Cablevision Opens The (iPad) Firehose

Leave it to Cablevision… True to form, they’ve thrown caution to the wind and have launched the full fledged STB replacement iPad app we’ve been waiting for:

  • ƒApproximately 300 channels of live television
  • ƒMore than 2,000 titles of Video on demand (VOD) available today, with Cablevision’s full VOD library expected to be encoded and available by early summer
  • ƒEnhanced guide information that is fully searchable and able to be filtered based on genre, cast, time of day and favorite channels
  • ƒ The ability to schedule future DVR recordings and manage (erase) previously-recorded content
  • ƒ Full parental controls (specific to each iPad)
  • ƒ Closed Captioning

While other television providers attempt to broker deals and succumb to studio pressure, Cablevision has simply opened the firehose. Your iPad is your television. As with any set-top box, content is delivered from Cablevision’s head end into one’s home and doesn’t rely on Internet delivery. In fact, that’s the crux of Cablevision’s content licensing stance:

Cablevision uses its secure and proprietary cable television network to deliver cable programming to customers for viewing on the Optimum App for iPad, and content is not delivered over the Internet. Cablevision has the right to distribute programming over its cable system to iPads configured in this way under its existing distribution agreements with programming providers.

While I can’t imagine many folks own iPad yet don’t subscribe to broadband, Cablevision will provide a free Internet-disabled DOCIS modem to relay television content into to home. (Making it all sound a bit like AllVid.)

A year from now, I imagine all major providers will have similar tablet solutions and the majority of studios/channels will be onboard. But this weekend, I sure wish I was a Cablevision customer.

Click to enlarge:

14 thoughts on “Cablevision Opens The (iPad) Firehose”

  1. “Leave it to Cablevision… True to form, they’ve thrown caution to the wind”

    Cablevision does like to litigate. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from this point forward.

    “But this weekend, I sure wish I was a Cablevision customer.”

    It’d be fun for a day or two, but then you’d still be a Cablevision customer…

  2. So I’m having an argument with my roommate who thinks that the HBOs and Showtimes and SyFys of the world keep tabs on the number of cable boxes that we have here to determine their fee structure. I’m not convinced because I think that only the cable companies would care because of them getting rental fees from each cable box. I can understand limiting the use of each iPad to having a cable box (in our case we have 3 cable boxes so we could use up to 3 iPads). Perhaps this will come into play as cable companies move through these uncharted waters…..

  3. If they put the effort they put into this into new set top boxes with a nice UI and a good DVR I might consider getting rid of my Tivos. But for me this is just the French fry filler on their mediocre sirloin steak meal. It’s nice and all but how about some attention to the antiquated digital boxes and crappy DVR?

  4. I’m a CV customer but I’m waiting until they’ve got an Android version of this. Might be nice to avail myself of some of their content that I can’t get on my TiVos.

  5. Does anyone know why all these apps are iPad only? just because a screen is smaller (my phone) doesn’t mean i wouldn’t want this.

  6. so they locked this down to in home only and only deliver over their proprietary system. Nice but no cigar – iPad app might be good for those occasions I do want to watch something but the actual TV is doing other duty.

    When I can watch my cable package at the gym or other non home places or store some to watch there then I am all into it.

  7. And that’s where the licensing really gets complex, Zeo… I can’t imagine that will happen soon or for free.

    Vince, Cablevision alludes to other tablet platforms.

    Rob, not sure if you actually need Cablevision’s DVR to pull this off – maybe all you need is their DOCSIS modem. But I hear you on improving their UI/experience.

  8. Still waiting for something like this on FiOS. And the new IMG 1.9 guide for the DVRs and STBs. And newer, low-profile equipment. It seems Verizon has stalled the rollout of new tech. Or are they just on the cusp of new things?

  9. @Dave,

    I love Cablevision for doing this. If you read the self-serving Time Warner blog posts over at:

    They SAY that they’re on the side of their users, they SAY that they believe they have the rights to put those channels on their iPad app, but in FACT they pulled the channels from their app at the slightest twinge of concern by the networks. Not very customer friendly despite their protests.

    Cablevision is clearly much more willing to get sued over this and establish a precedent, as they did with nDVR. They are to be encouraged and supported for this effort.

    I’d be more interested once they get that remote DVR access model working…

    @Dave, I’m not so sure about the outside the home access. Since that’s kind of what TV Anywhere was defined as originally, and Comcast at least is already letting you access your VOD content remotely through their website (yes, only for channels they’ve got permission from, but hey, its something). I assume in the medium term the current restrictions on in home only will be removed. Course we’re probably going to have to fight this whole rights issue out first…

  10. This is really cool. With all of these channels already available via IP, what’s to stop Cablevision from transitioning to IPTV completely, for a infinite bandwidth structure. Break free of those 6 MHz channel walls, and finally deliver every channel in HD with the unlimited multicast IP bandwidth.

    So Time Warner was sent cease and desist letters. I take it because Cablevision is doing some other type of VLAN’d / separate lan segment delivery, that it’s all OK? Sounds good to me.

    So with all this content available via IP, what’s to stop them from creating a media center app, or other ways to get content onto multiple screens and devices with far better interfaces than their stock DVR’s and set tops?

  11. @cypherstream,

    If TW got cease and decist letters so will Cablevision. I just think Cablevision won’t buckle like TW did.

    As far as switching to all IP, that’s probably a 10-year project for somebody like Cablevision. They’ve got millions of dollars worth of Set Top Boxes deployed at their customers that don’t know anything about IP, and can only do the old 6MHz band QAM stuff. Replacing all those STBs in one fell swoop probably isn’t something they would even contemplate. It would have to happen very slowly over time.

  12. @Glenn

    One thing Cablevision has on its side is that they’ve always deployed STB’s with internal docsis modems. Their whole CA system and addressability uses the docsis modem, vs traditional narroband 2mbps out of band tuners.

    So theoretically they could use the docsis modem in the set top to transmit ip video from a CMTS. Assign multiple downstream channels and group set tops to specific channels.

    Just a thought.

Comments are closed.