Talking tech since 2003

For cord cutters, the options for accessing live TV are scant. There is a ray of hope out in Orange County, California, though — that’s where Cox Communications is testing an Internet-delivered TV initiative called flareWatch. The service costs $34.99 and provides access to 97 live channels and 30 hours of cloud-based DVR storage. If flareWatch becomes available to all Cox customers, it could force the hand of other cable providers who are lagging behind significantly.

The Fanhattan Fan TV box used with Cox's flareWatch Internet TV service.
The Fanhattan Fan TV box used with Cox’s flareWatch Internet TV service.

Here’s life for a typical cord cutter: if you’re lucky enough to be within range of local television signals, you can watch network programming over the air for free. Other than that, most of your viewing is likely time-shifted and done through Hulu, Netflix or a service that sells day-late TV episodes. This Cox service, accessible through a $99 Fanhattan Fan TV box, would be made available to customers who are already paying for Cox’s broadband Internet product, and would give these customers an additional option for live TV that isn’t as expensive as Cox’s $64 Advance TV package.

What’s the benefit for Cox to offer this service? It’s priced cheaply enough to tempt Internet-only customers to make the leap over to cable TV. It also includes many of the popular channels that cord cutters miss when they leave cable TV behind. While flareWatch drops over 200 channels compared to Cox’s Advance TV package, it does cost about $30 less. For those who are watching their budget closely enough to forego live TV, $30 may be a pretty significant amount to save.

Cox is the nation’s third-largest cable TV provider, so while it’s customer base is nothing to sneeze at, it’s nowhere near as powerful as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Still, if its flareWatch initiative proves to be popular with its broadband customers, it might pique the interest of the larger providers and convince them that offering a similar service is a good idea. We can always dream, right?

I’d love to get your thoughts on flareWatch. Does this sound like something you’d pay for if your cable company offered it? Drop a line below with your thoughts.

(h/t Engadget)

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