Cox’s ‘Contour’ App Debuts on the iPad

A second-screen app from Cox Communications that aggregates live TV, on-demand and DVR recordings and bakes in personalized recommendations has been launched on the iPad under a new brand name: Contour.      

The app, referred to as the Personal Video Experience since Cox introduced the concept eight months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show, was developed in partnership with NDS (now part of Cisco Systems) and shares some of the traits found in Trio, Cox’s interactive program guide for advanced set- top boxes that was launched late last year and is already in front of more than 300,000 customers.  

A key feature being carried over from Trio to Contour, an app that is compatible with the iPad 2 or newer, is a recommendations engine from ThinkAnalytics that provides personal picks for up to eight users in a households, outpacing a new feature from Netflix that lets customers build up to five individual profiles. Cox's Contour offer also features a souped up whole-home HD-DVR made by Cisco that can record six shows at once.

Contour also lets users set DVR recordings via the iPad. It features three panels:

  • Live: Access to in-home streaming of more than 90 national cable channels;
  • On demand: A menu of “tens of thousands" of titles at the start; and,
  • My Library: a “watch list” of selected content and access to TV Everywhere apps from individual networks, such as HBO GO, Watch ESPN, Starz Play, and WatchDisney.

The idea from the start has been to create an all-in-one, individualized portal that provides access to live, on demand and DVR content, company , vice president of video product development and management Steve Necessary told Multichannel News last month.

“With Contour we are forging new ground when it comes to delivering a true, personalized TV experience,” said Mark Greatrex, Cox senior vice president, chief marketing and sales officer, in a statement. “Contour brings to life all the features our customers tell us they want from individual viewing recommendations that are based on their past preferences to a robust library of VOD offerings and enhanced DVR capabilities – all accessible on multiple devices via an effortless guide.”   

Cox said its app is entering play as customer consumption of video increases and extends beyond the primary TV set. The MSO said a recent study found that its video subs spent almost 60% of their time viewing on “convenience” television rather than live TV. Over half of respondents said they use streaming video players.

Cox is kicking off the iPad app launch in tandem with a “TV just for me” campaign, developed in partnership with its brand and media agencies,  Doner and MediaVest.  

Cox has already launched Cox TV Connect, a second screen app that provides in-home live TV streaming and remote DVR-management, on iOS devices, the Kindle Fire and Fire HD, Google Nexus and Samsung Galaxy tablets, as well as PCs and Macs. Cox intends to extend Contour to those platforms, as well, in the “near future,” but has not specified a launch date, a spokesman said.

Other MSOs share Cox’s thinking when it comes to developing apps that link second screens to the set-top box. Comcast, for example, is preparing the fall debut of X2, an updated UI for its X1 platform that will run on set-tops, tablets, PCs and smartphones.

While Contour will become a primary focus for Cox, the MSO is also experimenting with other ideas. In Orange County, its IP-fed flareWatch service tests leans on devices, an advanced interface and a video recommendation system developed by Fanhattan.

Cox has also posted this video to promote and demonstrate Contour: