After running a trial in Southern California earlier this summer, Cox is now working on a commercial pay TV offering that would stream live TV over the internet, according to a report by LightReading. Details on that upcoming service are still scarce, but delivering TV over the internet as opposed to traditional cable infrastructure would allow Cox to reach customers outside of its home market, and compete more directly with companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Cox launched a service called Flarewatch in Orange County, Calif. earlier this year, offering customers access to 90 TV channels as well as a cloud-based DVR for $40 a month. Flarewatch used set-top boxes from Fan TV, transmitted all programming over the internet and also bundled subscription music from Rhapsody. However, Cox ended the trial prematurely in September, refunding consumers for all of their expenses.
Cox CTO Kevin Hart told LightReading that his company is now in a post-mortem evaluation phase of Flarewatch, but he didn’t say whether Cox intends to use Fan TV’s hardware for any future offering.
An internet TV service could be Cox’s ticket to offer TV nationwide, and bring more competition to the TV space. But it would also directly compete with any attempt to launch internet-based TV services from companies like Intel and Sony.
Sony has reportedly been talking to networks to launch a TV offering, but hasn’t publicly commented on its plans. Intel intended to launch its own TV service by the end of the year, but will likely now miss that deadline as the future of the service seems uncertain. Most recently, Intel has been talking to Verizon to either partner on or outright sell its TV unit.