03/27/14 by Rennie Detore
Apple and Comcast are talking. And when two heavy hitters like that get together to chat, everyone listens.
More specifically, Apple has approached Comcast to help with its Apple TV set top boxes. The purpose of the inquisition is to ensure that the streaming video is smooth, uninterrupted and allows Apple TV to bypass any internet congestion and basically have its own line of bandwidth so as to not contend with any other issues that would slow the service.
Apple wants to stand out from the other streaming video contenders by means of Comcast creating a detour of sorts so Apple is on its own playing field. Apple would absolutely love to dominate the television field by offering cloud based, live television through their Apple TV model, but needs Comcast's help with dedicated lines that would keep the streaming at a higher level that others that follow this similar business plan.
The Apple TV set top box, along with your Apple ID, would replace your old cable box, and Comcast would have a viable partner to pull farther away from tradition and embrace the future of television: streaming over the internet versus standard transmission of channels.
Comcast isn't losing sleep over customers opting for other means of television, but it wouldn't hurt for them to find a partner like Apple to stay current in that avenue.
The idea that Apple broached the subject with Comcast isn't that odd, given how positively the deal would affect Apple TV. Netflix recently agreed to a deal with Comcast to help boost its own streaming video quality, so why wouldn't a fierce corporation like Apple follow suit with a similar, albeit more demanding, request. It's also worth noting that Apple asked the same of Time Warner Cable before they were purchased by Comcast.
Apple just wants that, and more.
All of this is very much preliminary, and might never truly see the light of day as far as being a realistic deal that gets done within our lifetimes. These negotiations developed due to Apple ideally wanting to control the television game, and Comcast looking to stay current with an entirely new generation of consumers that believe streaming is the future of television.
You have to wonder, however, if Apple might be asking for just a little too much in this deal, enough to have Comcast decide to simply pass on the deal. Apple would need to toss a ton of money toward Comcast, given that the largest communications company in the United States would need to invest heavily in creating that uninterrupted internet stream that Apple wants. The idea that Apple would control the log in process, too, might ruffle the newly formed feathers of Comcast, since buying NBC Universal.
Some have reported that Apple wants a percentage of subscription fees paid to Comcast, and Apple also has the arduous task of getting rights to TV programming through the networks, not exactly an easy endeavor.
Simply put, there's still a lot to be done, if indeed this is going to happen.
But it may be Apple and its bravado that breaks this deal and has Comcast pumping the brakes well before these negotiation proceed any further. Is Comcast going to give up so much, when it would appear that this partnership benefits Apple more so? Or is Comcast so worried about the future of streaming that is rushes to sign off on this pact?
As for the present, Comcast and Apple aren't commenting or saying anything about what goes on behind closed doors. That would lead you to believe that the door still is at least partially open, even with Apple's demands, for a deal to be done, and thus cultivate a television watching culture that changes the landscape of entertainment.
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