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Cable Technology Feature Article

December 10, 2012

Cablevision Moves Toward Next-Gen Connected Home with Optimum App Availablity on Android Devices

By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor

When it comes to television, in the past it’s been all about screen size – the bigger, the better. The name of the game has changed, however, with the dominance of mobile devices. There are more than six billion mobile devices worldwide and 61 percent of Americans almost always use a phone while watching TV. With 29 percent of Americans saying their phone is the first and last thing they look at every day, mobile devices are truly molding a new TV experience. Now it’s all about convenience and watching cable on-demand.

Cablevision Systems (News - Alert), the fifth-largest U.S. cable company, recently announced that its Optimum app is now available on select Android devices from Samsung Electronics and Google’s (News - Alert) Motorola Mobility. The app allows Optimum TV customers to watch TV anywhere in the home, search the channel guide, manage DVR settings, use devices as remote controls for conventional televisions, receive programming recommendations and much more.

The free Optimum (News - Alert) app makes an Optimum TV customer’s full cable service available on an array of portable devices in the home without the need for additional equipment. 

According to Cablevision, the Optimum app, also available for Apple (News - Alert) iOS devices, Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, and PCs and Mac computers, has been downloaded more than one million times.

Image via Optimum

“Our customers love the Optimum app, because it offers tremendous control over when, where and how to find and enjoy television programming, with an intuitive interface and gorgeous picture. We are pleased to announce the availability of this very popular app on select Android (News - Alert) devices, while we continue to work to add new devices in the future,” said Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president of video product management, in a statement. “The Optimum app is one of many ways we are extending the value of Optimum TV by making it easier than ever for our customers to discover and enjoy their favorite shows.”

Cablevision allows users to watch live TV and VOD only on two iPhone (News - Alert), iPad, Android or Kindle Fire devices at the same time. The Optimum app does not let users watch recordings made on a set-top DVR or through the MSO’s DVR Plus service. Services not available on any of the Optimum app platforms are interactive channels, music choice, pay per view and public, education and government (PEG) channels.

The Optimum app was introduced for PC, Mac and laptop cable viewing earlier this year. According to Rich Tehrani (News - Alert), TMCnet CEO, the need for a standalone TV may be getting questioned more and more as a result of the ability to directly (and more easily) watch TV on PCs, and now, mobile devices.

“It is amazing to me that tablets like the iPad have been on the market for only a few years and already have become the first place developers took when coming out with new apps. It is well known that apps generally drive hardware purchases and point to the direction of the hardware platform market share,” said Tehrani.

Mobile apps are a driving force behind connected home offerings from major broadband providers, helping attract and retain customers. The connected home is about more than just the cable provider these days. The main interaction medium between the consumer and a connected home inevitably will be a mobile device. Since mobile devices are the most frequent touch point for the connected home, broadband providers need to leverage mobile apps and devices to expand their connected home offerings.

Other providers with a mobile component include Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable (IntelligentHome), Cox Communications (service in limited launch), Comcast Corporation (Xfinity Home), AT&T (Digital Life) and Verizon (Home Monitoring and Control services).

 A recent survey showed a 65 percent jump in mobile TV viewership in January-November compared with the same period a year ago, illustrating the growing demand for such services. The increase was primarily driven by sports television and also follows the advent of 3G services. Digital media experts say the increase in viewership is also a function of better screen resolution available on low-cost handsets.

Cablevision also announced it will be increasing the price of its high-speed Internet service for all users by $5 a month starting in 2013. In nearly a decade, this is the first increase for broadband. The cable company has 3.25 million video customers and about three million Internet subscribers.

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