Time Warner Cable giving Slingboxes to select customers

Time Warner Cable is offering free Slingboxes to subscribers – if they’re willing to pony up for the company’s more expensive Internet service. Slingbox

The cable/Internet giant plans to offer a complete rebate on the device, which allows people to access their home television (and DVR) from anywhere, to people who subscribe to its Wideband Internet – a service that costs $100 per month.

The offer, originally reported in the New York Times, will kick off next month and it’s a clever way for the company to not only promote its high-end Internet product, but to end-run networks who have been fighting the company on its efforts to let subscribers watch programming anywhere (via an iPad app).

Viacom, in particular, has been opposed to the so-called “place shifting,” going so far as to sue Time Warner saying it amounts to “unlicensed distribution” of its shows.

Slingbox has been around for years and has a good reputation as a reliable way for people to watch their programming on their own terms. It also acts as a shield for the cable company, since all place shifting is done by a third-party device.

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