Time Warner Cable has scrapped a trial service that enabled subscribers to view television channels on their personal computers. The cable company concluded that viewers do not want to watch television channels on their computers.
As originally reported by informitv, the broadband television service was launched in July 2005 to some 9,000 subscribers in certain parts of San Diego, California. It allowed cable customers with the Road Runner broadband service to view up to 75 television channels on their personal computer.
For some reason, the service was based on Real Networks RealPlayer 10. It was limited to Windows PCs and did not allow users to access it remotely or to record programmes.
Users reported that the service was poor. Time Warner Cable has now abandoned the trial, saying that fewer than a hundred customers a day actually used the system.
“It shows that viewers don’t want their whole cable line-ups on their PCs,” said a company representative. “We’re looking to see what customers do want to watch on their computers. It’s obviously not full TV shows.”
It could of course be that the service offered by Time Warner was not sufficiently compelling. Consumers already have many options for viewing television on personal computers and media centres. Companies such as Sling Media have also demonstrated a desire to be able to redirect their home television and video services to remote computers and mobile phones.
In the longer term, it seems inevitable that service providers will be offering such facilities to their subscribers, if they wish to retain their custom.