Netflix isn't known for having a buddy-buddy relationship with U.S. cable providers, and yet the streaming media company was recently reported to be in early-stage talks with providers like Comcast and Suddenlink to bring a Netflix app to those companies' set-top boxes, according to the Wall Street Journal. Such an integration would put Netflix's content side alongside the cable companies' live channels and its own on-demand content, a first for any U.S. provider. It would be similar to the recent deal Netflix struck with Virgin Media to bring a cable-and-Netflix bundle to TiVo owners in the U.K.
Netflix currently offers streaming to televisions, but viewers must either have a Internet-connected TV, a streaming-enabled device like the Roku box, or a game console like the PlayStation 3. A cable integration would provide an obvious advantage to Netflix by providing it with more exposure (and thus more subscriptions). The advantage to cable providers is less definitive—giving bored channel-flippers front-and-center access to Netflix may result in those customers getting rid of their cable service altogether.