Time Warner Cable released an iPad application last month, allowing users to stream certain stations to their devices. There are some stations, like ESPN, that TWC cannot stream due to certain blackout restrictions.
No sooner did the application launch than did a number of programmers, including Scripps, Discovery, and Viacom tear from the woodwork and demand that TWC is violating their agreements. The programmers feel like TWC should be paying additional premiums but the cable provider feels as though those premiums are already covered.
Today, News Corp. issued a cease and desist notice to Time Warner Cable regarding the streaming of the Fox News Network, and there’s rumor that a lawsuit may be right behind. Since the original agreements that TWC had concerning programming rights probably did not mention new technology, the programmers will assert that TWC is in breach of contract.
Personally, I am a TWC subscriber, so I downloaded the application as soon as I could. There are two very big differences between standard “streaming” applications, like Netflix. First, you must log into your Time Warner Cable account. Secondly, you must be connected to the home network – no logging in and hooking up to your neighbors TWC internet. In reality, the application does nothing more than reroute the stream from your TV to your iPad. You can only watch live TV, so no replays of shows you might have missed. You’ll have to go to your cable box and do that through OnDemand.
Time Warner Cable continues to assert that they are well within their rights to stream the content to devices in the subscriber’s home. Alex Dudley, the TWC spokesperson says, “The app continues to be available and continues to function the same as the day we launched it.”