With the rise of the interconnected, “smart” television set, the need for a separate cable box has apparently come to an end – at least, for one cable company and one television manufacturer. Time Warner Cable has announced that Tuesday that it will launch a new app later this year that’ll allow owners of Samsung Smart TVs to stream TWC content directly to their televisions.
The TWC TV app will give those with compatible Samsung Smart sets the opportunity to not just access live programming from local TWC markets, but also 5,000 video-on-demand titles from “nearly 100 networks” at no additional cost, according to Tuesday’s announcement. With its initial launch, only the 2012 Samsung Smart models are compatible with the TWC TV app although the 2013 models will be added later this summer.
Samsung Electronics America’s VP of Content and Product Solutions Eric Anderson said that his company was “very excited to add Time Warner Cable to our growing TV Everywhere offering,” adding that the new TWC TV app “will provide existing Time Warner Cable subscribers with more control and choice for how they access their Time Warner Cable content over their Samsung Smart TVs without having to be tethered to their cable box.”
As is traditional in such announcements, commentary about happy partnerships from one of the companies involved is quickly mirrored by a quote from a representative of the other company. TWC’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video Mike Angus complimented Samsung on giving customers “more flexibility” in the ways we watch TV today.
The app model is certainly an interesting move forward for competitors in the industry. Assuming that TWC’s TV app is successful with Samsung (and, later, other manufacturer’s) televisions, how long before we start seeing the company offering subscriptions for app-only customers, or expanding the availability of the app to mobile customers who don’t already have Time Warner subscriptions? And surely other cable providers will want in on the move to eliminate clunky cable boxes.
It’ll be fascinating to see whether this move is less one of Time Warner Cable consolidating its current customer base. After all, note how Anderson stated that the app will only help existing subscribers. Perhaps the boxless model will appeal to new customers as television continues to move online.