Apple is reportedly planning to release a new streaming set-top box and is said to be in talks with cable provider Comcast on a potential deal that may bypass Web congestion and allow faster and more reliable performance for users. According to The Wall Street Journal talks between the two companies are said to be in the early stages. 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.
When most people are home and accessing the Internet during peak usage hours, connections can become considerably slow. This has a detrimental effect on streaming video services, like Apple’s iTunes, Netflix, Hulu or others. The report mentioned the following:
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.
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 who are familiar with the talks indicated to the WSJ that a deal between the two parties isn’t close. 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.
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. The arrangement is almost certain to draw federal scrutiny and must still receive government approval before a merger would occur.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Source: The Wall Street Journal