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Published on July 12th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


Cox considers all-in-one streaming portal service with hooks

Cable service provider Cox Communications is considering launching a streaming service that combines various third-party packages with its own offerings of content, but one that would require customers to rent a modem and purchase a $50 streaming device from them.

The sixth largest multichannel pay-TV provider in the U.S., Cox is floating the idea of such a service directly with some customers who recently received a survey seeking their opinion. The survey – which BESTAppleTV received as a Cox customer – is long on ideas and short on details of exactly what content is being considered and how the service would actually operate.

According to the survey, the service would be called Smart Stream and would require an internet connection, cable modem, and a dongle “small enough to attach to the back of any TV,” similar to a Roku Streaming Stick, that could only be purchased from Cox.

The goal of the service – if it ever becomes reality – appears to be combining third-party streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and possibly other live streaming services into one offering.

The dongle – with its $50 price tag – would be an additional revenue stream for Cox locking in customers instead of offering the service as an app through third-party devices like Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV Stick as other U.S. cable systems have done like Charter Communications.

“No more switching inputs on your TV, fumbling with multiple remotes and searching through apps to find what you want,” the survey read. “Smart Stream gets you right to the good stuff, so there’s less searching and more watching.”

According to the survey “any new streaming services purchased through the device (would) be billed separately by Cox,” possibly for an additional fee.

What is not known is if those “streaming services” would include live offerings of channels from the likes of Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Philo and Sling TV, or if Cox would stream live TV networks themselves.

As for local network affiliates, the survey mentions the ability for customers to add their own over-the-air antenna to the Cox streaming player and possibly add cloud DVR functionality.

But the biggest ‘catch’ in the proposed offering is a “monthly modem rental,” according to the survey, that would generate additional income for the telecom giant and lock customers into a continuous revenue stream.

Contrary to other online reports that Smart Stream is definitely “launching”, a Cox spokesperson told BESTAppleTV the service is nothing more than an idea and far from reality.

“We regularly test new concepts of how we might connect our customers to the content they love,” the spokesperson said. “Smart Stream is a concept and if it receives a positive response and makes business sense, we’ll consider where we take it.”

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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