Almost as quickly as it began, Cox Communications' beta test of a new IPTV service called flareWatch has come to an end.
Cox Communications Inc. confirmed to Light Reading that the trial, which was built around Fanhattan's Fan TV experience and announced in July, has been discontinued, although the company is still reviewing results from the ground-breaking experiment. (See Cox Flirts With Fanhattan.)
A Cox spokesman said:
This limited trial was conducted as part of Cox's ongoing customer research to determine how to best evolve our offerings to meet customers' changing needs. We remain focused on helping customers discover and connect to the things they care about in ways that are easy-to-use and reliable and we will continue to test and explore new products. We will continue to evaluate the flareWatch trial results to determine how this might impact future product plans.
Commenting on the end of the Cox experiment, a Fanhattan spokesperson said in a statement:
The Orange County trial has successfully completed. We collected excellent customer feedback and usage data to inform our broader deployment of Fan TV. As announced in May, Fanhattan plans to work directly with pay TV service providers to distribute Fan TV. Making sure it's ready for primetime requires rigorous testing, trial customer feedback and constant iteration. This limited trial was a small, early step in that direction.
The flareWatch trial was novel because Cox bundled the IPTV service with broadband access. For a price of only $34.99 per month -- cheaper than a standard cable TV package -- subscribers received 97 channels, including top stations such as ESPN, Disney, and Discovery. The service also included 30 hours of cloud DVR storage, and used both the Fan TV set-top and Fanhattan's user interface.
Fanhattan surprised many when it launched its Fan TV set-top earlier this year and then again when it announced the pilot program with Cox. Although the Cox trial was limited, Fanhattan CEO Gilles BianRosa has said that more partnership announcements are on the way.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable