The streaming-video giant is said to be in talks to come straight to consumers via set-top-box apps
Netflix is in talks with pay-TV providers to make its online video service an available app on their set-top boxes.
The potential deal, reported by the Wall Street Journal, would turn rival Netflix into a partner with Comcast, Suddenlink Comminications and other cable providers. Talks are in the very early stages, the Journal said.
Currently, customers who want to stream Netflix on their TV need internet-connected TVs or connected devices, such as videogame consoles, Blu-ray players or web devices.
A big selling point for the cable providers is that a deal could potentially increase their position of strength in future retransmission disputes, as Netflix would have the rights to broadcast older episodes of some TV shows that diehard fans insist upon in their viewing schedule.
However, a concern of one operator is that Netflix could use the app to “Trojan Horse” its way in to sell pay-per-view movies or other services that compete directly with the operator’s video offerings, the Journal said.
Another barrier is Netflix's insistence that the cable providers also take on its Open Connect technology for video streaming. Cable providers have been hesitant to seek technology that would replace their own.
TheWrap's requests for comment from the parties named were not immediately returned.