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Time Warner Cable Will Let You Ditch Your Cable Box
by Karl Bode 09:22AM Friday Sep 13 2013 Tipped by FastEddie See Profile
Incoming Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus told investors at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch media tech conference this week that Time Warner Cable customers may soon be able to ditch their cable boxes and enjoy greater freedom in selecting the devices they want to manage video services. Cable operators have long fought to prohibit open competition in the set top market to protect cable set top rental fees.

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That control has loosened slightly in recent years as operators allow customers to use things like the Xbox 360 as a cable box and provide their content via applications. Judging from Marcus's comments, things are about to get looser still.

Marcus told attendees that "over the course of the next year or so" the company will be "knocking down some of the current obstacles" in the way of keeping users from solely using a Roku, Apple TV Xbox 360 or other third-party device to access video without a cable box.

Marcus proceeded to make it clear you'll need to subscribe to both Time Warner Cable TV and Time Warner Cable broadband service to enjoy this new freedom, whenever it arrives. He also made it clear that apparently unlike Verizon, Time Warner Cable has no interest in offering an "over the top" broadband video experience.

"At this point, we don't really aspire to delivering an over-the-top service," Marcus said, insisting that he doesn't see the point in "simply being a retailer of somebody else's video."

topics flat nest 

Holy Cable Modem Batman

Washington, DC

Apple TV?



Wisconsin Rapids, WI


Hope for TWC!
San Diego, CA

Easier TiVo?

While not mentioned in this story, any relief for those of us with tuning adapters and a variety of cable cards would be a welcome relief.

tolle causam
Arlington, TX

A step...

...in the right direction.


10 years from now...

If we are still watching tv the same way in 10 years, something has gone terribly wrong.

Texas Gooner
San Benito, TX

Recording shows

What about those of us who like to record shows? Will we lose that capability to record if we decide to go the 360 route?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. - Sir Winston Churchill


Re: Recording shows

Obviously. They said you could ditch the cable box to use Roku, Apple TV, Xbox 360, etc. None of those things record.

Stanhope, NJ
I'd guess cloud-based recording ala Cablevisions network DVR.

Texas Gooner
San Benito, TX
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Recording shows

said by blacknoi:

I'd guess cloud-based recording ala Cablevisions network DVR.

Isn't comcast already using a cloud based system for their new X1 platform too?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. - Sir Winston Churchill

It's Only Logical
·Frontier Communi..

Wouldn't it be nice.

Letting customers own their boxes may help slightly on monthly rates but consider this fact. They're still stuck paying for a lot of extras THEY DON'T WANT!

What If we could just pay for cable in a modified way like we pay for netflix? The current subscription model is outdated and most of the time we're only watching one show at a time. Why should we be using cable boxes wired telephones etc if everything can be made to work through the internet. To much waste.

ONE FEE. One service.

To think big cable companies could just say "You don't have to subscribe or pay subscription fees for any channel unless you view it more then 5 hours total per month and have an active internet subscription." They won't though, because its like the guys who sell stuff online really cheap only to chuck a huge shipping and handling fee to make the products cost more. They will always charge us for bundled crap we don't watch and that money is pure profit. The cable boxes where mostly added to cover equipment cost.

Sarick's Dungeon Clipart

Valencia, CA
·Time Warner Cable

I got a survey about this last week.

It sounds like they're looking at a partnership with Roku. They're considering advertising seamless integration with Netflix and Hulu. Something like this won't be revolutionary until it's linked into their cloud DVR and VOD (who watches live TV anymore?), but it's a great start.

Jason Levine

1 recommendation

Re: I got a survey about this last week.

I've used their current Roku app and it's nice. If they added a DVR "channel" within it to let people manage recordings and watch recorded shows, that would be perfect. I'd ditch our cable box and go Roku-only. (We've had DVRs die in the past and TWC refuses to transfer recorded shows to the new box - insists it's impossible. A cloud DVR would protect against this.)

Of course, we're perpetually on the cusp of cutting cable, so we might go Roku-only anyway.
-Jason Levine


Birmingham, AL

Probably not TiVo...

I assume this means they're working on developing apps for various devices, and all the "features" and UI/UX would ultimately still be TWC controlled. An app for Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, iPad....all developed by TWC, recordings in TWC's datacenter. I would be shocked if this meant real support for CableCARD devices at the same level they support their own boxes or IP devices.
Fast Turtle

·Time Warner Cable

Re: Probably not TiVo...

considering that they've been pushing the Scientific American Cable boxes (uses a cablecard) over the Motarolla boxes and they offer a cablecard (still pay a rental fee) for HDTV's that can use one; I'd have to say that cablecard support (if theirs) is pretty good, otherwise, it'll still be crap.

