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Apple, Comcast discussing streaming service deal

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Cable giant Comcast and Apple are in discussions over a deal to provide preferential treatment for streaming services on the next generation of Apple TV.

The talks, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involve the two companies negotiating a potential deal for Comcast to prioritize bandwidth for live programming and on-demand video on an upcoming version of the Apple TV device. 9to5Mac reported in January that the new device could feature the ability to control an existing cable box, but the negotiations suggest Apple's new product may operate as as its own independent set top box for Comcast users.

The talks come weeks after Comcast and streaming service Netflix agreed on a similar deal, which would give the streaming service direct access to the Comcast network for improved speeds. Apple had previously been in talks for a similar deal with Time Warner Cable, but the talks were put on hold after its announced merger to Comcast.

The two companies will have to work out a few snags before any deal is finalized. Some of the issues include how to guarantee that Apple TV devices maintain high performance while streaming and whether or not Apple can directly access Comcast customer information.

Beyond acting as a set top box, the new version of Apple TV is also rumored to have its own App Store, along with greater integration with iPhone and iPad apps. Apple could unveil the new box as early as April and launch the product by the end of 2014.

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