Now that Comcast is in the midst of acquiring Time Warner Cable, it appears that Apple is changing gears a bit. The company is reportedly now in talks with Comcast – not Time Warner Cable – to create a “streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box,” The Wall Street Journal said. The talks are largely about making sure that Internet connectivity to and from Apple’s TV box is guaranteed to be stable, eliminating constant buffering or issues with the resolution.
To do so, Comcast would need to label any video streaming heading to an Apple TV as a “managed service.” “Those services travel on a special portion of the cable pipe that is separate from the more congested portion reserved for public Internet access,” said The Wall Street Journal, noting that Apple isn’t trying to weasel ahead of other streaming options – but competitors like Netflix do pay to make sure the quality of service isn’t compromised.
Rumors have floated around for a few months now that Apple is ready to release a new set-top box, though the plans seem to be less imminent than originally thought. Apple is reportedly working to add a TV input to the box, which would allow it to offer custom software for controlling TV stations – similar to the way the Xbox One operates. The firm is also reportedly working to add a deeper focus in apps and gaming, and may also add functionality that would allow the Apple TV to double as a wireless router.
The Wall Street Journal specifically said that “Apple and Comcast aren’t close to an agreement,” which means the talks could be very early. Apparently Apple still wants control of user data by allowing users to log-in to the new Apple TV with existing Apple account credentials, and Cupertino also wants a portion of the revenues Comcast generates through subscriptions, the news outlet said. The new Apple TV was originally expected as early as this spring, but it may not launch as early as planned if Apple still wants to iron out deals with Comcast.