Santa Monica, CA
·Time Warner Cable

CableCo fought to protect rental fees?

Not quite.

STB's were kept proprietary to prevent signal theft. They are not cheap, though one should expect that an "open" standard will make them so.

Before you celebrate in the end-zone, however, realize that all this will do is shift the capital cost to the customer, and will be complemented by a new (higher) per-device mirroring charge.



Re: CableCo fought to protect rental fees?

Wait a second. First you say that cable boxes are not cheap, but then you say the capital cost will be shifted to the customer and accompanied with higher mirroring fees. How is this mirroring fee not price gouging when the customer is now paying all the capital costs?


said by elray:

Not quite.

STB's were kept proprietary to prevent signal theft. They are not cheap, though one should expect that an "open" standard will make them so.

This doesn't appear to have been a problem in Europe - where there is a common open standard (DVB) across all digital TV platforms, with separable security from day one. In some countries, like Germany, it is no trouble at all to get your new TV, plug it into the cable network, and insert a "conditional access module" (like cablecard, except it works) plus smartcard. No need to worry about supporting X vs Y vs Z vendors - the TV can already receive the DVB signal and the CAM performs the vendor-specific decryption.

It also means that companies aren't tied into a specific vendor's systems - if they want to move they can support multiple vendors with ease.

Many satellite providers do this too - you can buy any satellite receiver you want, insert the CAM, and it works.

Unfortunately I don't experience this as I live in the UK, where the dominant pay TV company locks it down to their hardware only. At least I can buy one of their boxes for a very low price (I paid £20 for the last one, an HD PVR) from the likes of eBay and use it on my account - no stupid rental charges on my bill.

Anaheim, CA


Im starting to like new CEO. lol

Support The Clecs

Danbury, CT


"At this point, we don't really aspire to delivering an over-the-top service," Marcus said, insisting that he doesn't see the point in "simply being a retailer of somebody else's video."

What does he think a cable operator is now? Does Time Warner cable produce every show they broadcast down the coax?
"Speak for yourself "Chadmaster" - lesopp


Buffalo, NY

Re: What?

I know right!

So they are keeping unlimited around and may let you use your own devices instead of the cable box but what I want to know I.......Where's the poop?


Dallas, TX

Friday Quote Of The Day

"The more things change, the more they stay the same"

Brookfield, WI
·Time Warner Cable

TiVo, Roku and Xbox...got it all

I got rid of all the cable boxes after Roku 3 and TWC app rolled out. Have a TiVo Premiere 4 tuner and a Tivo Mini so all I have from TWC is a tuning adapter and cable card for 4 TVs. No only if theyd roll out the good cable cards so switched digital worked properly. I had a Tier 3 crack open a cable box and crank it up in my Tivo...worked perfectly. So that proved my point that TWC purposely roll out inferior equipment to deter use of non-TWC equipment yet enough to meet the letter of the law of the cable card agreements. In fact if it wasnt for football season, Id cut the cord and sell the Tivos because TWC makes it impossible to use them.Got spoiled when we had Fios, everything just worked and no stupid extra equipment. Xbox app works similar to Roku. Itd be nice if Microsfot allowed it to be used as a DVR. Plus not only were we in a market that had the CBS ban but also NBC so luckily I had an old TIVO HD XL that records OTA so we
Charlotte, NC
·Time Warner Cable


Did I not see on DSLReports where the FCC or some group was about to end the must carry Networks forcing the cable companies to carry extra channels no one watches. TWC played this game with me on the $3 charge (now $6) for the internet modem. I paid the $100 and bought my own. Also dropped the VoIP that had reached $50 a month.
Not sure if the best thing that could happen is a move to being a dumb pipe internet and let the customer deal with a content provider. If they went to a FTTH monoply dump pipe like you get your power and water.

Mayhem til the AM
Tuckahoe, NY

Different Fee

I'm sure they'll just charge you a fee for porting their programming/info to your own cable box replacement.



TWC Cable boxes

I just moved out of TWC service area and they have been saying this for a while ... Even though they may allow you to have your own box they will most likely still charge a fee for doing so.




lol wat