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    Spectrum quietly tries a la carte TV streaming, but restrictions apply

    Each every now and then, Spectrum (nee Time Warner Cable) calls up with some feeble try and lure me again to cable TV. More often than not, the corporate simply pitches the identical outdated TV service, with a short-term promo deal would nonetheless price excess of what I’m paying for web alone. No thanks.

    Final week was completely different. Over the telephone, a Spectrum rep was promising a brand new form of a la carte streaming service, formally known as Spectrum TV Selection. For $25 monthly, he mentioned, I may get all the main broadcast networks, plus my selection of 10 different cable channels, all streaming on cell units, net browsers, Roku gamers, and Xbox consoles.

    Whereas I personally have little curiosity in changing into a Spectrum TV buyer—I’m pleased with my mixture of Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, and an antenna—this was a uncommon alternative to strive one thing actually new from the cable guys. (Spectrum is reportedly rolling out the service to most of its markets after a restricted take a look at run final yr.) After asking the customer support rep a barrage of questions, I picked my channels and signed up.

    My conclusion to this point: Spectrum’s a la carte TV service is an effective worth, with apps that ought to really feel acquainted to cable subscribers. Nevertheless it additionally carries a few of cable’s baggage. And for now, it’s unclear what number of Spectrum clients can really get the service.

    How Spectrum’s a la carte plan works

    Right here’s what Spectrum’s gross sales rep provided me:

    • $15 for the primary month, or cancel within the first seven days without charge
    • $25 monthly—after a $Three-per-month broadcast TV price—for the primary two years, with no contracts or long-term dedication. My complete in Ohio, together with tax, can be $26.02.
    • The pre-tax worth rises to $30 monthly after two years.
    • Dwell TV and on-demand video are included, however DVR will not be.
    • DVR service would require a cable field, which might increase the fee by $20 monthly, and the recordings wouldn’t be accessible on streaming units.

    As for channels, Spectrum TV Selection consists of the next:

    • All 5 main broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and CW).
    • Any 10 cable channels from a listing of round 65.
    • Public entry and academic channels reminiscent of PBS and C-SPAN.
    • Digital subnets, reminiscent of MeTV and Bounce. (These differ by space and won’t embody every little thing you’d get from an antenna.)
    • Music Selection channels are supposedly included, although I don’t see them in any of my apps.
    • An choice so as to add HBO, Showtime, The Film Channel, Starz, and Starz Encore for $7.50 monthly every, or all of them in a bundle for $15 monthly.

    For the 10 cable channels, the lineup consists of main nationwide sports activities channels reminiscent of ESPN and FS1, all three main cable information networks, and widespread leisure channels reminiscent of AMC and HGTV. You may view the total listing at Spectrum’s website, or view the chart beneath, which relies on Cincinnati markets:

    Jared Newman / TechHive

    It’s a surprisingly stable listing, nevertheless it doesn’t cowl every little thing, particularly for sports activities followers. Regional sports activities choices reminiscent of Fox Sports activities and Large Ten Community are lacking, as are league-specific channels like MLB Community and NBA TV. In our streaming bundle guide, I at present observe greater than 200 channels; Spectrum TV Selection provides lower than a 3rd of them.

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