Cablevision Systems Corp. Thursday launched two new products that include broadband service, Wi-Fi access and a digital antenna to capture over-the-air broadcast TV signals in a bid to retain "cord cutters," who do without cable TV service.
The packages differ in that one offers fast Internet service, allowing the download of a typical song in less than a second, starting at $44.90 a month, while the other offers slower Internet service for $34.90 per month, but adds in the company's Freewheel Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service.
Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell said that Cablevision's latest move is "clever because it got our attention" at a time when the industry is evolving and moving toward a la carte offerings of channels.
The digital antenna will let viewers watch broadcast TV from the major networks, including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, but not cable TV staples such as ESPN.
Through their Internet connection, they will have access to the video service, HBO Now, for $14.99 a month.
"Cablevision is reimagining its relationship with its customers," Kristin Dolan, chief operating officer at Bethpage-based Cablevision, said in a statement. The new bundles "provide real alternatives that fit new consumer lifestyles."
Some cable companies have responded to "cord cutters" by offering slimmer, less expensive services.
Last week, Verizon Communications Inc.'s FiOS service, a rival to Cablevision, announced it would offer "custom" bundles of cable channels -- allowing customers to purchase fewer channels at reduced prices. Those channels would still come to customers through a wire going into the home, rather than via broadcast signals as in the Cablevision products.
Further competition comes from services such as Sony's new TV service streamed through its PlayStation console. Published reports say that Apple also plans to launch a service.
"The good news is that consumers are getting more choice," said Dan Rayburn, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting firm based in Mountain View, California. He added that only a fraction of 1 percent of U.S. subscribers actually dropped pay TV service in 2014.
Cablevision owns Newsday and offers residential cable TV service in Long Island, Westchester, the Bronx, Brooklyn, New Jersey and Connecticut.