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Cox Testing TV Over Broadband, But It Eats Your Monthly Internet Usage Allowance

Phillip Dampier July 3, 2013 Consumer News, Cox, Editorial & Site News, Internet Overcharging, Online Video, Video 1 Comment

flare-logoCox Communications has found a new way to target cord-cutters and sell television service to its broadband-only customers reluctant to sign up for traditional cable television.

flareWatch is a new IPTV service delivered over Cox’s broadband service. For $34.99 a month, customers participating in a market trial in Orange County, Calif. receive 97 channels.  About one-third are local over the air stations from the Los Angeles area, one-third top cable networks, and the rest a mixture of ethnic, home shopping, and public service networks. Expensive sports channels like ESPN are included, but most secondary cable networks typically found only on digital tiers are not. Premium movie channels like HBO are also not available.

The service is powered by Fanhattan’s IPTV set-top box. Cox offers up to three “Fan TV” devices to customers for $99.99 each.

xopop

flareWatch’s channel lineup in Orange County, Calif.

The service is only sold to customers with Preferred tier (or higher) broadband service and is being marketed to customers who have already turned down Cox cable television.

What Cox reserves for the fine print is an admission the use of the service counts against your monthly broadband usage allowance. Preferred customers are now capped at 250GB of usage per month. While occasional viewing may not put many customers over Cox’s usage caps, forgetting to switch off the Fan TV set-top box(es) when done watching certainly might. flareWatch also includes another usage eater — a cloud-based DVR service. Cox does not strictly enforce its usage caps and does not currently impose any overlimit fees, but could do so in the future.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Cox FlareWatch 7-13.mp4

Cox’s brief promotional video introducing flareWatch. (1 minute)

Cool... usage capped.

Cool… usage capped.

Cox spokesman Todd Smith described the introduction of flareWatch as a “small trial,” and that “customer feedback will determine if we proceed with future plans.”

The service is clearly intended to target young adults that are turning down traditional cable television packages. Most of those are avid broadband subscribers, so introducing a “lite” cable television package could be a way Cox can boost the average revenue received from this type of customer. It may also serve as a retention tool when customers call to disconnect cable television service.

The MSO is selling flareWatch at five Cox Solutions stores in Irvine, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Laguna Niguel.

Customers (and those who might be) can share their thoughts with Cox about flareWatch by e-mailing [email protected] and/or [email protected] Stop the Cap! encourages readers to tell Cox to ditch its usage cap, and point out the current cap on your Cox broadband usage is a great reason not to even consider the service.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/The Verge Fan TV revealed is this the set-top box weve been waiting for 5-30-13.flv

The Verge got a closer look at the technology powering flareWatch back in May. Fan TV could be among the first set-top boxes to achieve “cool” status. Unfortunately, technical innovation collides with old school cable company usage caps, which might deter a lot of Cox’s broadband customers from using the service.  (4 minutes)

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. FrankM says:

    Cox spokesman Todd Smith needs to be told that 97 channels is not a “lite” TV subscription. And $35/month is not acceptable. Neither is the requirement that the customer needs a certain internet service tier.

    The need to compete on price with the Netflix, Amazon, Redbox , and Hulu subscribers. There should be smaller channel packages offered at no more than $8.99 a month.

    Broadcast channels should be an optional, separate package. If you are a cord cutter, you likely know what channels are available for FREE.

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  • Jason: I work from home and I'll be damned if they are going to charge me any fees or cap my usage. Just wait until Google fiber comes to Phoenix and the ex...
  • chris: was just curious to what cox had to say about all this cash cow bussiness and heres what they told me Thank you for choosing Cox Communications....
  • Joe V: I hope the people of New Jersey are happy. They voted for Chris Christie and this is exactly what they got....
  • Susan: After diligently watching my credit score for over a year and how negative as well as positive postings affect it, I have a hard time believing that o...
  • David Therchik: An intense investigation needs to put into this! As soon as one starts I bet they'll stop charging/cheating people from over usage. Before they bought...
  • Charles Bingham: I did but customer no service was no help - said it did no good to have pass word with symbols, cap and small letters and #'s. IF only I had an alte...
  • Phillip Dampier: That assumes this customer had access to a working usage meter and notification messages and ignored them. Evidently it was big enough of a problem fo...
  • Are you kidding me...: "Over the years" people are using the internet differently. If your bill went up, you have usage. Responsible would be calling and talking to them ab...
  • Charles Bingham: Actually my usage has decreased over the years as I sold my business and only kept the internet for a few tax returns that I still do, no employees no...
  • Are you kidding me...: This entire article reeks of "poor me, I'm a victim and I can't be responsible about my own Internet usage, my own bills or my own actions." Grow up....

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