Cox to launch tablet-based live TV streaming

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 16-11-2011

Cox Communications will by Christmas become the latest US operator to stream linear broadcast content to tablets, company president Patrick Esser has revealed.
Cox will follow fellow MSOs Cablevision and Time Warner Cable into the companion-screen breach and its TV Connect product will be available who announced it at SCTE's Cable-Tec Expo 2011 during a session with Motorola Mobility Inc. Chairman and CEO Sanjay Jha.
Esser didn't specify which tablets would gain the connectivity, but given the on-stage company, one can speculate that the Motorola Xoom and other Android Honeycomb offerings will be on the list, along with the Apple iPad.
Cox well may have cable giant Comcast beat. The No. 1 U.S. cable MSO has said for months that it is planning to launch a live TV app, but is reportedly bogged down in content licensing issues.
Esser said that Cox has been working on the app for nine months, and admitted that he and his cable brethren are scrambling a bit to respond to the tablet/iPad phenomenon. Cablevision and Time Warner were first movers in the market, launching apps within weeks of each other for the iPad. Unfortunately, they both ran into content licensing snags, particularly with Viacom, over whether or not the apps constitute "double dipping--i.e., representing a separately licensable Internet delivery rather than just another screen for broadcast delivery.
Those issues are largely resolved now, although the apps can only be used over Wi-Fi and within the home zone-- no on-the-go access.
Not to be outdone, IPTV rivals AT&T and Verizon have targeted the iPad and tablet apps too, but with different models.
Verizon FiOS offers its FlexView paid on-demand (purchase and rent) service on the iPad and iPhone for TV and movies--the paid nature of the service allowing it to sooth content partners' licensing requirements.
AT&T U-verse meanwhile offers a live TV app that requires a monthly subscription of $11.99 per month to access unlimited content. In a twist from the usual home pay-TV pot sweetener strategy, U-verse home TV service is not required.