From CES, a reason not to ditch Comcast: It’s bringing live TV channels to the iPad and other tablets. (The service only works when you’re in range of the Wi-Fi router connected to your Comcast cable broadband at home, and it’s launching only in parts of Nashville and Denver–but it sounds cool.)
Tag Archives | Cable TV
TiVo-Comcast Deal Puts On Demand on TiVo
I own a TiVo HD DVR and have Comcast cable. I’m mostly happy with the combination, except for one major gotcha: getting TiVo means giving up Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service. But the two companies have struck a deal to add On Demand to TiVo–and for Comcast to lease TiVo boxes in some areas (starting with the San Francisco Bay Area) at no extra charge. Sounds like a win for everybody involved; tragically, though, it’s for the current TiVo Premiere model rather than my old HD.
TV on the Net: You Can’t Always Get What You Want
My new TIME.com column is about TV on the Internet–and why it’s still nowhere near living up to its potential.
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Not No cable. Just Less Cable
Peter Kafka of All Things Digital wonders if consumers are engaging in “cable shaving”–dumping premium channels such as HBO for Internet TV, but keeping the basic stuff–instead of out-and-out cable cutting.
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Cablevision Opens the (iPad) Firehose
Leave it to Cablevision… True to form, they’ve thrown caution to the wind and have launched the full fledged STB replacement iPad app we’ve been waiting for:
- Approximately 300 channels of live television
- More than 2,000 titles of Video on demand (VOD) available today, with Cablevision’s full VOD library expected to be encoded and available by early summer
- Enhanced guide information that is fully searchable and able to be filtered based on genre, cast, time of day and favorite channels
- The ability to schedule future DVR recordings and manage (erase) previously-recorded content
- Full parental controls (specific to each iPad)
- Closed Captioning
Time Warner Drops Channels from iPad App, But Adds More
Last week, I wrote about Time Warner Cable’s increasingly bitter battle with cable operators over its new iPad app. Today comes news that while the company acquiesced to some demands, it still seems intent on providing live streaming of cable content to its subscribers.
Time Warner’s most vocal critics were Fox, Viacom, and Discovery Communications. On Thursday, the company removed their channels from the service, about a dozen in all — except for Fox News. Even though it took those steps, it added 17 new channels on Friday, thus increasing the overall number of networks available through the service to about three dozen.
Consumers are responding positively to the app: the company reports some 300,000 downloads in just the first two weeks of availability.
According to Broadcasting & Cable, the networks are NBC World, CSPAN, CSPAN2, CSPAN3, Chiller, Disney XD, ESPNnews, G4, HSN, IFC, Jewelry, QVC, Sleuth, SOAPnet, Style, Golf Channel and WeTV. It also included its local news and information channels NY1 News and YNN Austin in those markets.
It’s clearly a sign that Time Warner has no intention of backing down, meaning that we’re probably heading for a showdown between the cable provider and the networks. What remains to be seen is whether Time Warner’s move emboldens other providers to do the same. There’s always power in numbers.
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Time Warner, Networks Face Off Over Tablet App
Time Warner Cable is standing its ground in an increasingly bitter fight over its rights to transmit TV networks carried over its television service as it sees fit. The issue here is the company’s iPad app, which would all but turn the tablet into another TV capable of showing live programming.
This has the television networks in a tizzy, claiming that their contracts with the cable provider do not give it the right to essentially stream its content. About 32 cable channels are provided through the service, including MTV, HGTV, Discovery, and others.
Central to Time Warner’s argument is that the networks’ signals aren’t being just blindly transmitted over the open internet where anyone could attempt to snoop — the 21st Century equivalent of stealing your neighbor’s cable. Instead, it says the signals would be transmitted over its own “secure network.”
US Cable Companies: Still No Plans to Carry Al Jazeera English
If you haven’t been watching Al Jazeera yet and are following the continuing unrest in Egypt, you should give it a try. The network has arguably done the best job at covering all angles of the crisis, and its commanding presence in the Middle East has given it a leg up on other outlets.
Watching it myself, it feels very BBC: news presented in a intellectually stimulating manner, something often missing in American television journalism today.
The network reports that traffic to its English-language site since the start of the crisis has surged by 2,500%, with 60% of that traffic coming from the US. Many are apparently tuning into the live stream.
Why’s this? Simply put, cable companies have practically all but shut out the network since its debut in 2006. Al Jazeera no doubt got a rap for being a outlet for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda — the terrorist group sent its videos regularly as “exclusives” in the days after 9/11 — but since then the network has done a lot to polish its image as a legitimate news outlet.
Time Warner Tests Not-Quite-Basic Cable
Whether you blame cord-cutting or the economy, we can all agree that cable’s having a rough year. Now, Time Warner’s considering a smaller, cheaper bundle of cable channels.
The so-called “Time Warner Essentials” package will be tested in New York City and parts of Ohio, the Los Angeles Times reports. Priced at $50 per month, it’ll include roughly 50 channels, including all the broadcast networks and 12 of the top 20 Nielsen-rated cable networks. Subscribers will also be able to tack on premium channels like HBO and Showtime,
and they can get but cannot get DVR service for an extra charge.
Hands On: The Xfinity iPad App
Comcast launched the Xfinity TV app to much fanfare this week, and though we knew it was coming, we didn’t know all the nitty gritty details until we got our own hands on. After a test run on the iPad, here’s my take on the good, the bad, and the future of the Xfinity app.