Time Warner Cable to add another app platform: Apple TV?
Incoming CEO Rob Marcus says Time Warner Cable will unveil this week an additional platform for its TWC TV app and hints that Netflix could come to its set-top boxes.
NEW YORK -- Time Warner Cable incoming Chief Executive Rob Marcus said the company this week will add another platform to the list that can access its TWC TV app, which enables subscribers to stream live channels and watch videos on demand.
Apple TV has been rumored all year to be next for TWC TV.
After starting out as a glorified Netflix streaming box, Apple TV has bulked up with some desirable channels -- this year adding Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Watch ESPN, and Major League Soccer. While the addition of HBO Go in June made good on one content stream that was rumored to be in the offing, TWC has yet to materialize.
The TWC TV app is already available on Roku, Xbox 360, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices, as well as on PCs.
Though Apple TV is the most likely platform for TWC to add, another high-profile possibility is Google's Chromecast. The video-streaming dongle launched earlier this year and quickly came under such high demand that it was on back order for weeks. It also topped the best-seller list for consumer electronics at Amazon.com's massive store for months.
Chromecast has been slow to launch partners on its device though.
Apple and Google representatives both declined to comment.
At an investor conference in New York hosted by UBS, Marcus also said that Time Warner Cable was open to allowing over-the-top services -- think Netflix and Hulu -- to take up residence right alongside its cable video offerings.
"There is the other question of whether or not we ought to make some of these online services available on the set-top box. I think that's an interesting concept, and we're certainly open to" it, he said.
However, he said that TWC has begun to adopt the capabilities that make over-the-top services attractive in the first place: accessiblity on IP-enabled devices.
"To scratch that itch that customers have, we've been...on the forefront within the cable industry of making our video product available on an increasing number of IP-enabled devices," he said. "When TWC TV is available on the Roku, it's sitting next to Netflix, so the customer really has access to all of the services that they may enjoy, which I think is the right solution for customers."
Traditional pay-TV providers in the US have been leery of coexisting with over-the-top services, even though some pay-TV providers abroad have begun limited partnerships with Netflix. Cable companies and others historically have been wary of these services as the prospect of "cord cutters," people who completely disconnect their cable service in favor of Internet-delivered options, though the number of consumers cutting the cord is very low.
And Marcus noted that over-the-top services bolster TWC's business of providing Internet connectivity.
"We continue to view the online video viewing as a positive for the broadband business," he said.
Updated at 8:40 a.m. PT: with Apple declining comment and Marcus comments about over-the-top possibilities.
Updated at 9:15 a.m. PT: with Google declining comment.