Netflix on Friday announced its first alliances with US cabletelevision service companies to make its popular video streaming service availablethrough their set-top boxes.Financial terms of Netflix deals with Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications,and RCN Telecom Services were not disclosed.The move will let Netflix members access streaming films and television showsusing an application on cable service set-top boxes, eliminating the need to rely onother devices such as video game consoles or Roku boxes plugged into televisions.
Use of the Netflix application will be available to cable subscribers whose serviceincludes TiVo DVR boxes."Now, watching Netflix is as easy as changing the channel," Atlantic Broadband chiefstrategy officer David Isenberg said in a release.While the combined total of such customers at the cable companies is estimated atless than a million people, the deals signal a Netflix strategy that involves makingitself part of traditional viewer habits.Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN have also connected Netflixdirectly to their networks to provide speedier flow of video and improved imagequality, according to Netflix head of business development Bill Holmes.Netflix already has similar deals in place with cable television services in Britain,Denmark, and Sweden.
In February, Netflix announced a deal with US Internet service colossus Comcast toconnect directly to its network and, by extension, to subscribers using that service."Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for direct interconnection to reverse an unacceptabledecline in our members' video experience on the Comcast network," Netflix vicepresident of content delivery Ken Florance said Thursday in a blog post.But he expressed frustration that the deal was necessary, saying "Comcast isdouble-dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay
for access to each other."Netflix this week also came out against the proposed merger of Comcast and UScable service titan Time Warner.Florance argued that Comcast already controls the terms of Internet access forsignificant portion of people in the United States, and a merger with Time Warnerwould give it too much power.A particular worry was that Comcast would begin charging tolls to give datapriority in online traffic."We're very concerned that a combined Comcast-TWC will place toll-taking aboveconsumer interests and will use their combined market power to the detriment of avibrant and efficient Internet," Florance said.