Cable provider Cox Communications is reportedly making efforts to launch a less expensive, internet-based TV and DVR service to capture users who've cut the cord and no longer pay for traditional cable TV service. According to a report in Variety, Cox is currently beta-testing a service for its broadband internet subscribers that offers 97 live channels and 30 hours of cloud-based DVR storage. The service, called FlareWatch, costs $34.99 per month — significantly less than most average cable TV plans. Of course, you don't get the hundreds of channels included in those more expensive plans, but FlareWatch does include typically cable-only networks like ESPN, A&E, CNN, TNT, USA, MTV, and FX along with local broadcast stations. It's a more expensive option than streaming live TV provider Aereo, but it also offers a greater variety of channels.
The service itself is delivered via the recently-introduced Fanhattan Fan TV set-top box, though unfortunately it sounds like you won't be able to use that as your only streaming box — Variety says that FlareWatch won't provide access to services like Netflix or Hulu Plus. And not many will get a chance to give this service a try, at least not yet. Cox is only testing it in Orange County, CA. "Results and customer feedback will determine if we proceed with future plans," said a Cox spokesperson. We're hoping that the results encourage Cox to roll FlareWatch out to a wider base in the future — the more inexpensive, internet-based TV options available, the better.