Published on October 16th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson0
Burst of local cable Internet TV skinny bundles coming
With the advent of streaming services like Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue, Fubo, YouTube TV, and Hulu, local cable systems and other telecommunication providers from small to large are preparing to compete by creating their own live TV streaming services, accessible through an Apple TV set-top box. In the next year, industry experts say the growth for these type of systems to customers will be booming.
Just in the past couple of weeks, both CenturyLink and Charter have launched streaming initiatives. Several operators already port their live channel line-up to Apple TV apps, including Comcast, while Cox, Time Warner, and Charter Spectrum are working on launching their own proprietary streaming services.
Other cable systems across the U.S. are working on their own streaming packages. One such company creating the infrastructure for those systems is Evolution Digital, who has launched a new app-based video streaming service called eVUE-NOW for cable operators. When initially launched, eVUE-NOW will be available through an Apple TV app as well as on other platforms like Roku.
The platform enables the delivery of what is known in the broadcast industry as “skinny bundles” – packages of internet television that cost $40 per month or less that are designed to appeal to cord-cutters who want to save on their monthly pay-TV bills and cord-nevers who would use the service on top of basic internet access.
“eVUE-NOW is an inherently better product than competitors’ as it features universal search across all content, as well as Video on Demand and all local broadcast channels,” said Chris Egan, CEO and co-founder at Evolution Digital. “eVUE-NOW, bundled with the operator’s broadband offering, can be delivered at a better price point to both the operator and the consumer while supplying the viewer with the content and functionalities that they want in a video service.”
In addition to two dozen or more channels depending on the packages offered, the platform will also include DVR features with the ability to pause, rewind, and fast-forward live TV and allow viewers to automatically record a select number of programmes per week, including TV shows, films, and events, which are stored in the cloud. Viewers will be able to select up to 20 programs to record and store that content for up to one week. After one week, an intuitive system will then automatically replace the stored programme with the next available episode of that series or event.
Customers will be able to sign up for service through a web-based portal with automatic credit card billing managed by Evolution Digital. To access the service, local cable customers would download the eVUE-NOW app from the Apple TV App Store, launch it, and enter an exclusive ID and password to then stream content.
Pricing and packages will be customized for each market by the cable TV provider and not Evolution Digital, the company told BESTAppleTV.com. Once contractual deals are completed between providers – like CNN, ESPN, AMC, etc. – Evolution Digital will capture those channels and stream them for the cable TV provider.
No dates have been set or announcements made as to what cable companies will be first out the door with eVUE-NOW, but industry experts we spoke with believe the initial launch of the platform through Apple TV will happen by the end of 2017.
Cable systems are banking on the success of live TV streaming services like eVUE-NOW and research appears to be on their side. About six-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 (61 percent) say the primary way they watch television now is with streaming services on the internet, compared with 31 percent who say they mostly watch via a cable or satellite subscription and 5 percent who mainly watch with a digital antenna, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August.
The survey marks the latest in a number of Pew Research Center findings that show how much the internet and apps have shifted people’s access pathways to media and some types of content in recent years.