The trend continues: As consumers increasingly cut the cord and back away from traditional pay-TV, they still want to watch content. And rather than let all the money go to Hulu, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube, cable and satellite companies are cautiously wading into the all-online world. This week, CenturyLink and possibly Charter are joining the fray.
First up, CenturyLink. As DSL Reports has observed, CenturyLink’s own over-the-top streaming service has officially launched, although it’s still technically considered a beta test.
Packages start at $45 per month and are available to anyone, not just existing CenturyLink subscribers. However, customers who also have CenturyLink broadband can get a $5 per month discount by bundling the two.
CenturyLink Stream includes a Cloud DVR, for recording programming to watch later, and can be used on a Roku, via an iOS or Android app, or a dedicated CenturyLink player, which is basically CenturyLink’s version of a Roku or similar device.
The price and channels on offer put CenturyLink Stream pretty much right in line with similar offerings from Hulu, Sling (Dish), DirecTV Now (AT&T), YouTube TV (Google), and PlayStation Vue (Sony). Subscribers can also add bundles of premium networks, sports, movies, or Spanish-language programming to their packages for extra fees.
The last big holdout, Charter, also seems to be working on a new online service. A Reddit user spotted the offer for a Spectrum streaming bundle — not including sports — for $20.
The official name of the service is Spectrum Stream — yes, a difficult-to-Google name just like CenturyLink Stream and Comcast Stream — and right now it’s just a small pilot program, Charter said. Currently the offer is in testing with “a small group of pre qualified and current Spectrum Internet customers” to see of it “resonates” with “a certain segment of non-video customers.”
That’s the sound of Charter trying really hard not to say “millennials,” for which we thank them.
Stream is viewable on “connected and mobile devices, without requiring a set-top box.” There is as yet no word on when or if the pilot will expand.