Netflix and Comcast in Talks

Netflix reportedly is in talks with several high profile cable providers including Comcast and Suddenlink Communications to have their video app available on set top boxes according to the Wall Street Journal. This follows after Netflix already inked a deal the U.K’s Virgin Media Inc.

A major stumbling block may have to do with Netflix’s insistence that cable operators use Netflix’s proprietary Open Connect technology which is specifically designed for the delivery of streaming media. Cable providers are insistent that their current infrastructure is more than capable of handling the streaming media demands of Netflix customers and are afraid if they give in to Netflix then they’ll be forced to do the same with other media providers.

Lingering distrust between cable operators and streaming media providers such as Netflix have hindered such deals in the past. Netflix’s content library could lure potential customers away from cable on-demand services. However, a deal with Netflix could also make for smoother negotiations with major TV networks. For instance, during the most recent battle Time Warner had with CBS, Time Warner could have directed their customers to Netflix in order to watch some CBS programming.

Many in the industry believe that it is only a matter of time until cable operators warm up to the fledgling streaming media service providers such as Netflix. When they do, one has to wonder if  standalone streaming devices such as Roku will be left out in the cold.

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