Comcast and Apple are in talks aimed at creating a new joint streaming television product that would combine the power of Comcast’s Internet infrastructure with an Apple user interface.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the system would rely on non-public internet connections to ensure the product would get “special treatment” from the network to “ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.”:
The discussions between the world's most valuable company and the nation's largest cable provider are still in early stages and many hurdles remain. But the deal, if sealed, would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing.
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.
Business Insider reported last month that Apple was in similar talks with Time Warner Cable (codenamed: “Project Jupiter”), though they then speculated the deal may be jeopardized by news that Comcast planned to purchase their cable rivals for $45 billion.
At the time, Apple planned to announce the product in April and aimed for a Christmas-friendly release date, though these plans may change.
The deal would also hinge on the approval of the massive proposed merger, which is still pending the approval of federal regulators.