Verizon launches TV channels for iPad viewing
TAMPA, Nov 27, 2012 (Tampa Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
For Verizon customers with iPads, there's now a lot more television to watch around the house.
Verizon is launching a slew of channels that customers can watch live on their iPads, including HGTV, Nickelodeon, Fox News, AMC and NFL Network.
Verizon already had a few channels available on other devices such as the Xbox, and many premium channels like HBO and CNN already have tablet versions. But like other cable and satellite TV companies going in this direction, the expansion further makes the tablet yet another TV screen to watch around the house.
The service works through an app now available at the iTunes store. The good news for customers is the service comes with no extra cost or set-top box fee, and it works on the most popular tablet, the Apple iPad.
There are some parental controls with age categories such as 13 and older and 18 and older, which is handy for parents who envision the tablet as a way to keep the kids occupied or just free up the main TV in the house for other people. There is also a feature to order and stream movies from the FiOS on-demand library.
Verizon plans a formal announcement Tuesday, though the upgrade quietly went live at iTunes a few days ago.
Like many things with cable, the project comes with limits and fine print. Customers can only stream channels while using a tablet in their own home and connected to their Verizon FiOS Wi-Fi signal.
Other services such as HBO Go or Hulu work anywhere there's a broadband connection.
The Verizon tablet app also only works if customers have a high-definition-capable set-top box. It does not show local affiliates of NBC, ABC, NBC or Fox. The app does not have DVR features to pause or rewind live TV, and it cannot stream shows stored on the home DVR.
The service will likely be available soon on Droid-based tablets, though Verizon officials declined to offer a timetable for that rollout.
The Verizon project marks another volley in the competition with rival Bright House Networks.
Last year, Bright House started offering several dozen live channels on tablets -- including A&E, Discovery, Lifetime, CNN and the Disney Channel -- a system that also only works inside the customer's home.
Though tablets have been on the market for only the past few years, already 9 percent of people are watching shows on tablets, according to data from market researcher Parks Associates.
Content companies such as Disney and Fox see huge opportunities there, especially as their current projects don't allow viewers to skip commercials -- a major source of revenue.
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