The Bundle Begins To Crumble

Jim Nail

The past week has been big for the TV business, and the once indivisible bundle of networks that come in pay-TV subscriptions has begun to unravel:

  • ESPN and the NBA hinted that they would launch a streaming service that viewers could subscribe to without a cable, satellite, or telco pay-TV subscription. 
  • HBO wasn't so subtle -- They flat out announced they will launch a standalone HBO Go subscription in 2015.
  • CBS announced a new All Access product, offering current season series not available on other streaming services, plus a library of past episodes and shows.
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Wal-Mart Uses Boxee TV To Accelerate Cord-Shaving

James McQuivey

This week Wal-Mart announced that it would put significant weight behind the new Boxee TV box, a $99 set-top box that competes with the market-leading Apple TV and the runner-up Roku boxes. Wal-Mart also sells the Apple TV and Roku devices, so it might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Because Wal-Mart is going to promote Boxee TV with in-store displays and outbound marketing support. Why? Because in addition to the regular apps like Hulu, Netflix, and the rest, Boxee gives Wal-Mart customers three things they can't get from Apple or Roku:

  1. Regular TV shows from local broadcasters. Boxee's new box has a digital tuner that lets you tune to digital signals from ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, PBS, and Univision through either an over-the-air antenna or via ClearQAM. 
  2. Unlimited DVR. Not only will Boxee let you watch these channels, it is offering unlimited cloud DVR for $9.99 a month (in only the top eight markets for now) to record any shows from those networks, without managing a hard drive or paying extra if you want to store hours and hours of video.
  3. Multidevice viewing. This is the real coup for Boxee. Because its DVR is in the cloud, it can send your recorded content to any device you log in to -- whether it's in your home or in your hands while traveling for business. 
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