Time Warner Cable will let you junk your set-top box next year

Time Warner Cable will let you junk your set-top box next year

By | Sep 12, 2013

TWC’s incoming chief executive said the cable company is removing obstacles over the next year that keep your preferred over-the-top device, like Roku or Xbox, from replacing its set-top boxes entirely.

Time Warner Cable customers, if you’ve ever dreamed of chucking your set-top box, that vision is on track to becoming reality soon.

Chief Operating Officer Robert Marcus, who will become the cable company’s chief executive next year, said at a conference Wednesday that Time Warner Cable should, within about a year, be able to let over-the-top devices replace set-top boxes.

To get Time Warner Cable’s programming without a set-top box, customers would need to be both video and Internet subscribers in order to authenticate that the video being watched is what is being paid for, a company representative said.

But Time Warner Cable is about two-thirds of the way through a process ensuring that its local programming is encoded so it can be delivered via apps, according to Marcus. It’s working on making sure the service would still comply with regulations like providing closed captioning and emergency alerts and with sports contracts that black out certain sports in certain markets, he said.

“At this point, we don’t really aspire to delivering an over-the-top service,” he said, adding that he was skeptical that there was a viable business in “simply being a retailer of somebody else’s video.”

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