Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cablevision launches iPad app to watch TV at home

Cablevision Systems Corp is launched an Optimum iPad app for customers using its Optimum package to watch television on their iPads at home, the company said on Saturday.

The service, available at no extra charge, will allow the cable operator's more than 3 million customers to watch some 300 channels, search programing by genre and enable customers to record programs.

The system uses Cablevision's digital cable television network to deliver programing to the iPad, so customers do not need to have Internet access on their devices to use the app.

"This application allows the iPad to function as a television, delivering the full richness and diversity of our cable television service to a display device in the home," Tom Rutledge, Cablevision chief operating officer, said in a statement.

The move by New York-based Cablevision comes weeks after Time Warner Cable launched its own TWCable TV iPad app in mid-March.

The Time Warner version allows users to watch live programing from 32 networks so long as they are at home using their Wi-Fi network.

But Time Warner's app sparked controversy.

A few days ago, after getting several "cease and desist" notices, the No. 2 U.S. cable company said it would no longer carry networks owned by News Corp's Fox, Viacom and Discovery Communications. These actions did not derail Time Warner, this Friday they added 19 TV channels to its iPad app offerings just a day after Fox Cable, Viacom, and Discovery Networks forced the cable company to pull from its iPad app the channels MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. New channels include CNN, Bravo, ESPNnews, and A&E, to name a few. And today, they even added five more channels.

The media companies believe the cable company needs to pay for new licenses in order for customers to use the iPad app.

The Optimum iPhone app does not support TV viewing (yet).

By Carl W. Brooks

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