TWC to Pay for Some Subscribers’ Slingboxes

The set-top unit lets you watch your TV anywhere

Time Warner Cable wants to pay for your Slingbox—as long as you’re paying for its top-tier Internet service.

The cable provider said yesterday that it plans to offer rebates on some customers’ purchases of a set-top Slingbox—regularly $300—that allows users to view what’s on their home TV from anywhere, on a number of different devices. But not just any customer: the Slingboxes will only be subsidized for subscribers to Time Warner’s $99 per month Wideband service, which is supposed to be faster (and more expensive) than traditional broadband.

The rebate will begin sometime in September. Time Warner Cable executive vice president and chief marketing officer Jeffrey Hirsch said that the deal was a promotion for Wideband, which hasn’t caught on with subscribers. “Over time we’re really trying to emphasize Wideband as a mainstream product,” he said.

But the promotion is also proof that Internet service—not cable—is becoming the core offering for companies like Time Warner, says The New York Times. And in the midst of a battle between Time Warner and cable programmers over who has the right to stream content over devices like iPads, it’s a sly reminder to those programmers that there are even more ways to offer their content.