Apple is in talks with Comcast "about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web, people familiar with the matter say, report Shalini Ramachandran, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Amol Sharma in the Wall St. Journal. [Note; the WSJ is behind a firewall and may charge you to read this piece.]
The article continues, "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.
"Apple’s goal would be to ensure users don’t see hiccups in the service or buffering that can take place while streaming Web video, making its video the same quality as Comcast’s TV transmissions to normal set-top boxes."
The story also notes that "Apple must acquire significant TV programming rights from media companies, one of the people said. Comcast would want to ensure that the price Apple has to pay to acquire rights wouldn’t cause the service to be priced higher than traditional pay-TV service, this person said."