James is wondering: Can he avoid Time Warner Cable’s monthly fee to lease a set-top box by purchasing his own hardware?

In a word, no. There are no generic equivalents for the company’s digital boxes.
But there’s a pretty nifty workaround.
If you want to ditch your Time Warner Cable box, buy yourself a Roku player, starting at about $50. It allows you to stream content from the Internet onto your TV, including hundreds of channels and entertainment services such as Netflix.
Roku has an app for Time Warner Cable content. It allows you to access most of the company’s programming and services without the need for a separate set-top box.
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