Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

Cease-and-desist letters from U.S. programmers could be flying fast and furious based on the plans Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has in store for its coming iPad application.

Rather that starting off with an app that limits the number of linear channels a customer can pipe to the iPad in their homes, the MSO intends to offer Cablevision's full linear lineup, Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella says. [Ed. note: As in important distinction, Cablevision won't be streaming those channels over the public Internet, but will instead deliver them to the tablets via its secure network, in IP format.]

By comparison, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) launched its iPad app with the ability to stream 32 linear channels, though the plan is to expand that figure. The MSO had to trim that to 15 channels temporarily because high demand crashed the app, which is relying on TW Cable's proprietary network to shuttle the IP feeds from a centralized bank of servers based at a Denver-area facility. (See High Demand Crashes TWC's iPad App and TWC's iPad App Launches With (Some) Live TV.)

Cablevision, meanwhile, plans to offer the whole linear lineup when it gets its iPad app in customer hands. And possibly more. Last August, Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge noted that the company's iPad app will cover broadcast TV, its expanded basic services and video on demand. "Everything that is part of our cable television service will display on an IP device," he said at the time. (See Cablevision to Deliver Live TV & VoD to iPad.)

Cablevision hasn't identified a launch date, but it's getting close. The ball is now in Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s court.

"We have launched our Optimum App for iPad on Cablevision's campus and in approximately 100 employee homes and it works wonderfully," Maiella said, in a statement first reported by Multichannel News. "The application has been submitted to Apple and, upon its approval, will be available to our cable television customers."

The arrival of Cablevision's app will come amid growing tensions between programmers and TW Cable. Although no lawsuits have been filed, Fox, which operates cable channels such as FX, has sent TW Cable a cease-and-desist letter, claiming the app is not covered by existing distribution agreements. TW Cable believes its contracts cover streaming to iPads in customer homes, viewing the tablet as just another screen or outlet. (See Fox to TW Cable: Stop Streaming Our Stuff .)

However, the threat of lawsuits has caused TW Cable to blink first. On Thursday afternoon, the MSO said it removed 12 channels from its iPad lineup, including networks operated by Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA), News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) and Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK).

"We will will be providing replacement channels as quickly as we can, perhaps as early as tomorrow," the MSO said in this post. "We will continue to fight to ensure that you have access to the content you pay for, no matter which screen in your home you choose to view it on."

Like TW Cable, Cablevision's iPad app will prevent customers from accessing linear channels outside the reach of their home's Wi-Fi access point.

Based on recent history with TW Cable, cease-and-desist letters may follow Cablevision's iPad app launch, but it won't be the first time the operator has dealt with a major programming rights issue. For them, this sort of stuff is old hat.

Cablevision fought for (and won) a copyright case central to its recently launched Remote-Storage DVR service, currently available to its customers in the Bronx. (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx and DoJ: Butt Out of Cablevision RS-DVR Case .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:08:57 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

One clarification to mention so there's no confusion.  In the Cablevision example, they won't be streaming those live channels over the public Internet, but delivering them over its managed cable network, over IP.  I'm guessing that will be an important legal distinction MSOs will continue to make now that there's resistance brewing among some programmers about these kinds of apps.  JB


mbernste 12/5/2012 | 5:08:49 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

The Cablevision iPad app was released today.  There is a discussion about the app on Broadband Reports. The app can be downloaded from iTunes here.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:08:15 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

But let's be realistic. Not everyone has access to a gateway or some other home networking device that's outfitted with Celeno's magical video-grade wireless technolgy. Most are going to rely on the wireless routers they are  using now.  I have a Cisco  E3000 802.11n router and it generally works pretty well even when I am in the basement when i use my iPad to stream Netflix or even tap into the Slingbox. Sure, there are deadspots, so what you're suggesting would be great to have, but my experience has been very passable the vast majority of the time.  But I'm very interested in seeing how the Liberty gateway with Celeno performs when it comes to wireless video.

But perhaps my situation is the exception.  How about others on the boards...  how well has your off the shelf WiFi gear performed when you try to ship vidoe around to tablets and other devices wirelessly?



liorw 12/5/2012 | 5:08:15 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

A huge challenge for the emerging “TV Everywhere” reality is inside the home, where all this HD content is being consumed on iPads and other streaming devices – users don’t just want “TV Everywhere” (i.e., on lots of screens), they want high-quality, uninterrupted, HD TV everywhere.


The kind of user experience consumers have come to expect simply cannot be supported by existing Wi-Fi home networks, and (of course) no one wants to go back to wired networks to solve the problem. The only way to meet the consistent quality required for TV Everywhere is to bump Wi-Fi technology up to true video-grade Wi-Fi that guarantees consumers a perfect user experience all the time on all devices.


Celeno is the only company whose technology answers this need for quality-guaranteed, video-grade Wi-Fi performance across multiple screens consuming HD content.


Celeno’s 802.11n video-grade AP technology can deliver several instantaneous HD streams with very low packet loss. Moreover, maintaining this performance even to wireless displays that have third-party Wi-Fi chipsets is achieved using smart transmission techniques such as implicit beam forming and antenna diversity.

liorw 12/5/2012 | 5:08:14 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

Jeff,  Anyone who has his own retail access point would still enjoy these new services but potentially with some difficulties pending on his home architecture. This may actually push more advancements into retail grade access points and it may also provide service providers an opportunity to promote their own Wi-Fi-enabled home gateway, potentially as an "enhanced for live channels" guarantee. It is also important to note that over time one can expect multiple iPad's and other wireless displays and even wireless STBs in the home, all relying on the same single 802.11n network. This is when it really gets tricky. And these are the scenarios that service providers such as Liberty have to plan for.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:08:14 PM
re: Cablevision to Stream Full TV Lineup to iPads

Sure, it may push things in that direction and offer SPs some opportunities. If and when I ever go for D3, I'll probably wait until the new gateways come out that embed these new  souped up WiFi features. For now, the setup I have suit my needs pretty well.  But we are starting to come under a situation where we have mulitple streams over WiFi occuring in the house.  JB



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