The iPad TV Remote Apps are Coming

Mari Silbey —  October 25, 2010

Not only is Comcast planning to launch a TV remote app “very, very soon,” but CableLabs is making it possible for other cablecos with fewer resources to do the same. At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo last week, CableLabs execs were talking up a proof of concept the organization has developed for smaller companies who want to get in on the iPad action. The technology uses an IP remote web server (SOAP in this case) to communicate to an EBIF application in a consumer set-top. It’s very similar to the Comcast implementation, but I was assured that the same functionality could be developed using any kind of web services protocol, and could even be accessed on the set-top through something other than EBIF. (OCAP/tru2way optimists live…) The remote application includes the ability to surf an integrated program guide on the iPad, search for program information, and change channels directly from the touch screen.

Setting aside whether one wants to use an iPad as a remote control, the new technology does provide an easy way for operators to push out a better electronic program guide to their subscribers. An iPad EPG not only looks better, it adds features that are sorely missing from most existing guides: the ability to merge linear and on-demand listings, more intelligent search, and greater programming detail. Operators want you to think of the iPad as a TV companion device – one that you won’t only use to watch subscription Netflix streams.

2 responses to The iPad TV Remote Apps are Coming

  1. Yeah, I’ll be holding my breath waiting for this. Comcast demoed their iPad app in May. Its October. And it’ll be coming ‘real soon now’ just like everything else. I waited for my network usage meter for what, a year and a half? And of course when they start to deploy it’ll be one city/head-end at a time over a l-o-n-g time period. By the time this comes to my area the world will probably have changed…

  2. Okay, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on their 3rd Quarter Earnings call just got more specific:

    “And before the end of this year we will be launching the Xfinity TV remote app which will work on all the iPhones and iPads and eventually, right after they come out, on the Android-based tablets.”

    So, now he’s on record as saying it’ll be out before the end of the year. I don’t believe him of course. But I still hope its true. Personally I’m more interested in watching the Xfinity content on my iPad that controlling my TV with it, and he doesn’t talk about that at all.