Mar 24 - A key part of a possible deal between Apple and Comcast seeks to bypass the public internet highway- raising questions about internet priorities as new technologies emerge. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Talk of an Apple-Comcast streaming TV deal, bringing up new questions about how fast, and at what quality, media gets to consumers. Apple wants to make sure its content gets special treatment from Comcast as part of the deal according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple wants its traffic to be separate from the public internet traffic, and avoid congestion. Because what Apple is really thinking about is 4K - which requires higher resolutions and better internet pipes says, Eric Smith of Strategy Analytics: SOUNDBITE: ERIC SMITH, ANALYST, DIGITAL CONSUMER PRACTICE, STRATEGY ANALYTICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "My thought is that this is a 4K video play. That Apple TV is able to get their new device out in the market, that enables 4K over-the-top video from a traditional pay TV provider. And that would give Apple a big splash into the market and Comcast would be able to tout the fact that it has one of the first 4K ready services." Apple had been in talks for a faster TV set top box with Time Warner Cable, which recently agreed to be bought by Comcast. But, coming on the heels of Comcast's separate deal to let Netflix pay for better internet delivery, the move raises a lot of questions. Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst at Jackdaw research: SOUNDBITE: JAN DAWSON, CHIEF ANALYST, JACKDAW RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Strange timing actually, because Comcast is obviously trying to get its Time Warner deal approved right now and one of the things they have been saying is they are really committed to net neutrality. They don't see that changing at all, and as a result it seems really strange timing for them to be doing something that I think is at the edges of net neutrality." Dawson adds that it's not clear why- strategically- Comcast would partner with Apple this way- given that in this scenario Apple would be a new competitor for its cable business- however.. SOUNDBITE: JAN DAWSON, CHIEF ANALYST, JACKDAW RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: 'What if we put the cable service from Comcast onto the Apple TV in the rest of the United States, for example, we have all the rights already sown up. We could provide a national service all of a sudden. I mean, we could use the Apple TV box to deliver it to people's television sets. And, we could provide some optimization in the back end and Apple would do the same thing on its part.' That makes a lot more sense to me and it wouldn't be competitive to Comcast services today. It would be complementary." Both Apple and Comcast have declined to comment.