Apple in talks with Comcast for streaming TV service (Report)

By Daniel S Levine,

In what could be a major step towards internet TV going mainstream if the deal closes, Comcast and Apple are reportedly in talks about launching a streaming television service. Part of the deal would give Apple preferential treatment to bypass web traffic.

Sources for the Wall Street Journal said that the negotiations are in the very early stages and nothing is close to being signed.

Apple hopes to give subscribers access to live TV, on-demand programs and DVR recordings stored on a “cloud.” This would effectively make the traditional cable box obsolete. And while Apple could just introduce a set-top device without a major cable provider, one is necessary if Apple hopes to have its traffic separated from public Internet traffic, The WSJ’s sources said.

The most valuable company in the world is hoping that the deal with Comcast would eliminate buffering time, which can happen while streaming web video. Apple wants its streaming service to work as well as regular Comcast TV transmissions.

Last month, Netflix struck a similar deal with Comcast, which would allow for a higher volume of traffic on the site. Although Netflix made the deal, CEO Reed Hastings later complained about deals like these, calling for net neutrality. “Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can -- they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay,” Hastings wrote.

Comcast recently bought Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, although the deal still needs to be approved by regulators. Apple previously had talks with TWC before Comcast acquired its competitor. It would give Comcast 30 million customers in total.

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