Netflix will join three cable providers by the end of next month in a move to compete with premium channels such as HBO and Showtime.
The streaming service has new agreements with Atlantic Broadband, RCN Telecom Services and Grande Communications, ABC News reports. A Netflix channel will be added to the cable customer’s TiVo boxes, allowing viewers to view Netflix like any other channel.
Currently, Netflix users have to buy a separate device, such as Apple TV or an Xbox console to view the service on their TV. And switching to Netflix involves changing the TV input and sometimes a separate remote. The change will allow users to simply change the channel.
“We think this signals a new generation of cable-TV service of offerings,” David Isenberg, Atlantic’s chief marketing and strategy officer, told The Associated Press. “It’s a watershed moment.”
Netflix will still stream via high-speed Internet, and all other features will remain the same. The cable providers will not be offering the channel as part of a bundle — cable customers will have to subscribe to Netflix separately.
Netflix has been working to compete with HBO since it first expanded on its DVD mailing service seven years ago. Recently it has been featuring original programming, such as “Orange is the New Black.” Netflix announced last week it plans to raise the subscription price by $1 or $2 for new users in July, in an effort to cover increasing costs. The price increase will not initially affect existing subscribers.
HBO has refused to license its old TV shows to Netflix, and is instead offering them to Amazon Prime. “HBO fears Netflix’s growing industry power,” BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a Thursday blog post.
The service will debut on Atlantic and RCN Monday, and Grande by the end of the month. Netflix hopes to expand the service to major providers.
RCN has 440,00 subscribers in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois.
Atlantic, which is owned by Canada’s Cogeco Cable, has 230,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and South Carolina.
Grande has 150,000 subscribers in Texas.