Cable Technology Feature Article
Full Streaming of Time Warner Cable Content to Roku 3 is Not Disruptive
By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable and Roku are collaborating to add a Time Warner Cable streaming service to a Roku 3 box, providing live linear channels with video on demand similar to what’s offered to users of the TWC iOS app and TWCTV.com service.
Whether the offering is disruptive, legacy business sustaining, or merely another option, is subject to change.
In this case, the video business model actually doesn’t change. Consumers still buy both a broadband access service and a video entertainment service. What is new is one more box that allows viewing of Internet-delivered video to the television.
The capability is not as good for suppliers of traditional cable TV decoders, as the new app can operate without the need for a specific cable video service decoder.
TWC’s Roku app represents “the first time” a complete multichannel video package is available without the need for a cable box on a TV, argues BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.
Comcast, though, has offered video on demand from Xbox, and Verizon (News - Alert) FiOS has likewise offered a limited selection of live channels by Xbox.
The TWC and Roku app delivers 300 live linear channels and a VOD Time Warner Cable decoder.
For consumers, the upside is the ability to watch the full package of video purchased from Time Warner Cable, without buying or renting another decoder, other than the Roku 3 unit.
For TWC, individuals will see less of a need to deploy an expensive decoder in their homes.
Some will call this “TV as an app,” in the same way that people once said “voice is an app.” There are many potential business implications. Some think that will lead to TV becoming an over-the-top product, as voice now has become.
Others might argue it’ll add convenience, but otherwise leave the existing video subscription business largely intact (that, of course, is what TWC hopes will be the case).
Others might argue the biggest change will be to increase the amount of time-shifted TV watched by consumers. In that sense, the new app represents a change similar to that of a digital video recorder.
People watch programs in non-real time. They might watch fewer commercials. So there could be repercussions for the advertising part of the business.Ironically, making the full menu of content available to Roku 3 on a streaming basis strengthens, and does not “disrupt,” the existing video model. TWC would not be doing this if that was the likely outcome.
Edited by Braden Becker