updated 05:50 pm EDT, Mon March 14, 2011
Time Warner to launch first live TV iPad app
Time Warner Cable late Monday said it would be the first known TV provider to have a shipping iPad app with live TV streaming. The app will show 30 standard cable TV channels in HD. It will only work as long as it's on a Wi-Fi router linked to the cable modem but will grow to include channels from more expensive tiers in the future, COO Rob Marcus told the AP.
The app will be the inverse of what Time Warner, Comcast and others have offered so far. Most have focused only on remote control and DVR scheduling; the new app will drop the box navigation but will give subscribers a way of watching without needing a second TV or extra wiring.
Time Warner expects the iPad app to be available for free through the App Store on Tuesday, March 15. No mention has been made of an Android version.
While a milestone for the industry, the app will reflect Time Warner's conservative attitude towards digital media, where it has always insisted that online video should just be a bonus for subscribers and not a replacement. It unsuccessfully trialled low bandwidth caps that conveniently discouraged online video use and has regularly attacked Netflix, whose unlimited streaming has given users access to increasingly more recent TV shows and movies.
Doubts persist over whether or not cord-cutters, or those dropping traditional TV for online video, have grown in large enough numbers to matter. Time Warner did recently try an ultra-basic cable package but has insisted it was to keep customers hurt by the economy, not to prevent subscribers from going online-only.