Streaming is often seen as a threat to cable providers, but Time Warner Cable has decided to see how the two services can help one another. As part of a new Roku TV beta service that launched Tuesday, Time Warner Cable is offering Internet-only customers in New York City access to its programming content over a Roku 3 set-top box, reports Ars Technica.
There are currently three plans from which beta testers can choose: Starter TV, which costs $10 per month and includes basic channels such as ABC, NBC, Fox, and over 20 more; Starter TV plus Showtime and Starz for $20 per month; and a bundle of 70+ channels, including Showtime and Starz, for $50 per month. Users do have to sign a 12-month contract, but Time Warner Cable will provide the Roku 3 device that cuts out the need for a cable box.
Those who sign up will be able to download the TWC app, and then start streaming with their Roku 3 device. It sounds like it has the potential to be both cheaper and more convenient than subscribing to cable and dealing with the installation. At the same time, however, the service lacks the flexibility that many cord cutters enjoy; not only does it sound like there’s no way to customize the channels included with your bundle, the system lacks a way to easily time-shift. If you miss your show, well, you’re out of luck.
Time Warner Cable isn’t the only provider testing out new ways to deliver its services. Comcast announced plans for Stream in July, an Internet streaming service intended to offer 12 channels, while Cox announced a new streaming service called Flare MeTV on Monday, which will offer mainly content curated from across the web, as well as some licensed TV content. We’ll have to add this to the list of ongoing experiments and wait to see how it plays out.