"Netflix" the hugely popular online video streaming service, is in talks with cable TV providers, according to an Oct 13 report in the “Wall Street Journal”. The aim of "Netflix" in these talks is to integrate its online streaming services with cable providers' offerings.
"Netflix" wants cable companies to add the "Netflix" app to their set-top boxes, just like Virgin Media (a cable company in the United Kingdom) did last month. But the cable companies in the United States have a love-hate relationship with "Netflix" in these talks.
One the one hand, cable providers consider "Netflix" a competitor—an online video streaming service that chargers subscribers a lower monthly fee to watch quality programing. On the other hand, offering "Netflix" through the cable companies set-top boxes might persuade cable customers to buy faster and more expensive broadband service.
The “Wall Street Journal” reports that these talks are in their early stages and no agreements have yet been reached. However, some cable companies are moving to incorporate Internet services in their set-top boxes.
For example, the new set-top boxes for DirecTV and FiOS connect to the Internet and offer video streaming apps like “YouTube”. “YouTube” also may soon be included in the set-top boxes offered by Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable.
Right now, the only way to watch “Netflix” on television is to have an Internet connected TV, a Web-TV box like Apple TV or an online console game box.
The sticking point in these talks appears to be the cable companies refusal to incorporate “Netflix” streaming technology in their service. “Netflix” believes that such technology is essential to providing quality images to customers.
If an agreement is reached in these talks, the result could be very beneficial to cable customers. The next time there is a channel black-out because a content provider and cable provider disagree about carriage fees, cable customers might still be able to watch that content provider's library of programs on “Netflix”.