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Streaming Video from Charter

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To borrow a line from Jimmy Durante: “Everybody’s gettin’ inta da act!” Dish Network’s February ┬álaunch of Sling TV demonstrated the consumer appeal of an internet-only video streaming platform. And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dish is getting plenty of sincere flattery.

Comcast, the nations’s largest cable provider. rolled out its own web-only TV service, called Watchable, in August. Currently available only in select markets, Watchable is designed specifically for streaming to mobile devices. At first, it will be offered only to Comcast’s XFinity X1 customers.

In September, Verizon Wireless followed with Go90, its own streaming video service, geared to young consumers who are accustomed to watching video on mobile devices. The name is derived from the need to rotate a smartphone or tablet 90 degrees to watch video in landscape mode.

Charter Communications now offers its own web-only streaming platform: Spectrum TV Stream. On October 12, Charter rolled out the service for its broadband-only customers. Priced at $12.99 per month, Spectrum TV Stream includes the four major broadcast networks plus a choice of Showtime or HBO. For $7.00 per month, Spectrum TV Stream Plus offers an additional sixteen channels, including A&E, AMC, Discovery, ESPN, Food Network, Freedom (originally ABC Family), FX, H2, Hallmark, HGTV, History, Lifetime, National Geographic, TBS, and TLC. For a limited time, new Spectrum TV Stream customers will get free Roku 3 media players.

For access to Charter’s video streaming service, its broadband customers need only an authentication code for Roku players and Roku TV sets. Spectrum TV Stream customers will not need new equipment if they have Roku players, and they won’t have to sign long term contracts. The service is offered on a month-to-month basis. Spectrum TV Stream customers are not required to subscribe to Charter’s standard cable TV service.

Tom Rutledge, the Charter CEO, promised to add more functions to Spectrum TV Stream, and to support more devices with it. He said, “We will continue to add greater functionality to the channel on Roku devices, including on-demand, and plan to make Spectrum TV available on more consumer electronic boxes and screens.”

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