Are you an RCN, Grande Communications, or Atlantic Broadband subscriber with a Netflix subscription and a cable-provided TiVo box? You might be. According to the companies’ own figures, there are about 500,000 of you out there. And if you are, there’s some big, potentially exciting news for you: Netflix has reached as agreement with the three cable providers to bring its entire streaming catalog to your cable box as soon as this coming Monday.
“We’re making Netflix a channel on our lineup and in our channel guides,” said David Isenberg, chief marketing officer for Atlantic Broadband. “If you’re an RCN customer, perhaps in the D.C. area you would pick up your remote control, you would tune to Channel 450, and there you’d find Netflix. You’d select it and that’ll launch the Netflix app. Literally, watching Netflix is as easy as changing the channel.”
Currently, watching Netflix typically requires the use of a separate retail set-top box (such as TiVo) or another Internet-enabled device. But the Netflix deal, which was years in the making according to RCN chief executive Jim Holanda, allows Netflix subscribers to watch streaming video without switching remotes or inputs on their television.
This is interesting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that Netflix and Comcast have what I would charitably describe as a contentious relationship these days. That’s not to say Netflix and its ragtag collection of smaller, regional cable providers are going to take down Comcast like someone up and made a Little Giants reboot about fiber optics (Netflix is Danny O’Shea, Comcast is Kevin O’Shea, House of Cards is Ice Box, RCN is Rad Tad, etc.), but it is an interesting development, whether it immediately affects you or not. Let’s see how this all plays out, shall we?