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Cox Pulls Plug on Internet TV Trial

Cable operator's over-the-top service, aimed at price-sensitive cord-cutters, had used Fanhattan set-top box

After a three-month test, Cox Communications has ended the broadband-delivered subscription TV service it launched in Southern California that had used Fanhattan’s set-top box.

As first reported by Variety, the cable operator this summer began offering the flareWatch service, priced at $34.99 per month with 97 live channels and 30 hours of network DVR storage, to broadband subs in the Orange County market.

SEE ALSO: Why Fanhattan’s Snazzy Set-Top Will Be DOA

Cox said it would continue to evaluate results from the flareWatch test to determine if such a service made commercial sense. The MSO didn’t say how many users were part of the trial.

“This limited trial was conducted as part of Cox’s ongoing customer research to determine how to best evolve our offerings to meet customers’ changing needs,” a Cox rep said in a statement. “We remain focused on helping customers discover and connect to the things they care about in ways that are easy-to-use and reliable and we will continue to test and explore new products.”

SEE ALSO: Why Cable Operators Might Be Secretly Rooting for Over-the-Top TV Services

Cox’s service was aimed at price-sensitive “cord cutters,” a small but growing segment of consumers who are dropping pay TV. FlareWatch offered a mix of popular programming at a lower price than traditional cable TV packages.

FlareWatch used Fanhattan’s Fan TV set-top, which offers iPad-like navigation via a button-less, touch-sensitive remote control. The service didn’t provide access to over-the-top streaming-video services, such as Hulu or Netflix.

A Fanhattan rep said the Cox trial was “successfully completed.”

“We collected excellent customer feedback and usage data to inform our broader deployment of Fan TV,” Fanhattan said. The startup added that making sure its set-top device is “ready for primetime requires rigorous testing, trial customer feedback and constant iteration. This limited trial was a small, early step in that direction.”

News of the flareWatch shutdown was reported Thursday by telecom news site Light Reading.

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