Time Warner Cable became the first cable operator in the nation to offer up live TV shows on an iPad with today's launch of its free TWCable TV app.
Time Warner Cable first announced a prototype application for an iPad last year, and then hinted on its company blog that it would be launching sometime this month.
By contrast, Comcast's iPad app allows its subscribers to watch on demand shows and movies with plans to add live TV later this year.
Bright House Networks typically works in lockstep with Time Warner Cable on new features and services. A spokeswoman for Bright House Networks said it would have an iPad app available to its subscribers by mid-year.
Time Warner Cable's iPad app currently doesn't support on demand viewing, but it does offer up the entire slate of live HD programming from 33 networks, including A&E, ABC Family, AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN, CNBC, Discovery, Disney, National Geographic, Food Network, USA and History.
The current version allows TWCable TV users to tap on a "mini guide" to select the network and show that they want to view. Users can pick from "What's On Now" and "What's On Next" channel listings on the guide.
The service, which is transported over Time Warner Cable's IP network, is provisioned within subscribers' homes via their Wi-Fi connections.
The application is available to expanded basic or higher video subscribers with Roadrunner or Earthlink Cable Internet service. For best results viewing, Time Warner Cable suggested using its Road Runner Standard or higher data tiers.
"We are tremendously excited about this app, which is the first of many that will allow our customers to harness the power of their tablet-type devices. No other cable company has done this, and we are thrilled to be the first," said Time Warner Cable president and chief operating officer Rob Marcus. "Helping our customers see the content they're paying for on multiple devices makes their Time Warner Cable subscription even more valuable, and they can expect much more from us in this space very soon."
In regards to obtaining the rights to additional content, Time Warner Cable has a proven track record with networks through its Start Over and Look Back services. Time Warner Cable showed the networks, as well as advertisors and ad agencies, that there was value in letting their shows be re-started from the beginning with Start Over. The free Start Over service was first launched in 2005, while Look Back made its debut late last year.
Additional features in the works include a remote DVR manager and remote control functionality to access live and on demand programming. Comcast's Xfinity TV App already supports both DVR manager and remote control functions.
Customers can download the app from Apple's iTunes store, and then will need a Time Warner Cable user name and password in order to enable the app. The app works on iPads with iOS 4.