Netflix in talks with cable providers to add streaming app to set-top boxes

By on October 14, 2013, 9:30 AM

Netflix is currently in discussions with multiple pay-television providers in the US for the right to add their service as an app to providers' set-top boxes. Comcast and Suddenlink Communications are among those that the streaming service is holding talks with according to people familiar with the matter as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

It’s an interesting proposal as cable providers have been concerned with the idea of streaming media cutting into their customer base and revenues for years. It’s a pretty clear-cut case of conflict of interest but if a customer is already paying for a cable box, how much harm could be done? The report notes that Netflix recently inked a similar deal with UK-based Virgin Media although it still requires customers have a subscription to the service in order to use it.

One issue that’s reportedly holding up discussions is the fact that Netflix would require cable boxes to use a special streaming protocol as part of their Netflix Open Connect program. The technology is needed to improve the delivery of streaming video and would require cable operators to open their networks to Netflix’s servers.

AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon have all rejected the idea of using the technology. Such an arrangement may prompt other companies to ask for special treatment as well and in their defense, the providers believe their networks are fully capable of taking on Netflix traffic according to sources.




User Comments: 7

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Classic case of a story that has "good news, bad news" possibilities all over it. Good in theory, giving more widespread access of Netflix to those people who don't have it already through their smart TV, Blu-Ray player, gaming console, HTPC, Chromecast, tablet, smartphone, etc... Come to think of it, this almost sounds like a totally redundant non-issue, with so many ways to get to Netflix already available...

The flip side is that this could be amazingly bad, if it means that an entity like Comcast gets to have ANY amount of negative influence on how Netflix works, what is available for streaming, etc. Many (like myself) use Netflix to stay OUT of the cable providers' grip. At best, I view Comcast as a necessary evil for many (including myself for internet), one that pushes every possible method for squeezing another monetizing method onto their consumer base. If anyone is foolish enough to believe that a service like Comcast is cool with allowing Netflix directly on their hardware and allowing it to directly compete with their lucrative "on demand" services, they might need to have their heads examined. This type of deal has the potential to push Netflix's ability to stream newer titles back even farther, to avoid conflict of interest issues with the cable providers they are getting in bed with.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

"AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon have all rejected the idea of using the technology."

Surprise surprise the overcharging handcuffing criminal dirtbag companies of the world said no.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Netflix to me has ruined a lot of things including its own service throughout the years which really angers me. I loved the idea of getting movies on demand, but the whole service is just lackluster and missing lots of elements.

They forced all Movie rental places into bankruptcy (with the help of redbox of course) and then they split up their services and made movies a back drop for TV shows. In this day and age, its near impossible (At least in America) to find somewhere just to get a movie old or new just to sit in and watch with friends or family. I mean redbox has the new movies for a short time but depending on the areas, your limited to finding one that has the movie in stock and there's no selection of movies beyond like a month or two of being released on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Netflix really pissed me off in this respect because now you have to buy there delivery service to get the movie and even then again its only new releases or some odd select choices of movies with the same going with the on-demand service.

Sorry for the rant, but I just miss the days of being able to walk into a store and rent a movie with at least a decent selection. With what they are trying to do now, I feel that is unnecessary because like Vrmithrax said, almost every device in this day and age either comes with it built in or its an easy add on.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Netflix has ruined its own service? What planet are you on? Netflix is rising in value and its service is second to none. The days of renting from stores is over (mostly), get over it. With my PS3 or 360 for example you can browse through thousands of movies online and rent them the day they become available. I also don't need to worry about some scratched disc.

There are countless movies and programs like Lost or The Walking Dead I never would have tried out if it weren't for Netflix.

There are also countless other avenues for renting and buying movies, like Amazon for example.

Anyone who doesn't like Netflix is just a hater IMO.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Netflix to me has ruined a lot of things including its own service throughout the years which really angers me. I loved the idea of getting movies on demand, but the whole service is just lackluster and missing lots of elements.

They forced all Movie rental places into bankruptcy (with the help of redbox of course) and then they split up their services and made movies a back drop for TV shows. In this day and age, its near impossible (At least in America) to find somewhere just to get a movie old or new just to sit in and watch with friends or family. I mean redbox has the new movies for a short time but depending on the areas, your limited to finding one that has the movie in stock and there's no selection of movies beyond like a month or two of being released on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Netflix really pissed me off in this respect because now you have to buy there delivery service to get the movie and even then again its only new releases or some odd select choices of movies with the same going with the on-demand service.

