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Your Next Time Warner Cable Set-Top Box: Roku

Phillip Dampier January 9, 2013 Consumer News, Online Video, TWC (see Charter), Video 4 Comments
The Roku set top streaming device.

The Roku set top streaming device.

The days of renting expensive set top boxes from Time Warner Cable may finally be coming to an end, at least if you happen to subscribe to the cable company’s broadband service.

Time Warner Cable this week announced a new partnership with Roku that will bring 300 Time Warner Cable channels to the video streaming device.

Time Warner Cable customers who also own Roku devices will soon find a TWC “channel” on the menu, from which subscribers can access the same streamed content found on the cable company’s viewing apps for iOS and Android devices. The service represents true IPTV television — an all digital experience streamed over Time Warner Cable’s broadband service.

Customers only have to pay for the Roku device, which ranges from $50-100. Lower priced units do not deliver a true HD viewing experience. Higher priced models support 1080p viewing and support additional features like motion control for games and external USB and Ethernet ports. Time Warner Cable currently limits HD viewing to 480p on its streaming apps, so a cheaper unit may suffice for secondary television sets.

Roku boxes also offer cable customers other viewing options apart from Time Warner Cable, including independent networks, games, movie channels, foreign language and ethnic programming, religious entertainment, global news, and a variety of self-produced and public access programming from cities around the country. Roku boxes also support Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand.

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But there are a few downsides, at least for the moment. Local broadcast channels are not currently available except in New York City, but that is expected to change soon. Recording programming delivered over a Roku box is not easily possible, and viewing will reduce available bandwidth on your broadband connection.

Considering Time Warner now charges just shy of $8.50 a month for each set top box, switching to Roku will pay for itself in as little as six months. Time Warner Cable expects most customers will consider the streaming device for televisions in bedrooms and guest rooms.

Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku has had a blockbuster year, doubling the number of its employees and approaching five million units sold. Last year, consumers watched more than one billion hours of television over Roku devices.

Time Warner Cable’s NY1 reports on the Roku-Time Warner partnership that will let customers stream the cable company’s lineup without a traditional set top box. (1 minute)

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. Alex Perrier says:

    Good news indeed! This is about the same size as an Apple TV, so it will be more power-efficient too. i wonder if creating such small receivers is possible for satellite customers.

  2. dwgsp says:

    Does anyone know if TWC still requires HD cable TV subscribers to have at least one of the STBs? I know that when I got my TivoHD a few years ago, they required me to have a STB in the house (it did not have to be connected :-). I currently have a TWC HD STB connected to my basement TV, and would love to eliminate the $7.18 monthly charge for the STB/remote.


  3. Loons In June! says:

    You dont need to have a set top box in WNY.


  4. Low Tech says:

    I have a Roku and mainly use it for Netflix. I am not a TWC tv subscriber, but do use their RoadRunner service.

    I hope they jump on this new peering arrangement Netflix has setup using open source hardware/software.


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