Slowly but surely, cable companies are starting to understand that online streaming is the future of home entertainment, and rather than trying to fight the cord-cutting craze, more and more of them are cashing in on it. Charter has become the latest such company to do so with a new service called Spectrum, which offers as many as 35 broadcast networks for a $12.99/month subscription fee. Users can also choose a $19.99/month option that adds more than a dozen popular cable channels to the streaming roster. Also, for a limited time, Charter is throwing in a free Roku 3 with every subscription.
Charter Communications has been quietly operating a streaming-TV subscription service for at least the past couple of weeks, as first reported by HomeMedia Magazine. Called Spectrum TV Stream, the service offers up to 35 broadcast networks (the “big four,” plus local channels) in combination with either HBO or Showtime as part of its basic $13-per-month subscription tier. For those who find this offering too thin, there’s also a $20-per-month plan that adds more than a dozen cable channels to the mix, including A&E, ABC Family (or Freedom), AMC, Discovery, ESPN, HallMark, History, H2, HGTV, Food Network, FX, Lifetime, National Geographic, TBS and TLC. For a limited time, the company is even throwing in a free Roku 3 media streamer with each subscription. A $5 credit is applied to your monthly broadband bill to offset the upfront unit cost, a Charter rep told HomeMedia earlier this month. Charter is not alone in trying to reach out to cord cutters and cord nevers through a skinny combination of basic TV and a premium TV network. Comcast announced an Internet-TV offering along similar lines a couple of months back. Likewise, Time Warner Cable—the company Charter hopes to merge with before the end of the year—is rumored to have opted for the same content formula for its own streaming product.