Time Warner Cable App Hits Android, No Live TV

Mari Silbey —  November 30, 2011

Time Warner Cable was the first operator to bring live TV to the iPad earlier this year (apart from Dish with its Sling solution), and now TWC has added an Android app to its arsenal. Multichannel News reports that TWC hit the Android market yesterday with an app that enables remote DVR programming, channel tuning, and filtered program searches. There’s just one catch. The Android app doesn’t include any video streaming. That’s right – no live or VOD content.

I got a glimpse of the new Time Warner app at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo earlier this month, and it looks pretty much like what you’d expect from a tablet-based TV guide today. However, the fact that there’s no video streaming is a big disappointment. Time Warner’s iPad app already confines live streaming to the boundaries of a subscriber’s home, but at least the service offers a simple in-house place-shifting option. The Android app’s limitations are more significant, and one has to wonder if they’re a result of the  legal battles Time Warner is currently fighting over streaming rights. Viacom took Time Warner Cable to court in March over its iPad app, and TWC pulled several channels from the service as a result. Negotiations and judicial debates are ongoing.

For those who are still interested, the new Time Warner Cable Android app is available to all subscribers running the “Navigator” program guide on their set-tops. The app has specifically been certified for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Motorola Xoom, but it’s designed to run on any Honeycomb tablet.

UPDATE: Richard Lawler points out that TWC says it will bring live streaming to Android with Ice Cream Sandwich. Stay tuned.

6 responses to Time Warner Cable App Hits Android, No Live TV

  1. Time Warner did say live streaming would come once Ice Cream Sandwich is out on tablets, they wouldn’t confirm but I suspect they’re waiting for more DRM.

  2. Richard- I assumed that security (or at least security perception) was at issue here. I’ve also started wondering if in the future providers/programmers will expect a combination of software-based and hardware-based DRM. I’ve heard one opinion on this topic, and am still waiting to see how it will play out. What’s the ongoing CE manufacturer role here? Lots of gaps in my knowledge on this one.

  3. I can tell you for the iPad some streaming apps are very strict (a la go to deep lengths to detect a jailbroken device) while others run on any modified version of the OS.

    What is strange is really high valued content available via HBOGo, MaxGo and Netflix for example, all work on a jailbroken device. Rumor is that the DRM is in the video stream…

    Then you have other apps like Time Warner, BrightHouse, Cablevision, DirecTV, LoveFilm, Verizon OnDemand / FlexView, etc… will not run on a JB device unless you patch it. Head on over to modmyi for more information.

  4. cypherstream,

    Also possible they don’t use DRM but rather watermarking on the streams that play on your device, embedding “invisible” variations in the video frames that can identify the content as having been streamed to YOU. These watermarks are designed to survive relatively harsh transcoding and would allow the company to trace the content back to you if you uploaded it to a torrent site say. No idea if they’re actually doing that in this case, just saying its possible…

  5. Seems like the various content providers have not learned anything from the music industry.

    People are happy to pay for the convenience of streaming to various devices (so long as the price is somewhere in the “reasonable” range) which should more than cover any potential DRM issues.

    People who are shelling out $700 for an iPad and paying upwards of $400/month for quad play deals are not going to sweat an extra ten or fifteen dollars to be able to watch TV on their iPad. The “wow-isn’t-this-cool” factor more than makes up for it. Ditto on the simplicity factor – torrents may be free, but (I have heard) they are a pain in the ass to use and your average viewer doesn’t have the tech smarts to use it

  6. “torrents may be free, but (I have heard) they are a pain in the ass to use and your average viewer doesn’t have the tech smarts to use it”

    The Best Buy store in Nampa, Idaho , lists all models of the current iPad as “in stock” along with other manufacturers.

    And according to Great Basin Internet Services, Grasmere Riddle, ID has one number for Internet access. It’s digital at (208) 759-1027.

    I wonder how many bonded V. 92 modems would it take to carry the Fios service, let alone Xbox Live, and stream episodes of Tosh.0………