Apple is looking to take the Internet out of Internet TV: The gadget giant is in talks with Comcast to produce set-top boxes that get special treatment on Comcast's cables, bypassing any traffic jams on the public Web, the Wall Street Journal reports. Apple envisions a device that would essentially replace a traditional cable box, allowing users to stream TV content on demand and DVR-recorded video from the cloud, without any buffering delays or quality issues. Apple had been in similar talks with Time Warner, until Comcast agreed to buy the latter.
But the two sides "aren't close to an agreement," the Journal says. They're still at loggerheads on key issues like customer relationship—Apple wants users to log in with their Apple IDs, wants to control their data, and wants a cut of subscription fees. Apple also still needs to strike deals with content providers, which, TechCrunch points out, has bedeviled previous streaming efforts from Microsoft, Sony, and, well, Apple. If you're wondering about the net neutrality implications, people close to the talks say it wouldn't violate the rules Comcast agreed to when it bought NBCUniversal, because Apple would be getting its own "flow" that would be separate from, rather than prioritized over, other Web traffic. (Read more Apple stories.)