The lines between internet and traditional TV continue to blur as Netflix makes its video library available to about 700,000 cable subscribers in the U.S. starting Monday.
The streaming service has entered into agreements with pay-TV operators Atlantic Broadband, RCN Telecom Services and Grande Communications that give Netflix a channel on the TiVO set-top box, which people pay a monthly fee to access. Customers do still have to have a Netflix subscription to use the Netflix app, in addition to their sub to the DVR service for one of those providers.
Given that Netflix members can already stream the content onto their living room TVs through Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, among other smart-TV boxes, the significance of the deal is perhaps more symbolic in that it signals the company’s ambitions to become a major rival to cable TV operators like HBO. Despite the fact that other SVOD services like Amazon and Hulu Plus are bolstering their original and licensed content, Netflix insists its main long-term competitors are MVPDs that keep investing in improving their TV Everywhere offerings — for example HBO Go and Xfinity from Comcast.
This is Netflix’s first cable TV deal in the U.S., allowing those subscribers to access the content without switching back and forth between different set-top boxes and remote controls.
“Our view has long been that the marriage of linear television and streaming over-the-top (OTT) TV is the future of television, and Netflix has clearly emerged as a must-have OTT service,” TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement.
TiVo also provided cable operator implementations of Netflix with European partners Virgin and Com Hem.
Atlantic Broadband is a subsidiary of Cogeco Cable providing TV, internet and phone services to about 230,000 subscribers. Grande Communications offers similar broadband services to about 140,000 customers in Texas, and RCN Telecom Services is a broadband ISP with about 330,000 subscribers around Boston, Washington D.C., New York and Chicago.
Image: Netflix handout