More Video Goodness Headed To iPad (NCAA, BBC)

Dave Zatz —  March 4, 2011

As I’ve proclaimed several times these last few months, smaller media consumption devices are poised to become our kitchen or den “televisions.” Of course, the tablet with the richest third party ecosystem is Apple’s iPad. And I don’t see that changing any time soon, despite possibly stifling some development via their recent subscription commission policy change. Comcast recently launched 3,000 hours of on demand iPad video content and announced their intentions to broadcast live video to tablets. I’m hopeful my provider Verizon follows suit. But beyond the broad aggregation by the larger players, there’s a huge amount of specialized or niche content – currently active… and those coming down the pike.

For 2011, CBS is offering a March Madness On Demand iPad app for free. In fact, I’m willing to bet their online streaming NCAA baskbetball properties are amongst the most lucrative when it comes to advertising. So why not give the app away? It’s expected to launch March 10th with games getting underway on the 15th. Unfortunately, my poor Maryland Terrapins aren’t even on the bubble at this point.

Next up, 2011 looks to be the year that the BBC brings their online content to an international audience. It’s expected to launch later this year and will run “a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer than 10.” Unlike a Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, in its current form. is referred to as a “catch up” service and only streams recent episodes versus entire seasons. But I’m hopeful the UK powers that be realize we have a lot of catching up to do here in the US… and will consider providing a more comprehensive library.

9 responses to More Video Goodness Headed To iPad (NCAA, BBC)

  1. “As I’ve proclaimed several times these last few months, smaller media consumption devices are poised to become our kitchen or den “televisions.”

    You’re not alone in proclaiming such things, but I don’t buy it.

    Video consumption on tablets will indeed find a healthy niche, but I’m not sure how they’re going to replace kitchen or den televisions.

    With prices on 27″ and 32″ internet connected panels approaching Kindle-level pricing, I don’t see tablets as replacing secondary lean-back TV placements.

    Lean-back is dead. Yet, viva lean-back.

  2. I don’t want the clutter of 27″ television on my kitchen counter, not to mention we don’t have a cable jack there. But an iPad on a stand streaming live CNN is just what the doctor ordered. And when it’s not in the kitchen, it’ll be in the three season sunroom.

    Additionally, while I was initially quite pleased with my 22″ Internet-connected Vizio TV, it’s lost its luster. I go through stretches where certain apps and the store itself don’t even connect to the network. The remote is not good. And the TV actually crashes. It’s a poor user experience all around. Probably deserves its own ‘not ready for prime time’ post…

  3. “I don’t want the clutter of 27″ television on my kitchen counter”

    OK. I’m with you now.

    Tablets can certainly act as televisions in additional locations where panels would never get put. I just don’t think they’ll replace secondary televisions in places where TV’s would currently be placed, which some folks seem to be thinking.

    Mobile definitely has its place.

  4. “As I’ve proclaimed several times these last few months, smaller media consumption devices are poised to become our kitchen or den “televisions.”

    I am not so sure about that, Dave. The prices for smaller LCDs is very reasonable and placement (considering power and cable outlets) is not that difficult. I hung a 32″ Samsung – extending a power outlet and a cable outlet – in my kitchen/dining room area without significant effort. While I can appreciate that most people may not want to put forth any effort to do likewise, I am not convinced that an iPad works in place of a 26″ – 32″ television screen. In the scenario you allude to, watching an iPad while preparing a meal in the kitchen, is it realistic to believe you will have the ability to significantly focus on a 10″ screen while moving around the kitchen? I just don’t see it. And I definitely don’t envision people sitting in a den, guest bedroom, etc. with an iPad on their lap vice moving to an area with a larger screen. I love my iPad as a media consumption device…when I am traveling, not when I am in my home.

  5. I’ve used the NCAA on demand apps in the past years to supplement what wasn’t on TV. This year though, all games will be shown in their entirety on TV (on one of 4 channels), so I doubt I’ll need the on demand app as much. I won’t have to worry about them switching away from the UNC game just because they are winning by 40 points. The game will be shown all the way through.

    I agree about using a tablet as a portable video screen for other areas of the house (like the kitchen). Add the Sling client to it and it because much more useful.

    Go Heels!

    John

  6. “I love my iPad as a media consumption device…when I am traveling, not when I am in my home.”

    I don’t think this is universally correct. I do think there are lots of home situations where tablet viewing becomes a handy thing.

    But I agree with you that lean-back dominates the home.

  7. “I don’t think this is universally correct. I do think there are lots of home situations where tablet viewing becomes a handy thing.”

    While I personally don’t use my iPad to consume content while in the home, I imagine there are some situations where some people will use an iPad (tablet) to consume content in that environment. However, I just don’t see that becoming the norm…or preferred method for the vast majority of people. Even in the situation described by Dave – utilizing a tablet vice a television in the kitchen – does not strike me as that compelling or practical in the long run for most people. While the idea of just propping up the iPad and catching a little bit of news or a live game while preparing a meal sounds good at first, I don’t think most people will be interested in viewing content on a 10″ screen and listening to tinny speakers for long.

    I have had an iPad since the debut and I don’t believe I have ever used it to listen to music or watch more than a couple minutes of content while in the house. But hey, maybe I am in the minority regarding how I use the iPad and just don’t realize it.

  8. Eh, I think a 10″ screen is fine for background TV. The speaker situation is more of a concern. Will be interesting to see how the iPad 2’s audio is received.

    Tablets as TVs is probably the minority position, but it’ll be a reasonable and compelling solution for many – I expect I’ll be one. As it is now, when the wife’s watching Idol in bed I’m watching the Daily Show or Robot Chicken my iPhone. If you think 10″ is bad, try 3.5″!

    As an aside, a dude at work has a rooted and overclocked Nook Color (7″) running Android without the B&N overlay. And it’s pretty damn sweet. Wish I got in on that $200 ebay sale yesterday. Although there’s far, far fewer professionally produced video choices at this time on Android.

  9. I’ll take a second bite at the apple on the real core value of Tablet TV’s:

    Tablet TV’s have a very efficient UI for drilling down into search and discoverability of video, mainly for short and medium duration clips. That takes advantage of lean-back’s inherent weakness in the cumbersome nature of the UI.

    The March Madness app is a good example of this kind of value. Easily find what you want, and pop right into the video.

    (A second potential core value of tablet TV’s is if someone ever implements a truly functional version something like Amazon’s Whispersync for a Tablet and SetTopBox duo, so you can seamlessly find on the Tablet, start watching, and toss to your lean-back whenever you make it to that locale.)