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TWC Goes OTT With Roku Box

Time Warner Cable is now on the same footing as Netflix — and hundreds of other over-the-top video services — on Roku’s Internet-connected set-tops.

The operator’s TWC TV service is available, at no extra charge, only to customers who already have video and broadband service from the MSO. The service, which provides up to 300 live channels, went live last week on Roku; it’s also available for Apple’s iPad and iPhone, Android devices and PC browsers.

The Roku option gives customers “a great complementary service in the home, offering thousands of programs at their fingertips,” Mike Angus, senior vice president and general manager of video for Time Warner Cable, said. The operator plans to add access to on-demand content for Roku users later this year.

The move shows that Time Warner Cable, like other pay TV operators, is concerned about losing viewers to Internet rivals — and wants to ensure its content is available on the same devices.

For now, the TWC TV services are confined to use within a subscriber’s home because of programming carriage agreements. But technically, there’s no reason they couldn’t be accessed from any broadband connection.

Also last week, Roku launched the third generation of its trademark Internet set-top boxes with an overhauled user interface aimed at making it easier to find channels. Among other enhancements, the $99.99 Roku 3 includes a remote with a headphone jack for private listening and features a Broadcom dual-core ARMbased processor chip for snappier performance; the chip is about five times faster than the one in the Roku 2 XS.

Roku has sold some 5 million set-tops since it launched its fi rst device for streaming Netfl ix video in 2008. Last year, Roku users watched more than 1 billion hours of video.

Other services on Roku include Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On- Demand, Disney, Fox News Channel, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, UFC and Walmart’s Vudu.