What the deals being discussed could bring is a setup where your cable company offers bundled services (TV, internet, etc.) that include premium access to Netflix -- higher quality audio and video streams that don't count against bandwidth caps, and maybe even a discount from the standard rate. Cable companies could obtain revenue from Netflix under the deal, and also keep customers around thanks to the advantages of the bundled offerings, while Netflix could have more reliable distribution for its video, and a leg up on competition from Amazon and Redbox / Verizon FiOS. We'll wait and see what happens, but in an interesting twist, Netflix could quickly join sports as a tool for providers to keep customers from cutting the cord, instead of a reason for it.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.