Skip to main content

TWC to Test TV Service for Broadband Subs: Report

Time Warner Cable is about to kick off a beta trial of an IP-based TV offering for broadband-only subs in New York City, Engadget reported Friday  (October 23).

TWC isn’t commenting on the report, but Engadget said the offering, which would eschew traditional cable set-top boxes, will support a variety of streaming video platforms, though the “focus” will be on the Roku platform, and that the MSO will provide participants with a free  Roku 3.

Per Engadget, TWC’s offering, seemingly for cord-cutters and cord-nevers, would feature a “Starter” TV package for an extra $10 per month, an option that would bundle in Showtime and Starz for $20 per month, and a fuller-freight “Standard” tier with that would cost $50 per month and include Showtime and Starz.

Time Warner Cable has already developed authenticated TWC TV apps (for subs on its regular pay TV service) that run on the Xbox One and Xbox 360, iOS and Android mobile devices, Roku, the Kindle Fire HD & HDX, Web browsers, and the Fan TV box (now part of Rovi) and certain Samsung smart TVs.

The report said customers on TWC’s new video offering for broadband-only subs will let customers stream on up to four devices.

After absorbing heavy video losses in recent years, TWC has seen those number improve in 2015, adding 30,000 in Q2 and shedding 45,000 in Q2. Speaking at an investor conference last month, TWC chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said the MSO has a shot to end 2015 in the black with respect to video subs, but noted that the MSO is "not seeing this mass migration to skinny bundles." TWC is scheduled to report Q3 2015 results on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Pursuing broadband-only subs with slimmed-down video bundles has become a trend among traditional MVPDs. Among examples, Charter Communications, which is trying to acquire TWC, has been testing a service called Spectrum TV Stream that starts at $12.99 per month; Comcast is nearing the wide launch of “Stream,”a $15 per month no-contract IP video offering; and Cablevision Systems has launched a batch of packages tailored for cord-cutters.  Dish Network is going after cord-cutters and cord-nevers with Sling TV, an OTT-TV service that launched nationally in February and starts at $20 per month.