Flip to the Netflix channel: streaming service comes to cable Monday

Hop from Discovery to History to Netflix and back

Netflix has eaten a sizable chunk of traditional TV cable television viewership, and soon it will invade the space with its own channel.

Netflix announced it inked a deal with RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband that will integrate its internet streaming app directly into certain set-top boxes.

Starting April 28, customers of the three cable companies who also have a Netflix subscription will be to access streaming on a Tivo cable box. The added functionality will give cable subscribers the ability to watch movies and TV shows from the box just as they would be able to access Netflix on their PCs, tablets and phones.

The Tivo connection

The program requires users to have a cable-provided TiVo box. Although TiVos bought at retail come with a built-in Netflix app, the same functionality has been stripped out of cable sets.

Thanks to deals Netflix has negotiated with its content partners, switching to House of Cards is now as simple as switching the channel and it doesn't require launching a separate app.

The ripple effect

For now this is but a small win for Netflix. According to Variety, RCN counts a viewership of about 333,000, while Atlantic Broadband has 230,000 customers and Grande serves around 140,000 users.

While these cable operators might be comparatively small fish to big names such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast, it's a first for Netflix subscribers to watch their streaming video service as though it were an ordinary cable channel.

As Netflix continues to bulk up its own stock of original series, we could see the service become its own channel similar to FX and HBO.

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Via The Washington Post