Netflix in talks with U.S. cable companies - WSJ

Reuters
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. President and Group CEO Andrew House makes a Netflix announcement at the Sony news conference show on the eve of the opening of E3 in Los Angeles, California, June 10, 2013. REUTERS/David McNew
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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. President and Group CEO Andrew House makes a Netflix announcement at the Sony news conference show on the eve of the opening of E3 in Los Angeles, California, June 10, 2013. REUTERS/David McNew/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) is in talks with several U.S. cable television companies including Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Suddenlink Communications to make its streaming video service available through their set-top boxes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

According to the Journal, the negotiations are in the early stages, with no deal expected soon. The report said that one sticking point in the negotiations is that Netflix wants cable companies to adopt special technology designed to improve the quality of its streaming video.

Last month, two European cable companies -- Sweden's Com Hem and Virgin Media in Britain -- struck deals to allow their customers to access Netflix through Tivo (TIVO.O) set-top boxes.

Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells, speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference last month, said that the company was willing to strike similar deals with U.S. cable companies.

"We would love to reduce the friction to the end consumer, and to be available via the existing device in the home which is the set-top box," Wells said. "But it's up to the (pay TV provider) to decide how much a competitor they view us as, or a complement."

Netflix, Comcast and Suddenlink could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Diane Craft)

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