and the consumer will always be happy as long as they are only paying for what they want, when they want it. But such is a change, and telecoms know they are already walking a fine line…dramatic change that is not profitable could bankrupt them. SO, we go round and round.

      • chalty669 - 9 years ago

        With the success of netflix, I think it shows how consumers are willing to pay a subscription for the content they want. What if apple went to comcast and said we will store all the content you have on our servers as long as with your cable subcription, our customers get to watch whatever they want whenever they want. Then part of the deal would be to subsidize apples $$$ cable box. The majority of apples money comes from the iphone.. Not because everyone is going out and spending $650 on one. It’s because Apple is guaranteed $650 on every phone sold regardless if the consumer has the dough or not. After all, Apple has started a new trend recently. A trend where their software is free to anyone which has purchased their hardware. It started with iLife, then iOS, then iWork, and now OSX. They are still primarily a hardware company with their own really good software.

  6. D. Maki (@Mdolla650) - 9 years ago

    While I can see why people hate Comcast in my area where my house is located I literally can only have Comcast. There is no other option. So for me I really hope this happens. As my household has there cable service, in my room I don’t have a cable box I pretty much rely on Hulu. So I really want this to come to happen.

  7. MisterDTV - 9 years ago

    Some people dream…let’s hope it is not a nightmare!

  8. stevenwalker846 - 9 years ago

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