FlareWatch: Cox Targets Cord-Cutters with Internet TV Trial

Cox Communications is offering a beta version of a broadband TV service that delivers lower-priced live television and DVR storage to subscribers in southern California. The company’s flareWatch trial marks the first time a major U.S. pay TV operator is specifically targeting cord-cutters. The IPTV service uses Fanhattan’s $99 Fan TV set-top box, which features a touch-sensitive remote control. If successful, flareWatch could see a wider rollout.

“The operator’s flareWatch service is $34.99 per month, with access to 97 live channels and 30 hours of network DVR storage,” reports Variety. “The service is currently available to Cox broadband subscribers in the Orange County market.”

“Results and customer feedback will determine if we proceed with future plans,” said Cox spokesman Todd Smith.

During the trial, subscribers can connect up to three Fan TV boxes. “While it’s unlikely that Cox or any other pay TV provider will adopt the approach to deliver their primary TV services, Fan TV and similar boxes could find a home on the Internet streaming front,” suggests Variety.

While flareWatch does not provide access to streaming video services such as Hulu or Netflix, it delivers a mix of popular programming via local broadcast TV and cable nets. Cox says that about 60 of the channels are in HD.

“Ordinarily, to get most of those channels, subscribers must purchase Cox Advanced TV service with 300-plus channels, regularly priced at $63.99 per month,” notes the article. “Cox does offer a $24.99-per-month TV Economy package, but that excludes regional sports nets and most of the cable channels in the flareWatch lineup.”

Additionally, Cox’s MyFlare cloud-based media service can be used to store personal photos, videos, music and documents.