TW Cable Slings for Wideband
5:15 PM -- Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has launched a promotion that matches Slingboxes with the MSO's 50Mbit/s (downstream) Docsis 3.0 service. (See TW Cable Slings a Wideband Play .)
Under the campaign, which started on Tuesday and is limited to the MSO's New York City cable system, TW Cable is subsidizing the cost of EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS)'s $300 Slingbox Pro-HD video place-shifting device.
It's an attempt by the MSO to push the TV Everywhere idea forward and draw more attention to TWC's wideband offering, while also sending a shot across the bow at programmers who got upset with the MSO for its iPad app. (See Fox to TW Cable: Stop Streaming Our Stuff .)
And it costs bandwidth. TWC had fiddled with broadband meters and usage-based pricing a while back, but mothballed them amid a wicked backlash. The MSO doesn't meter its cable modem service today, but all bets are off when users try to access their Slingboxes on the go. (See TWC Mothballs New Metering Trials .)
And the Slingbox apparently has quite the appetite for wireless bandwidth. According to data collected and analyzed by Sandvine Inc. , Slingbox users tapping in via their preferred mobile networks average 800 kbit/s, while Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) users average just 125 kbit/s.
"With unlimited download mobile plans quickly becoming a thing of the past, TWC subscribers should keep a keen eye on their data usage in order to avoid being surprised by data overages that the Slingbox could bring," Sandvine warns.
Sure, heavy mobile users could see the value of the MSO's Slingbox subsidy go up in smoke if they exceed their caps. But even with Sandvine's warning, I still think this is a great way for TWC to target consumers who were on the fence about paying a D3 premium. Is the promise of a Slingbox rebate enough for you to take the D3 plunge?
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable