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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 28, 2012

Time Warner Cable Seeking Third Party Set Top Box After Failed Talks with Apple

By Shankar Pandiath, TMCnet Contributor

At a time when every cable service provider is trying to revolutionize the television industry, Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable is no different.

Rob Marcus, president of Time Warner Cable, spoke at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference recently, where he indicated that if it finds both cause and conditions suitable, it is willing to sell TV subscriptions and employ a third party technology.

Time Warner Cable Inc. is the second-largest cable company in the U.S., delivering products and services to more than 14 million customers. A leader in fiber optics and cable industry, its corporate headquarters are located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

TWC is certainly not going to provide the complete control of its subscriptions, however, it is willing to share its profits and technology with a third party user interface, when the customer can control the subscription directly with Time Warner Cable’s services. In simpler terms, it means that Time Warner Cable is thinking about using a third party set top box, rather than using a general cable TV device.

According to media reports, there was a buzz last month that Apple (News - Alert) discussed this idea with Time Warner Cable. The company showed genuine interest in using a device from Apple for managing and operating its cable TV subscriptions. There were reports about the subscription of Time Warner Cable made available at the Apple Store, but because of Apple’s inclination for more control, the discussion ended in a failure.

Apparently, if Time Warner Cable and Apple did come to an agreement, the subscribers would be able to enjoy the revolutionized TV entertainment, as it would enhance their TV viewing experience. 

TWC has been a successful cable TV business for a long time, but it simply couldn’t progress with the changing times. According to television and cable service critics and experts, the user interface, which Time Warner Cable provides, actually limits the amount of cable TV contents available for viewers, which unfortunately is a huge drawback. With a long list of available cable subscribing services, the Time Warner Cable is facing tough competition, as many of the modern day operators are already offering technologically advanced devices with extra benefits.  TWC however has understood this shortcoming of their limited user interface, and are now open to any third party vendor that can offer them a good deal.  

An earlier statement made by Time Warner Cable indicates that it is seeking assistance from any technologically advanced, cable TV set top box producing company to enhance its services. However, it does not point out that the rumors about talk with Apple were actually true. Rob Marcus has surely not mentioned Apple in his statement, and so it can be assumed that they are open for a set top box maker’s offer. The Time Warner Cable is surely showing good intentions, but the future is still waiting to reveal itself.

Want to learn more about how video is helping to transform the industry? Don’t miss Video World Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Austin 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Video World Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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