TWC Spruces Up Program Guide, Apps

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In the face of continued erosion of its pay TV base, Time Warner Cable unleashed significant updates to its TV Everywhere apps while also starting the rollout of a fancy cloud-based guide for a portion of its legacy base of Internet protocol-capable set-tops.

Following employee trials in such markets as New York City and Syracuse, N.Y., TWC last week began the rollout of a more agile and media-rich cloud-based navigator for set-tops that features a new video-ondemand portal, better search functions, a “What’s Hot” category that highlights popular titles, and a 16x9 aspect ratio that’s optimized for HDTVs.

TWC said the new UI is now in front of more than 2 million set-tops and will be available to north of 6 million boxes by the end of 2014.

The initial deployment covers systems throughout the northeast, including New York City and the Carolinas, a TWC spokeswoman said. The deployment is limited to Samsung, Cisco Systems and Arris Groupmade set-tops/gateways with integrated DOCSIS modems, she said. TWC is booting up its new UI as it and other cable operators look for ways to stem ongoing losses of video customers.

The set-top was just one platform that was privy to a bit of a refresh. TWC last week also unified many of the features in its TV Everywhere apps for Roku boxes, Xbox 360 consoles, PC browsers, newer-model Samsung TVs, and iOS and Android devices. It also introduced a TVE app for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

The latest round of updates eliminates feature fragmentation because all of those apps now support both in-home live TV streaming and VOD. Before the unification, the TWC TV app was limited to live TV on the Roku and Xbox 360, and just VOD on Samsung Smart TVs.

Authenticated subs can use iOS and Android devices and the Kindle tablets to access more than 1,000 VOD titles and about a dozen live TV channels from outside the home.

More devices are expected to join TWC’s TVE ecosystem. The MSO has shown interest in the Google Chromecast streaming adapter, and has been rumored to be closing in on developing a plug-in for the Apple TV box.

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