Sorry for the rant, but I just miss the days of being able to walk into a store and rent a movie with at least a decent selection. With what they are trying to do now, I feel that is unnecessary because like Vrmithrax said, almost every device in this day and age either comes with it built in or its an easy add on.

I agree with the sentiment on missing rental places to go and have a wide selection, but video stores were declining well before Netflix (and Redbox) appeared. Those 2 services just helped oil up the slide and accelerate the extinction process. The cost of staying in the rental business was becoming astronomical, with ever-increasing costs for rental copies and general licensing and other fees for the rental shops (had a friend with a shop, his tales of woe were legendary). Sheer volumes of product available became a big competitor - heck, right now I could go dig through a local Walmart's bargain bin and find any number of older DVDs that might interest me, for $5 a pop. Considering it was $3 or more just to rent a DVD for one night at a local shop, the economics suddenly get very murky. Add in the explosion of cable channels and content, and how quickly (and often) movies hit even just the non-premium cable channels. Then factor in the cable companies pushing their "video on demand" services as well (and finally making them more affordable). You quickly start to see that brick & mortar video rental locations have been under assault from all sides (not just Netflix), and it's been happening for a long time now.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I agree with the sentiment on missing rental places to go and have a wide selection, but video stores were declining well before Netflix (and Redbox) appeared. Those 2 services just helped oil up the slide and accelerate the extinction process. The cost of staying in the rental business was becoming astronomical, with ever-increasing costs for rental copies and general licensing and other fees for the rental shops (had a friend with a shop, his tales of woe were legendary). Sheer volumes of product available became a big competitor - heck, right now I could go dig through a local Walmart's bargain bin and find any number of older DVDs that might interest me, for $5 a pop. Considering it was $3 or more just to rent a DVD for one night at a local shop, the economics suddenly get very murky. Add in the explosion of cable channels and content, and how quickly (and often) movies hit even just the non-premium cable channels. Then factor in the cable companies pushing their "video on demand" services as well (and finally making them more affordable). You quickly start to see that brick & mortar video rental locations have been under assault from all sides (not just Netflix), and it's been happening for a long time now.

Well you got me there in that regard, since now you can so easily get some for dirt cheap, however I just think that having the option was quite nice and now you either have to buy the DVD or glance through the sparse selections hoping to hit gold. I have netflix because my gf wanted it mostly and its great If you like TV shows. But movies I feel have taken a back seat to the the on demand service from what it was when it started which is why it got popular.

Netflix has ruined its own service? What planet are you on? Netflix is rising in value and its service is second to none. The days of renting from stores is over (mostly), get over it. With my PS3 or 360 for example you can browse through thousands of movies online and rent them the day they become available. I also don't need to worry about some scratched disc.

There are countless movies and programs like Lost or The Walking Dead I never would have tried out if it weren't for Netflix.

There are also countless other avenues for renting and buying movies, like Amazon for example.

Anyone who doesn't like Netflix is just a hater IMO.

I return to you the same question, where are these thousands of movies in the on-demand service your speaking of. Sure theres one heck of a selection of shows, but almost 75% of the time when searching for movies, I run into 2 different things: Either its not available, or its only for the delivery service. While blockbuster or somewhere like that may have been a little dated, at least I could get the movie that day unless it was out of stock. I have not tried every service available out there, but I feel the original netflix on-demand had a better movie selection than the current one as movies seem to have taken a back seat to TV shows.

I liked Netflix more in the past and I dont have a reason to stop it because it is good enough for many things, just not as good for movies anymore.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Netflix keep it simple stop trying to get more profits. Right now I never notice but the content from them is not like it use to be. Comparing both service with Amazon Prime Instant Videos you get a bit more on Prime side since it free. They don't have queue yet in place like Netflix does. Amazon PIV service streams HD and SD right to your for example for me: SONY SMP-N100 or SMP-N200 LAN/WAN/SMB/PnP/DLNA devices.

Netflix still doesn't have any and they won't until HBO, COMCAST and the rest release the media everyone wants. But they won't because of PROFIT!

In 2012 I had ditch CATV, save a lot of money doing so, local broadcast here has over 70 channels using dual HD-ANT range is 80 miles as one pointed northwest and the other one is pointed southeast. HDTV broadcast in 1080i as there are some like 720p ABC yeah, some smaller stations only use 480i. Those that use 1080i are using Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, picture quality is far better than anything CATV or SATV can give you. When those services goes down due to weather or hardware issues, you can rest assure HDTV is still going strong.

There are a few movie channels that only show movies 24/7 now. QVC has channel more are coming. For each new channel you need to re-scan the channels on the HDTV tuners though. But once you do more free Digital Channels to watch.

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