The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Apple and Comcast are in preliminary talks to team up on a streaming television service. According to the Journal, the service would use an Apple box, while also receiving “special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.”
Talks for such a service remain preliminary, while “many hurdles remain.”:
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 would benefit from a cable-company partner because it wants the new TV service’s traffic to be separated from public Internet traffic over the “last mile”—the portion of a cable operator’s pipes that connect to customers’ homes, the people familiar with the matter say. That stretch of the Internet tends to get clogged when too many users in a region try to access too much bandwidth at the same time.
In the years since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple’s supposed plans for the living room have remained in flux, with no actual TV emerging and reports differing about how serious the company ever was about such a product. But Apple-branded TV or not, an Apple/Comcast alliance could represent a huge breakthrough.