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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 18, 2013

TWC Takes TV Streaming Out of the Home

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Most TV Everywhere deployments offer consumers access to their subscription content on mobile devices and PCs—but keeps that access locked within the confines of the home zone thanks to content licensing issues. Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable, however, is embarking on a bit of a jailbreak with the launch of video on demand (VOD) and live programming outside the home via its iOS app.

There’s no 3G/4G access, so it’s only usable over a Wi-Fi connection, but the latest update to the TWC TV app for iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone (News - Alert) and iPod Touch gives users access to more than 1,100 hours of on-demand TV shows and movies from 26 networks. It also offers access to up to 11 live TV news, sports and entertainment channels, including Time Warner Cable’s local channels, like NY1, NY1 Noticias, YNN and News 14.

The update also includes a live TV mini-guide with filtering and sorting features for the 200-plus live channels available to watch inside the home.

"We were the first provider to bring live television to the iPad in the home," said Mike Angus, senior vice president and general manager of video for Time Warner Cable. "Since then, we've increased the number of platforms and devices on which our customers can watch live television, and added thousands of hours of video-on-demand programming at no additional cost. The release of this TWC TV update is the next natural step towards our goal of giving customers even more of the content they love on every screen."

TV Everywhere is actually more like “TV Somewhere, Sometimes” in many cases thanks to the internecine relationships between content and media companies and their pay-TV distributor partners. Most content carriage and retransmission agreements only cover television broadcasts via the managed video delivery infrastructure, i.e. the headend- and set-top-enabled network that delivers feeds to the living room set. An extra layer of content rights negotiations and agreements is required for digital distribution within the home—that’s any streaming access.

Content DRM protection in the absence of a managed network environment is always a concern and part of the reason for why there are separate agreements as well.

Cracking the nut of being able to allow users to stream content outside of the home is yet another layer of negotiations but an increasingly important layer to enable. Netflix and the other over-the-top (OTT) providers have long relied on its “anywhere-there’s-a-connection” availability as a big differentiator from the homebound incumbent TV operators.

Edited by Braden Becker

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