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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 30, 2011

Time Warner's Subsidizing of Slingbox a Win-Win for Both Companies

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

It seems in today’s ever changing entertainment market companies need to adapt or fall by the wayside. At first glance, Time Warner (News - Alert) was one of the companies that seemed poised to fall by the wayside but recent moves have shown a different outlook. Time Warner, which has long been thought of as a company slow to embrace new technology is looking more like a forward thinking 21st century cable company with some recent decisions. 

Time Warner has long had a kind of home telephone service that could be integrated with your cable package to see who was calling you on your television screen. Now it appears that with the rolling out of VoiceZone they are taking that one step further. This program allows people to access their phone records from anywhere on the net. Still, the company is a cable giant and that means that its meat and potatoes is in the television industry. In this regard the move to subsidizetheSlingbox devices for their customers makes perfect sense. 

Slingbox is of the great little device that will stream your cable channels to any computer you choose, meaning you can watch a program on the comfort of your laptop if someone has already claimed the big screen in the living room. Time Warner, by subsidizing the Slingbox helps a company that is struggling to keep up with the likes of the AppleTV and other streaming media devices while covering their own backside. Because Slingbox streams regular television programming instead of Hulu (News - Alert) or Netflix, customers still have to be paying users of Time Warner’s cable service to get any great use from the device.

Even more shrewd is the way Time Warner has gone about this. For any customer who is using the $99 a month “wideband” package, Time Warner will issue you a $300 certificate towards the purchase of the Slingbox, essentially making the device free. Then when the users take on the Slingbox they will be able to literally watch their television wherever they have a computer and an internet connection. This development means that Time Warner can compete with other cable companies that are offering new and innovative ways to allow their customers to watch their programming on their laptops and tablets.

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Edited by Jennifer Russell