TWC's iPad App Launches With (Some) Live TV
But the app won't support the MSO's full slate of linear programming. It will start with access to 30 basic channels in high-definition, though the plan is to add more, the Associated Press first reported Monday.
That much was expected. An industry source told Light Reading Cable in January that it was likely that most iPad and connected TV apps from MSOs such as TW Cable and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) will start off with a subset of their linear lineups. The reason cited? Negotiating access rights for these new devices will simply take more time. (See Streaming a Subset of Live TV?, Comcast to Stream TV to iPads, Android Tablets , Verizon Goes iPad Crazy and Verizon FiOS App Streams NFL Games to iPads.)
But a lack of rights isn't the culprit in this case, TW Cable insists. "The reason we are starting with 30 channels is not a rights issue. That was the number of channels we were able to offer in the time frame we wanted to get the app out and into the hands of customers," an MSO spokesman tells Light Reading Cable in response to e-mailed questions, noting that the company intends to add channels to the iPad app "at a pretty regular interval."
The AP also noted that TW Cable's initial version won't let the iPad function like a remote control, access on-demand shows, or give access to shows stored on a local DVR. Future versions are expected to add those features.
TW Cable, which first talked up its plans for the iPad last August, will restrict TV-on-the-iPad viewing to inside the home and will offer the app only to customers who take the company's video and Internet services. The TW Cable spokesman acknowledged that offering access outside the home is indeed a rights issue and declined to say if and when the MSO might get such rights. (See TWC Preaches Openness With iPad Tilt .)
But that's how TW Cable typically operates in these situations. Start Over, a service that lets customers restart shows already in progress, was made active only on channels and shows TW Cable had rights for. To keep programmers happy, TW Cable also disables the fast-forward feature on any show being watched in Start Over mode. (See Time Warner Expands Start Over.)
That approach of asking for permission first rather than forgiveness later starkly contrasts with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s. The satellite provider is using Sling Media Inc. technology in set-tops/receivers and in a new type of adapter to let customers place-shift video to iPads and other devices in and outside the home. (See TelcoTV 2010: Dish Ready to Serve 'Sling Adapter' and Dish Starts Selling 'Sling-Loaded' HD-DVR .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable