Sony TVs to Let Time Warner Cable Drop Set-Top Box

Sony Corp. plans to make televisions that will let Time Warner Cable Inc. pay-television customers watch without a set-top box.

The companies will deliver the programming using Internet technology, Phil Molyneux, president of Sony Electronics USA, said today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Eliminating the set-top box would simplify hook-ups by requiring one less piece of hardware in the living room. The move would also restrict the market opportunity for set-top box makers, to the extent that customers of Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable company, purchased Sony’s TV sets.

Cable companies including New York-based Time Warner Cable and Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable service, have taken advantage of IP, or Internet Protocol, to expand into telephone and Internet service from pay-TV.

Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Inc. are the two largest makers of set-top boxes. Cisco, based in San Jose, California, today released Videoscope, an open platform that uses IP to deliver pay television.

Time Warner Cable, based in New York, lost 3 cents to $67.35 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Tokyo-based Sony’s U.S.-traded shares gained 5 cents to $36.21.

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