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Time Warner Cable to Offer Free Slingboxes

To encourage consumers to sign up for its fastest high-speed online service, Time Warner Cable's New York City systems will begin offering rebates for the entire cost of $299 Slingbox to customers of its $99-a-month Wideband 50 high-speed data product, a Time Warner Cable spokesman has confirmed.

The Slingboxes allow users to watch TV programs on any device in or outside the home.

Time Warner Cable's decision to subsidize the boxes highlights how cable operators are looking to provide customers with as much content as they can to other devices and their efforts to attract more customers to their highest-speed data offerings, which are capable of delivering very high quality video.

Wideband customers can use the Slingboxes to access all video from their provider.

The initiative is separate from Time Warner Cable's TV Everywhere efforts. But Wideband subscribers to Time Warner Cable's video services will be able to access all Time Warner Cable video content, including authenticated content from the operator's TV Everywhere offerings on PC, tablets and mobile devices at any location.

Wideband customers who are not one of the MSO's video subscribers would not have access to that authenticated content but would be able to use the Slingbox to sling whatever other content they might have available, including content from Netflix to other devices and locations.

The Wideband 50 is a DOCSIS 3.0 product that offers 50 megabyte download speeds and 5 meg upload speeds. It is the operators fastest and most expensive broadband offering.

The operator has not set a timetable for rolling out the promotion to additional markets around the country in its footprint. "We are doing it first in New York and want to see how the promotion goes before considering other markets," the spokesman noted.

Details on the marketing of the promotion and how the rebate program will work are also to be determined, a spokesman confirmed. New customers, customers who upgrade from other Time Warner Cable broadband tiers or existing Wideband customer will receive back the full cost of the Slingbox.

The news that Time Warner Cable would subsidize the cost of the boxes was first reported in the New York Times.