NEW YORK: Time Warner Cable Inc in the United States is launching an iPad application that plays live TV. The app will be free to download in a few hours, but will only work for people who subscribe to both video and Internet service from the cable TV company.
And even then, it only works in the home, when the iPad is connected to the company's cable modem via a WiFi router.
Rob Marcus, the company's chief operating officer and president, said the app will play 30 basic cable channels in high definition to start with, but that number should expand soon.
"For all intents and purposes ... this enables you to convert any room in a house into a TV room," Marcus said.
Other major US cable companies have iPad apps that play video on demand or act like big remotes.
Time Warner Cable's app doesn't work as a remote control, nor does it give access to video on demand or shows stored on a digital video recorder in the home. Marcus said these features will be added later.
He added that laptops, smartphones and smart TVs could all eventually get apps, too.
Companies such as Netflix Inc and Hulu Inc already have apps that stream movies and TV shows to the iPad in the United States, bypassing cable companies. However, the apps don't show live TV.
Some Americans have started canceling cable TV in favour of Internet viewing, but the numbers appear to be small so far.
"Increasingly, customers want more flexibility in the way they view content, whether that's on different devices or in different rooms of the house," Marcus said. - AP