TWC's New Cable Box Is… A Roku

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2013 — 15 Comments

Roku-TWC

Roku, a cord cutter favorite for over-the-top video streaming that’s now approaching 5 million units moved, is trumpeting the imminent arrival of Time Warner Cable onto their platform here at CES. The app, scheduled to drop this first quarter of 2013 and available to current Roku models, will bring 300 channels of cable to TWC subscribers. Similar to what competing provider Verizon once demoed. Yet, without a numeric keyboard on the remote and given presumably Internet-streamed video, changing channels won’t exactly be “television” like and we suspect this “cable” box would be most suitable for secondary rooms and home gyms. And it’ll be interesting to see if TWC counts this data usage against their metered broadband, unlike Comcast’s brushes with net neutrality piping Xfinity to Xbox.

In other Roku CES news, they’ve hit the 700 channel milestone. While you won’t be interested in most, there’s bound to be a few worth catching. And amongst the new offerings, Vevo and PBS will surely joining my rotation. Additionally, the Roku Streaming Stick is now compatible with several new MHL-equipped HDTV partners — although I’m not convinced there’s a market for this poorly understood technology. No mention yet of a possible YouTube channel or the promised UI refresh… but the show is still young and Roku will be on display tonight at the Digital Experience press event.

UPDATE: As of 3/5, the Time Warner Cable channel is now available to TWC subscribers with Roku 2 models.

15 responses to TWC's New Cable Box Is… A Roku

  1. Bonus points if it automatically enables other channels on Roku that require account validation like Epix and HBO Go if the channel lineup includes them.

    I look forward to hearing their pricing and availability in areas where traditional TWC isn’t available (the case where I live).

  2. Jeff, I’m pretty sure this will only be available to current TWC regions/customers and not available as “virtual” MSO.

  3. This is good news. I have been waiting for the Tivo Mini to do this for my bedroom TV. Since I already have a Roku hooked to that set this fills that bill. Can’t access recordings but was really only interested in Live TV for this set anyway. Too bad Tivo has dragged their feet on the Mini as other services are stepping in and quickly filling that void.

  4. Roku has been hitting it out of the park. Who wants to bet that TiVo ends up buying them by the end of 2014?

  5. I expect this is basically the same as the iPad app. It works fine as a cable box, and in demand works great too, but it’s obviously not a DVR. Still, very cool.

    Hey, man, I’ve been saying that TiVo should buy or partner with Roku for years now.

  6. I think Roku missed their opportunity to cash out when they passed on Amazon. And DISH is now a big investor. A Roku TiVo client would be divine. I’d even say they could sell the app ($25?) or add a small monthly service fee ($2.99) to generate a little incremental revenue instead of saddling me with more TiVo (Mini) hardware.

  7. Building on @Rodalpho’s point… if this is similar to the iPad app, then it might be available from TWC at no charge (assuming that you are already a TWC subscriber).

  8. Yes it’s the same initiative as the iPad app, which goes by TWC TV, and it will be free to cable subscribers. Press release given to me a day or so ago indicated as much.

  9. What does “up to” 300 channels mean? I think most people who use the TWC TV app on iOS or Android (or PC) only get 30-45 live channels. Does this mean the Roku version will have significantly more rights/channels, somehow? Or will TWC roll out more channels to all platforms?

  10. Now that the TW app includes OnDemand channels this is a quick and easy way I can finally access OnDemand on my television since I have a TiVo and won’t get a TWC STB.

    This may get me to buy a Roku.

  11. Yeah, ondemand is useful if your tivo misses a show due to TWC’s connection sucking. That’s about it.

    It includes commercials, which you can sometimes skip on the iPad, and sometimes not. Not sure how that works on the Roku.

  12. I’m curious – how is it similar to the iOS/Android app if it has 300 channels, while at least the Android app tops out under 100?

  13. It says “up to”. The number of channels available changes in various markets.

    I didn’t know they released an android version. Does it have on demand? Live TV isn’t particularly useful, for me at least.

  14. I read the press-release. You are correct and I am disappointed though not surprised now that I think about it.

  15. Could you use this when you are in different parts of the country? I have time warner in WI but I travel all over the country. Could I hook this up to my hotel TV and watch local programing from WI?

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