Cox Flex Watch Temps Me More

Anywhere from two to three times a week, Cox sends offers to join Flex Watch, which would add $19.99 to my $59.99 Internet service. The cable company guarantees the price for 12 months—no contract—and would provide HD set-top box with access to local networks and some premium, subscription channels. Last year’s offer: HBO and Starz. Last month’s adds Encore. This week, Cox sweetens by tempting with Cinemax and Flix for just $5 more.

The HD box and local channel access doesn’t tempt the slightest. Cox would have to rewire our setup to enable access from the living room, but I’m a believer in the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to networking. I’ve got 120Mbps Internet pumping down to the bedroom, where there is no TV, and don’t want to risk mucking up what we’ve got. But I am tempted to pay $19.99, or $24.99, for the subscription channels and stream to the tellie content in their apps—which I find offer better experience and more options. But does that cross the line? Is it still cord-cutting? 

The question is on my mind today as we prepare for the Super Bowl. My antenna doesn’t pull in the local NBC affiliate, so I will rig up the HP ENVY x2 loaner I will sometime soon review to the TV’s HDMI port. NBC graciously livestreams the game from its website. Just lovely: There is a NBC Sports app for Windows 8.1, but it constantly crashes on open. Android app is fallback if the ENVY proves to be less than an envious option.

The world won’t end if we miss the game. It’s a sunny day here in San Diego, and the beach calls my name.

Back on topic, Game of Thrones also is on my mind, as season 5’s debut approaches, and I wonder how long Cox will nag me to Flex Watch before the deal disappears. HBO GO would be the thing, just in time. So I ponder options and wonder: If I sign up for Flex Watch but only stream content—never attach cable box to the TV—is that still cord-cutting? Or will I violate some unseen definition? It sure looks like cord-cutting to me, if the Wilcox household streams only.

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears on BetaNews.