Netflix is in talks with cable companies to push set-top box apps that could replace broadband for their U.S. customers, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
The company is seeking to strike deals with companies that are often competitors, such as Comcast Corp. and Suddenlink Communications, the Journal reported.
Cable providers, which generally see Netflix as a rival, could warm to the idea because Netflix says the cable companies could use upgraded technology that helps consumers stream videos.
Cable companies are concerned that the upgrade could be "Trojan horse," the Journal said, meaning Netflix in the future could use what is called its Open Connect technology to introduce programming that is in more direct competition with the cable companies.
But they are interested in the program, because the upgrade technology could be an excuse to raise their prices, the Journal said.
The partnerships could allow pay-TV companies "to decide how much of a competitor they view us as or a complement," Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells said in a recent conference call.