Something smells fishy about that Comcast–Apple TV story

The Wall Street Journal was getting a lot of echo-chamber play in the tech press Monday for its report that Apple (AAPL) is in talks with Comcast about building an Apple TV-type Internet set-top box that would get special treatment on Comcast’s rapidly growing cable network,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune.

“Has everybody forgotten what happened last month?” P.E.D. writes. “On Feb. 12, the same three-person Journal team reported that Apple was talking to Time Warner Cable (TWC) about putting their programs on Apple TV. The very next day, Comcast announced its $45.2 billion plan to gobble up Time Warner Cable, leading inevitably to speculation that Apple had just been hosed.”

P.E.D. writes, “So kudos to GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers for suggesting that there might be something “fishy” about today’s story.”

Read more in the full article here.

“But the real issue here is not net neutrality, or at least it’s not the primary issue,” Janko Roettgers writes for Gigaom. “Comcast has been subject to strict conditions about how it deals with competitors ever since it merged with NBC, and chances are, those conditions will be extended and possibly even tightened when the merger with Time Warner Cable goes through.”

“Shining a light on managed services just when the severity of these conditions is up for debate seems like a very strange coincidence indeed,” Roettgers writes. “It’s almost as if someone said: Hey, here is this big operator that is soon going to own 30 percent of the country’s pipes going into people’s homes, and it wants to strike a special deal with Apple. Shouldn’t regulators make sure that others get the same treatment?”

Roettgers writes, “That’s why I don’t believe that we will see a service like the one painted by the Wall Street Journal anytime soon. Now, I’m sure the two companies have discussed this, just like they have probably discussed a whole range of other options. But that this one surfaces right now seems just a little too convenient.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Lack of profit? The fact that there’s no net neutrality puts them forever under the big internet providers as far their own growth is concerned. IF they make a profit, you can bet the monopoly that TWC will have will be used to dig into Netflix’s profits and in turn force Netflix to raise their customer’s fees.

      I also don’t see any of the big content providers giving up their on demand pay to rent movie/TV offerings, so it’s not like they’re going to let Apple or Netflix just take that income stream away from them.

      It’s unbelievable that our government can’t see how these and other problems will develop without a neutral net.

    2. Maybe because Netflix SUCKS. Think of a movie you want to watch, and then go to Netflix and try to find it. No. Really. Try it. So far I’ve succeeded once in six months as a subscriber at finding the movie I was hoping to see.

        1. The best scene: a group of nuns are seated nude, freed sweater puppets undulating over heaps of cocaine. Their job is to package said contraband for the parish priest who has converted the church into a drug cartel. BUT, the priest, in a divine display of respect for the nuns, allows them to wear their wimples.

          High art for a mere $85,000 budget.

    1. The eternal problem with satellites is how to bounce your own signal off them back to the source. The result is that they are strictly one way in direction. That’s old school media. Modern media is always interactive, the Internet being the prime example. Using a phone line to send data back to the source is not adequate unless that return data is small in bandwidth.

  1. How is Apple going to break the logjam of insufficient Internet bandwidth spanning the last mile going to the home by entering into a deal with Comcast? Isn’t that the main bottleneck preventing timely delivery of TV and other high bandwidth content to the ultimate consumer sitting in front of his TV in his house?

    Will Apple offer cheaper high speed Internet access to go with the Apple TV Comcast gateway box like Google is doing in selected cities? $70 a month for 1GB unlimited bandwidth? If bandwidth remains restricted to the present average of 5-10Mb/s, capped in some areas, then net neutrality, or the lack of it, isn’t going to be an issue. Charging consumers a reasonable sum for bandwidth consumption is the key bottleneck that needs to be unlocked.

    The Apple-Comcast deal makes little sense when seen in that light.

    1. We already have a well documented limitation of Internet bandwidth in the USA, specifically because our ISPs are lazy, deceitful biznizz bozos who want to keep the money assigned to laying cable to themselves rather than having to do any of their promised work for their customers. IOW: The usual customer abuse.

      In that scenario, where these lazy deceitful companies rule the cable lines, how is Apple going to leapfrog anything?

      Obviously, the solution ‘should’ have been than all the Internet cable belongs to the citizens, none to any company. Any company can use the lines with an independent non-profit (as I’d had to let the stupid FCC do anything at all these days, they are so corrupt) setting out the bandwidth and signal frequencies for each company.

      IOW: The distributed cable monopoly nonsense was a SEVERE detriment to we citizens, the worst possible solution, an obvious Corporate Oligarchy ploy that should have been entirely illegal under existing law at the time. Shameful, corrupt, corporatocracy, the SOS we’re so used to these days.

      1. They are able to pump 100’s on hi-def channels to your TV that no one wants, but as soon as people start abandoning the packages and cutting the cord, all of a sudden they have no capacity? Yeah right. The most advanced nation in the world has the worst and slowest internet connection?

        I don’t even care what their excuse is, I just think Apple should go over their heads with alternatives to Comcast and Time Warner

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