The price of poker just went up today as Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) said it would launch a new app for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad Tuesday that will allow users to watch live TV if they're a TWC video and Internet subscriber.
And, while it's not exactly true TV Everywhere--users will be limited to watching in and around their home--it is the first time live TV will be made available to iPad users by a cable operator.
"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," Time Warner Cable President Rob Marcus said. "Increasingly, customers want more flexibility in the way they view content, whether that's on different devices or in different rooms of the house."
According to TWC, the app will give users 30 basic channels in HD streamed from a Wi-Fi router attached to a TWC cable modem. The company promises more channels will become available soon.
"I think it's significant, because all of the TV Everywhere rollouts so far have been limited to some on-demand content," Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at Parks Associates, told FierceIPTV. "The biggest demand from consumers has been for live content. It will be interesting to see how TWC also uses the iPad as a complementary device for interactive content, using the display to present recommendations and program information on the tablet."
TWC, which has 12.4 million customers, is the second largest cable TV provider in the U.S. behind Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), and the fourth largest pay-TV operator behind DISH Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV).
Cable companies have been beset by subscriber losses in recent years as competing services from companies like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu have given viewers access to television on multiple devices online, lik ethe iPad, iPhone and PC. Slightly more than a year ago, MSO Comcast launched its own online TV access point, Xfinity, which has been growing in recent months and now offers several thousand hours of programming. It also has an app that allows users on-demand access to programming; it's been downloaded more that 1.3 million times since November. But COmcast content is all on demand, it currently offers no live broadcasts.
Both DISH Network and DirecTV offer live TV to users with Slingbox devices.
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