A Time Warner Tie-In Just Turned Your Roku Into a Full-On Cable Box

Verge is reporting that Roku and Time Warner have announced that the cable company's app—which offers up more than 300 channels of live TV—is coming to the little purple puck. That essentially turns the $50 streaming device into a full-on cable box.

It's amazing news for Roku and those who own the device, but it's also a major turning point for Time Warner Cable. This is the first time the cable company has allowed its content to be accessed by a third-party, TV-connected device. Sure, smartphones and tablets have had Time Warner's app before—but this is the first time that cable subscribers have ever been able to use their subscription via what amounts to a secondary, non-Time Warner, cable box.

There are, as you'd expect and Verge points out, restrictions. Like Time Warner's app for iOS and Android, your Roku will have to be running on a subscriber's home network to view cable; in others words, don't expect to use it wherever you take your Roku. Also, that quoted number of 300 channels will obviously depend on your cable subscription.

Still, it's a neat announcement, and the first glimpse of a cable company softening its iron-grip on content. Maybe, just maybe, it's a sign of things to come in the future. In the meantime, the Time Warner app will be available sometime in the first quarter of 2013 for Roku 2, Roku HD, Roku LT, and the Roku Streaming Stick. [Verge]