At least seven of the ten major cable operators in the US are looking to the iPad and Android-based tablets as a new platform for consuming subscription TV. One of the first operators to hit the market with a tablet application is AT&T, which recently launched a free U-Verse application for the iPhone that offers DVR functionality, downloadable content, and streaming over WiFi. Comcast is reportedly developing a free iPad application that is slated to launch at the end of the year and offers similar functionality. Time Warner, Cablevision, and DirectTV are also jumping on the iPad bandwagon with applications that will provide subscribers with the ability to watch TV in their homes or on the go.
While the bulk of the operators are embracing the iPad, Verizon Communications, the parent company of Verizon Wireless, is, not surprisingly, turning to Android for its tablet offering. Verizon is taking it one step further than its competition and is reportedly working with Motorola to develop an Android tablet that will be compatible with its FiOS TV service. The tablet is rumored to have an NVIDIA Tegra2 processor, 10-inch display, and is expected to run Android 3.0 Gingerbread.
While the bulk of the cable operators are signing content deals and moving slowly towards the mobile consumption of TV, Hulu and Netflix are well entrenched in the mobile arena. Netflix has a robust iPad application that provides streaming access to a large number of movies and television shows from Netflix’s expansive library. Hulu also recently launched a premium subscription service, Hulu Plus, that features an iPad application for the consumption of movies and videos on the go. It is too early in the game to predict which service or services will come out on top; but while we wait for the king to be crowned, we sure can enjoy the bounty of content that is destined to hit our tablet devices very soon.
[via the Wall Street Journal]