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Cable Channels Panic Over iPad Streaming App 346

jfruhlinger writes "Time Warner Cable this month released an iPad app that would allow its subscribers to stream (some of) the channels they already pay for to their iPad, so long as they're connected to home Internet service provided by Time Warner Cable. The app probably seems like a baby step to most Slashdotters, and was extremely popular among subscribers — but it's thrown the owners of those channels into a panic, and they're threatening lawsuits. Time Warner says the contracts they've signed with the channels allow broadcast to any device in the home — 'I don't know what a TV is anymore,' says one company exec — but the channel owners fear that this will disrupt current and future revenue streams and that they need to stop it now. 'If we allow this without litigation, everyone will do it tomorrow,' says an anonymous source. 'If we litigate, we have a chance to win.'"
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Cable Channels Panic Over iPad Streaming App

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  • by robmiracle ( 1938904 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @02:44PM (#35614724)
    for their subscribers. For a company that is loated and hated by most of their customers who feel trapped in a dictatorship of ever escalating pricing, poor quality and lack of innovation, this iPad app is a serious step towards them doing something great for their customers.
  • Re:My thought is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @02:45PM (#35614734)

    This lawsuit has nothing to do with you or your formats. It's strictly a business deal between content producers and a cable distributor; the content producers think Time Warner is welching on their deal to distribute the data according to their contract. What if a cable channel wants to stream their channel themselves for direct subscription revenues? TWCs action makes it less likely this would work, and it looks like TWC is just trying to make build a technological end run in order to stymie cable channels from selling themselves to subscribers a la carte.

    It's remarkable how many people here are suddenly on the side of Time Warner Cable(!) and iPads(!!) as long as they're providing Teh Shiny New Modality.

  • by Jerry Rivers ( 881171 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @02:51PM (#35614822)

    Yup, I do the same thing. I have a Slingbox hooked up to my sister's cable service in Canada so I can watch programming I can't get here in the states. Works like a dream, yet I don't hear any bitching by the content producers.

  • Re:My thought is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @03:34PM (#35615534)
    People are probably taking Time Warner's side because streaming cable channels to your computer is so obvious that everyone is shocked that the channels are objecting to it. The fact that Time Warner is doing it, and channels are trying to stop them, is pretty much where everyone stops reading.

    Really, there should be no litigation here. Customers pay for cable service, which means channels are streamed to them; it should make no difference what type of computer they use to watch those channels.
  • Re:My thought is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @03:39PM (#35615622)
    Except the end user has already paid for the content twice (subscription and ads), only freaking insane media cartel thinking demands that the customer pay for the content a *third* time. Personally I don't care because if they make it too expensive or too inconvenient I'll just stop using their product all together. I'm already going to be watching less tv this quarter because my cable provider is going 100% digital thus killing my HTPC's PVR capability until I can get a CableCard tuner, but that's ok because it's starting to get warm enough to enjoy the outdoors again =)
  • by eriks ( 31863 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @03:51PM (#35615756) Homepage

    ... streaming isn't counted by Nielsen

    Then Nielsen is fucking stupid, and by extension so are the execs for the channels that are accepting what Neilsen says. Streaming views should be easier to collect and be more accurate than doing statistics on a sample and estimating how many viewers there were.

  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Friday March 25, 2011 @03:57PM (#35615830) Homepage

    Exactly, when I stream a show I'm actively choosing to watch that show. Which is different then when nothing good is on and I just set it to G4 and let cops run to fill the background with noise.

  • by twisted_pare ( 1714106 ) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @12:49PM (#35622938) Homepage
    No one has yet mentioned why the channels are scared. They have every right to be, it is based on oversubscription. (1) If you are a cable channel, you charge a few cents per viewer, per month to the cable company. This is not much for most channels, between around $0.15 and $1. For a major channel like ESPN it can be $3.50. (2) Most people don't care about most of the channels in their package. Of that $80/mo, I don't care about the $0.15 that is going to Women's Entertainment, but they still get their cut. WE depends on million of people that don't watch the channel paying for it. Many channels desperately need this model. (3) If you stream channels, then you could just stream what you want. Heck, the big boy marquee channels like ESPN could just charge people directly and cut out the cable co. For instance, why pay $80 for those channels when you could just buy it from ESPN for $15/mo directly. This is great for ESPN, but bad for the Classic Golf Channel. So you see, if you are many of these non-marquee networks, you will hate this new model because it empowers the consumer to get exactly what they want, making the popular channels more prosperous, and killing off those who depend on oversubscription to users that don't even want them. That is what this is really about.

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