Seemingly undaunted by the woes befalling Time Warner Cable's live TV iPad app -- numerous cable networks demanding their channels be pulled from the app -- Cablevision has announced its Optimum iPad app, which promises hundreds of channels streamed live to the iPad for subscribers to watch while in their homes.
While the Optimum app includes some of the features that other apps from pay TV providers offer -- video on demand options, the ability to program DVR recordings right from your iPad -- the fact that it will deliver close to 300 live channels is the most notable. Up to three iPads per household can be used to watch Optimum, though only two can be used simultaneously at any time.
Broadcast networks have complained that cable providers don't have the right to stream their channels over the Internet, including to tablet PCs, and are hoping to get the providers to pony up more money for that ability. Cablevision claims that it uses its Advanced Digital Cable television network and not the Internet to distribute channels to the iPad, and that it is legally permitted to do so under existing agreements with networks.
It will be interesting to see if the same networks that forced Time Warner Cable to yank their channels from its iPad app -- including Fox and Viacom -- will object to Cablevision's approach. Considering that subscribers can only view live TV on such apps within their home, and the fact that watching shows is still a much better experience on an HDTV than a smaller tablet PC display, it's unclear how much these apps are truly hurting networks. The alternative is for consumers to continue bailing out of pay TV subscriptions altogether and finding ways to watch shows over the Internet, which will hurt the networks much more in the long run.
Do you think letting subscribers watch live TV at home on tablets is a major shift in the way we'll consume programming? And is that a good thing or not? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.