It looks like we’ve gotten a little big closer to the truth about Apple TV. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed sources claimed that Apple is talking with Comcast about a streaming television service that would let the set top box have special treatment to bypass Web congestion, making content from the cable provider faster, clearer, and unaffected by public Internet use.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple wants to allow users to stream live and on-demand programming from Comcast via Apple TV, as well as store digital-video recording in iCloud.
Apple could take advantage of Comcast’s huge ecosystem to plug into the company’s pipeline, reducing congestion during the “last mile.” This would allow Comcast customers to stream content without worrying public Internet traffic while watching their favorite television shows. This would effectively make Apple TV video streaming the same quality as Comcast’s television transmissions.
According to one source familiar with the issue, Apple and Comcast “aren’t close to an agreement.” The type of service quality that Apple is looking for would require the cable company to invest in network equipment and other pricey technology. Plus, Apple still has to acquire programming rights from various media companies. Comcast doesn’t want to see its customers paying a higher price for Apple TV than traditional pay-TV service.
If Apple’s next big thing in the television market turns out to be a glorified DVR for Comcast, I’ll be disappointed. Streaming media on Apple TV has started to move in a direction I am happy with. You can choose to pay individual streaming content providers a monthly fee to watch select shows and movies through services like Netflix, Hulu, and Crackle. I don’t want a set top box that requires a cable subscription in order to access content. It’s bad enough that channels like NBC require a cable account.
If Apple TV just becomes a Comcast box, I’ll be switching back to Roku.