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Time Warner Cable to serve up free Slingboxes to D3 subs in NYC

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 8:25am
Mike Robuck

Time Warner Cable will be offering free Slingboxes to New York City-area subscribers of its DOCSIS 3.0 Wideband Internet tier starting near the end of September.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Justin Venech said the Slingboxes, which retail for $300, would be available to new and current Wideband Internet tier customers, as well as subscribers who upgrade from a lower tier. In order to take part in the Slingbox promotion, customers have to apply for the rebates.

New York City was where Time Warner Cable’s Wideband Internet tier, which features speeds of up to 50 Mbps down and 5 up, first made its debut in 2009.

Wideband Internet costs $99.95 a month in Time Warner Cable's New York City footprint.

A Slingbox allows viewers to watch their home TV programs anywhere. Slingbox was sold to EchoStar in 2007, and the devices have been a staple in Dish Network's HD DVRs and set-top boxes since then.

"We think this is a consumer electronics device that pairs will with our Wideband Internet product," Venech said.

New York City has been a battleground for Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. In addition to satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network, Verizon has aggressively rolled out its FiOS video service in the New York City metropolitan area.

Offering a free Slingbox is also a shot across the bow of Viacom, which opposed Time Warner Cable’s TV Everywhere iPad app. The two sides were headed toward a legal battle before deciding in June to work on a resolution outside of the courtroom.

While content rights are being worked out for TV Everywhere-type content across multiple screens and mobile devices, the Slingbox has been in the clear for years, which means Time Warner Cable has skirted at least some of the content rights issues with its promotion.

The New York Times first reported on Time Warner Cable's plan to offer free Slingboxes to its DOCSIS 3.0 subscribers in New York City.

Time Warner Cable said in its most recent second-quarter earnings report that it had DOCSIS 3.0 deployed in 60 percent of its footprint and expected to have it fully rolled out next year. Time Warner Cable added 25,000 wideband subscribers in the second quarter.

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