A new crop of cool iPad video apps have recently hit Apple’s App Store, and they’re coming from an unexpected source: America’s largest cable companies.
The cable giants like Cablevision, Time Warner, and Comcast are finally taking advantage of their assets — huge lists of channels and super-fast pipes into customers’ homes — with free, useful apps.
And Comcast, which does not offer live streaming yet, just announced that its Xfinity TV app now has 4,500 hours of on-demand video content, up 50% from 2 months ago.
Cable networks are also getting into the game. ESPN just rolled out a new iPhone app called WatchESPN, with four full channels of live-streaming, for subscribers to participating cable services.
Why is this surprising?
We’ve badgered the cable companies in this space for years for their terrible user interfaces and generally slow approach to supporting new consumer technology. We’ve seen companies like Netflix, Major League Baseball, and Hulu beat them to the punch, embracing the iPad and iPhone with apps long before the cable cos.
But now, finally, the cable guys are at the table, and they’re doing cool stuff. We hope it’s a sign of more to come.
Cablevision basically ripped out the guts of its cable boxes and jammed them into your iPad, including live streaming of all channels in your home, access to on-demand, and programming your DVR.
Comcast does not currently offer live streaming or DVR, but offers 4,500 hours of on-demand video, including TV shows and movies. If you subscribe to premium channels like HBO, you can watch those videos on the app, too. Does not require you to be at home to watch.