Windstream takes to the road for Merge streaming video, broadband product

Movie buffs who can't get enough of streaming video, rejoice: Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) has launched a new contest and 29-city tour to encourage new subscribers to sign up for its new Merge broadband and streaming product.

Its Merge Ticket to Hollywood Sweepstakes runs May 21 through Aug. 31. The grand-prize winner will receive round-trip airfare for two to Los Angeles and a 5-night stay at The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, two passes for a back-lot tour of a movie studio, $1,000 cash, a 60-inch flat-screen television, one year's worth of movie tickets for two and a 1-year subscription to HuluPlus.

To support the contest, the Merge Ticket to Hollywood Tour will kick off May 25, in Harrison, Ark. At each stop on the tour, so-called Merge "brand ambassadors" will visit local movie theatres and Windstream retail stores. At these locations, potential subscribers can enter the contest, get small prizes and get more information about Merge.

Unlike its other ILEC brothers AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Windstream has no plans to launch a traditional IPTV service, choosing instead to focus on the viewers growing appetite for streaming video and continuing to resell satellite TV service.

The Merge service bundles offer users a choice of speed connections (3, 6 or 12 Mbps) with unlimited phone, a free Roku streaming box, and six free months of Hulu Plus.

Of course, at a time when cable operators are offering speed tiers of 50 and even 100 Mbps in select markets, the question remains can Windstream's copper-based DSL service, enough to deliver a consistent streaming video service?

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