Time Warner Cable Ditches Cable Box Fees With $10/Month Roku 3-Powered TV Service Trial

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Could this latest move by Time Warner Cable mean the beginning of the end for big, power hungry cable boxes? That remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting change of direction to say the least. Time Warner Cable is trialing a new TV service in New York City and New Jersey that will allow customers to replace their old school cable box with a small, power efficient Roku streaming device.

The first plus associated with this Roku trial is that you ditch the leasing fee when you turn in your cable box to Time Warner Cable. In its place, customers who participate in the NYC trial will be given a Roku 3 at no additional charge. The trial service, which is an extension of the TWC app currently available for various mobile and streaming platforms, gives customers to over 300 live TV stations (broadcast in HD); local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates; and access to On Demand programming.

For those those simply want to cut the cord, and don't need access to 300+ channels, Time Warner Cable is also offering a $9.99/month service aimed at cord cutters. You'll have access to network channels like ABC, NBC and CBS along with TBS and Univision -- 20 channels are offered in all. A $19.99/month package adds SHOWTIME and STARZ, while a $49.99/month package will bring you over 70 channels including CNN, TNT, ESPN and AMC.

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"The TWC TV Roku Trial represents an important step in our evolution, giving customers more ways to view the content they love in ways that work for them," said Timer Warner Cable EVP Peter Stern. “This trial will help us build a better experience for our customers, while making cable television programming even more affordable, accessible and relevant to a new generation of consumers."

“And where we’re headed is the ability of customers to access the complete video product without having to rent a set-top box from us, whether they use a Roku or they use ultimately another IP-enabled device,” added Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus.

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While Time Warner Cable is allowing customers to dump their clunky cable boxes and the monthly leasing fees by moving to a faster and more efficient Roku interface, there is one big feature that you will be leaving behind if you enter the trial — DVR support. That’s right, you won’t be able DVR your favorite shows or hit instant replay to rewatch that last play in the Panthers game. That may be a huge deal breaker for some customers, but Time Warner Cable is betting that the plusses of this trial outweighs the minuses.