Time Warner Cable, a TV and internet provider for millions of people, released an app for the iPad today that lets users stream television shows directly to the mobile device. The app will initially only stream 30 basic channels, but TWC's president and COO Rob Marcus said that the number will increase in the near future.
While this initially sounds like great news for people on the go, the Associated Press is reporting that streaming will only be allowed for users if they subscribe to both television and broadband services. In addition, customers must be connected to TWC's broadband at the time of streaming. This means that users will not be able to use the iPad's 3G connection to stream shows while away from their home. Marcus puts a positive spin on this, saying "For all intents and purposes ... this enables you to convert any room in a house into a TV room," but it's hard to believe that this will gain much real-world traction.
Competitors such as DirecTV allow customers who purchase NFL Sunday Ticket to stream to any device; this allows people to watch their favorite team play even when they're on the road or visiting family. DirecTV also allows users to stream content from their DVR to a local PC, something that is also not available in the new TWC offering. In addition, products such as the Slingbox (now owned by rival Dish Network) allow users to stream content anywhere in the world as well.
While TWC is on the right path with this offering, it doesn't go far enough compared to other solutions on the market and it is doubtful that this will be a heavily used option for customers.