Skip to main content

Could Comcast help Apple realize Steve Jobs’ final opus?

Apple TV Television

Before his death, Apple CEO and tech visionary Steve Jobs claimed he had “finally cracked” the Internet TV conundrum, claiming his system would seamlessly sync with all of your media devices, over “the simplest interface you could imagine.” For years, many thought Jobs’ solution pointed to an Apple-designed TV, with multiple services infused into the device. But Apple’s rumored talks with Comcast recently have many wondering if Jobs’ vision of a new way to watch TV is close to fruition, in the form of a simple set-top box.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is in talks with Comcast to secure a place for its new device, which is rumored to meld streaming services and apps, iTunes content via its cloud services, and both live and on-demand TV, into one simple interface. In order to assure its new internet-TV wunderkind will work fluidly with current delivery methods, the company is in negotiations to strike-up a partnership with the nation’s largest Internet service provider in hopes of securing its own fast lane into living rooms.

Related Videos

However, unlike Netflix, which recently made a highly controversial agreement with Comcast to similarly secure more efficient streaming, Apple appears to be looking for a better deal. According to the Journal’s sources, Apple is hoping to get a clear path to what ISPs call the ‘last mile’ of network pipelines, gaining access to the more congested side of the bridge that connects the Internet directly into the homes of subscribers. 

Apple is by no means the first company to make a run at pioneering a sparkling new form of Internet TV. Several companies have tried, and thus far, failed at shaking up the current TV delivery paradigm, including a much-maligned set-top box by Intel called OnCue.

The OnCue system was touted by Intel to be “the best Internet television service ever,” but folded in on itself like a dying star after the company was stonewalled by television content providers, afraid to upset their lucrative relationships with Multi-system operators such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The box was eventually purchased by Verizon’s Fios arm at cost (cost being somewhere shy of half a billion dollars) and has gone nowhere since.

With its own system, it would appear Apple has learned from the perils of those who came before it about fighting the MSO iron curtain, bringing its clout and its knack for design straight to the MSO door step. For Comcast’s part, the much-loathed company could ally itself with one of the most beloved corporations (by American’s anyway) around, as well as gaining a much needed revamp for delivery of its own services in the deal.

After all, with a host of billion-dollar corporations looking to solve the Internet-TV riddle by chipping away at the current archetype, and agreements such as Dish Network’s deal with Disney to offer Disney content online without a subscription, cable titans like Comcast have seen the writing on the wall. The proposed shifting of the guard to a more efficient way to watch TV no longer raises questions of if it will happen, but when. In such a case, it’s best to make plans for the future.

WSJ’s sources say that Comcast and Apple are still in the early stages, reportedly in a tug-of-war about who will retain control of how users will access the new box, how the system will be implemented, and at what price services will be offered. Apple still has to secure its own agreements with content providers for programming, which, as Intel and countless others can attest, is no easy task. And you can be sure that Comcast won’t sign on for any deal that threatens its lucrative cable bundles, DVR rentals, etc., without compensation. Big cable will not go gently into that dark night.

There’s also the issue of net neutrality at play which, according to the Journal, could stifle the proposed super-pipeline to the living room of Comcast subscribers that Apple hopes to secure. Both companies will be walking a tight-wire to make such a deal happen without creating an unfair advantage to other parties in the streaming marketplace.

Still, reports of the possibility for an Apple-designed Internet TV ecosystem are heartening, especially to those who have seen the massive failures that have come and gone in recent years, as so many companies, from Samsung to Google, have tried and failed to grab the brass ring of online media.

We’ll have to wait and see what kind of compromise the two mega-corps can agree to, and just how much of Apple’s own vision for its new service it can retain in the bargain. As for now, the wheel’s still in spin.

Editors' Recommendations

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: which should you buy?
Apple AirPods Pro 2 beside an Apple AirPods 3 earbud.

Without putting too much thought into it, when thinking of getting yourself a new pair of wireless earbuds the mind kind of heads straight in the direction of Apple's omnipresent white AirPods -- especially if you're an Apple user. But when deciding on which pair of AirPods is best for you, the main choices are the latest generations of the company's two offerings, the AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro 2. But which should you choose?

The classic, semi-open designed third-generation AirPods received a major update in 2021 and go for $179 (with MagSafe charging case) and $169 (with the Lightning case). With that update, they got Apple's immersive head-tracking Spatial Audio sound and Adaptive EQ. But the second-generation AirPods Pro feature that secure, in-ear form that many prefer, everything that the AirPods 3 offer, plus active noise cancellation (ANC) with adaptive transparency mode and more. All this, however, will run you $249.

Read more
Don’t miss your chance to get this 70-inch 4K TV for just $450
The Insignia 50-inch F30 Series 4K Smart Fire TV hangs in a living room.

Upgrading your home theater setup with a large screen is becoming more affordable, especially if you take advantage of TV deals such as Best Buy's $200 price reduction for the 70-inch Insignia F30 Series 4K TV. You'll only have to pay $450 instead of $650, which will place it within reach for more families. However, if you're already looking forward to watching your favorite shows and movies on this massive display, you'll need to hurry up with your purchase because we don't think there's much time left on the offer.

Why you should buy the 70-inch Insignia F30 Series 4K TV
It may not be as popular as the best TV brands like Samsung and Sony, but Insignia continues to release 4K TVs with low prices without sacrificing quality. The Insignia F30 Series 4K TV is a good example, as it will let you enjoy your favorite content at 4K Ultra HD resolution, while High Dynamic Range technology further boosts the picture quality with a wider range of colors and sharper contrast. The 4K TV aims to bring the cinema into your home with immersive audio enabled by DTS Studio Sound, but it's highly recommended that you invest in soundbar deals when you get the chance for an even better experience.

Read more
Best Buy’s latest sale drops the price of this 85-inch TV under $1000
lg samsung vizio 4k tv deals ces 2020 sale tcl 4 series

If you're thinking about getting a massive upgrade for your home theater setup, this may be the nudge that you need -- Best Buy's $350 discount for the 85-inch TCL 4-Series 4K TV, which brings its price down to $950 from its original price of $1,300. You won't always come across TV deals for a screen of this size for less than $1,000, so if you're interested, it's highly recommended that you add it to your cart and check out as fast as you can as the offer may get sold out very soon.

Why you should buy the 85-inch TCL 4-Series 4K TV
TCL is one of the best TV brands in the market because of the value that its products provide to its customers, and that's certainly on full display with the TCL 4-Series 4K TV. There's something about an 85-inch screen in your living room that will never get old, though you'll want to check out our guide on what size TV to buy first if you've got enough space for it. If you do, you'll enjoy watching your favorite content with sharp details thanks to the TV's 4K Ultra HD resolution, and with lifelike colors from its support for High Dynamic Range technology.

Read more