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Contour service from Cox adds value, depth to cable TV, but comes at a cost

Cox Communications has rolled out a new television service combining an iPad app and digital television guide that creates tailored programming suggestions for up to eight users.
by Richard Hall Published: August 20, 2013

If there's one thing cable television subscribers want more of, it's value for their dollar. Cox Communications aims to answer that request with a new service called Contour, which combines an iPad app and digital television guide that creates a personalized experience for up to eight users.

Currently available for the iPad (second generation and newer), the free Contour app does several things: allows users to watch live programming, gives access to Cox's large On DEMAND selection, and learns what its users like to watch. It then takes that information and creates a personalized menu for the user, listing his or her favorite networks and shows, and makes recommendations for similar content.

For instance, if you like watching home improvement shows, dramas on AMC and “Duck Dynasty,” Contour will recommend networks and shows that fit those genres.

Multiple profiles

Since it does allow up to eight users, the Contour app allows everyone in the house to experience the technology for themselves. That way a family of five with different tastes will be able to hop on the app, sign in and immediately be taken to their favorite kind of programming.

Speaking of signing in, after a user does so, he or she is given three options: My Library (which integrates apps like HBO Go and WatchDisney), Live (content available for live streaming) and On DEMAND (content available through Cox's service.) From there, the user selects the desired programming and it begins playing on the iPad.

There currently are 90 networks that offer live streaming content through the Contour app, including A&E, ABC Family, CNN, Disney Channel and HGTV.

One of the best features the Contour service delivers is its ability to transfer live television and On DEMAND content from the app to the viewer's television. However, this feature is available only to Cox subscribers with the Record 6 DVR, which currently accounts for 12 percent of Cox cable subscribers.

Transitioning from the iPad to the television is easy and smooth: simply tap a button and away you go. Once the programming is on the television, users can switch to different content in the app, or shut down the app altogether, without disrupting what they're watching.

Using the Contour's television guide, users can also set individual Record 6 DVR units to record up to six shows at once. So if a household has three units, a total of 18 shows can be recorded at once.

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by Richard Hall
Digital Media Specialist
Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.
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