MIchelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 10-08-2011

Following up on the success of its Optimum TV iPad app, Cablevision has extended the ability to watch cable TV to subscribers with iPhones or iPod Touches.

The new Optimum app for all iOS devices offers 300 live TV channels and thousands of VOD titles, while acting as a remote control for Cablevision’s set-top boxes (iPad functionality has been updated with this as well).

However, like the iPad-only app, viewers can only use their iPhones as mini-TVs inside the home zone - a fact that would lead one to wonder how compelling an iPhone app would be without the on-the-go functionality. The iPad has taken up residence as an ancillary device inside the home (many are Wi-Fi-only anyway), but the smaller form factors are valued for their mobility.

Cablevision has had big success with its iPad live TV app, with some 50,000 downloads recorded in its first five days of launch. But while it has evaded the content licensing snafus experienced by Time Warner Cable (many channels were yanked from the rival MSO’s iPad line-up), it is nonetheless embroiled in a lawsuit over content rights with Viacom, owner of MTV and Comedy Central.

Cablevision has been defiant, however. Because the service is streamed from the STB rather than over the Internet, it insists that the app “falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers”.