Sony, Time Warner Cable team up on set-top-free TVs

It's not a huge market by any stretch but Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) subscribers who invest in newly developed Sony HDTVs will be able to toss their set-top boxes and watch streamed content direct from their cable operator through their TVs, Sony said at CES.

This marks the first time a TV set manufacturers and a cable operator have combined to close out the set-top, although no date was announced when it would start and, of course, its impact could be dampened by the reality that unlike set-tops, Time Warner won't install Sony HDTVs in subscriber residences.

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts, while not directly addressing the Sony-Time Warner relationship, did touch on the changing set-top space during his appearance at Citi's 21st Annual Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. when he conceded "set-top boxes will remain important but they might have to do less. That will be up to the consumer."

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