Charter Offers Another Skinny Bundle Streaming TV Option

Offering another way to protect its video subscriber base by luring in new customers and fending off a growing cord-cutting trend, Charter Communications has recently introduced a new, in-home skinny-bundle offering called Spectrum Choice.

Per a web site dedicated to the new offering, it includes local broadcast networks, 25 Music Choice channels, and -- in an a la carte-like approach -- lets customers select 10 more channels to complete their package. Customers can also pay extra for premium add-ons such as HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz and Starz Encore.

The site doesn’t provide pricing without an authenticated address, but TechHive, which took the service for a spin, said Spectrum Choice starts at $25 per month (after a discounted first month of $15) for the first two years, but with no long-term contracts. Customers can buy premiums for $7.50 per month each or $15 when all are bundled.

The service, the report added, is offered on mobile devices, web browsers, Roku players, and Xbox consoles. Spectrum Choice doesn’t require a Charter-supplied set-top box, but customers will need one if they want to add a DVR (Charter has yet to launch a cloud DVR that, for example, could work with Roku boxes). TechHive said that set-top box/DVR option would raise the cost by $20 per month, with recordings only available on the set-top.

As this is an in-home, in-footprint offering, Charter is delivering the service into the home via a managed IP connection (and not over-the-top via a public internet connection).

The service does support out-of-home rights to some channels for the linear TV and/or VOD assets. Rights to that out-of-home content, which would be accessible via the internet/OTT, varies. Per a chart that denotes out-of-home availability, bout live TV and VOD from Discovery Channel and Food Network, are supported, while only VOD is supported for A&E, and neither option (linear or VOD) is available out of the home for Disney Channel.

Though this is an IP-delivered streaming service, Charter stressed that Spectrum Choice is not a rebrand of Charter Spectrum TV Stream, another slimmed-down, no-contract offering that includes more than 25 channels, including major local TV networks, and starts at $22 per month, plus access to several premiums for $3 per month more each (or $15 for the Premium Pack). That offering is also offered via an app for iOS and Android mobile devices, Roku players and Roku TVs, Samsung smart TVs and the Xbox One.

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Like Spectrum TV Stream, Spectrum Choice, a Charter official said, “is also targeted at customers who don’t currently purchase a video product from us. We continue to launch and test new services to better serve customer demand for more choice.”

The Charter official didn’t say when Spectrum Choice was launched, but CordCutterNews spotted it earlier this month.

These new, skinny TV services continue to emerge as Charter and others launch and experiment new ways to bring in new video customers, go after cord-cutters and present options for current pay TV subs that might be tightening their belts.

In Q4 2017, Charter bucked the trend by adding 2,000 residential pay TV subs, improving from a loss of 51,000 in the prior year period.