Time Warner Cable first to launch iPad app that delivers live TV (Updated)

“Time Warner Cable Inc. is launching an iPad application that plays live TV, becoming the first cable company to do so,” Peter Svensson reports for The Associated Press.

“The app will be free to download on Tuesday morning, but it will only work for people who subscribe to both video and Internet service from the New York-based cable company,” Svensson reports. “Even then, it only works in the home, when the iPad is connected to the company’s cable modem via a Wi-Fi 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, but that number should expand soon,” Svensson reports.
“‘For all intents and purposes … this enables you to convert any room in a house into a TV room,’ Marcus said.”

Svensson reports, “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.”

Full article here.

UPDATE: March 15, 8:40am ET: The TWCable TV app is now available via Apple’s iTunes App Store: here.

UPDATE: March 15, 5:45pm ET: We’ve been attempting to test and troubleshoot the app with TimeWarner and have come to the conclusion that the app only works with cable modem’s WiFi. In other words, if you’re using your Airport Extreme in between your TimeWarner WiFi cable modem and your iPad, the app will not work for you. Hopefully they’ll update the app soon to make it work with what’s likely to be quite a common setup.

MacDailyNews Note: The TWCable TV app’s current channel lineup:

TWCable TV app channel lineup

Time Warner’s app required your Time Warner login username and password. The app does not require your Time Warner “MyServices” password if it is different from your TimeWarner login password (used to access https://login.timewarner.com).

Via YouTube, watch a discussion between Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, CTO Mike LaJoie, VP of Web Services Jason Gaedtke and Director of Digital Communications Jeff Simmermon:

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe Architect” for the heads up.]


  1. Nice step in the right direction, but still not there yet. I`m sure someone sooner or later will come up with the app(s) that`ll stream live TV without all these useless conditions.

    1. Oh yeah!! Lame and beyond name!

      “Even then, it only works in the home, when the iPad is connected to the company’s cable modem via a Wi-Fi router.”

      If that’s the case, why the heck do I want to watch in the iPad, I’d watch it in my big screen TV. Unless you have got everything but the TV!! Hahaha…..

      Oh man, the level of intelligence that we can reach nowadays. Keep it up cable guys!!! Ha!

  2. It needs to essentially copy SlingBox’s capabilities to be really useful. I am a TW video and broadband subscriber (yes, I will accept your sympathy), and while being able to keep watching the game while I go to the bathroom at home sounds mildly appealing, what I really want is to be able to watch the game while I’m sitting at a Starbucks, or be able to tune into a televised freeway high speed pursuit while I’m cooped up in the office.

    1. EXACTLY RIGHT, RDF. Let’s face it: cable TV is, and has been for some time, a gigantic steaming pile of horse shit. Except horse shit is useful as fertilizer. Last summer I rented, for $1,000, and ran a trencher in 100-degree weather to split the cost of a nearly $4,000 cable installation to my house with my local provider. For TV? Hell no. For faster Internet and more reliable phone service. Read the Jon Bon Jokey item elsewhere in MDN and see if you can find the parallel: Yup, the cable business today is where the music industry was in the 1980s. To get one good song, you buy an album full of turds at an inflated price. We desperately need an iTunes-style end run on the cable industry. Subscribe when you want for as long as you want to the channels of your choice. And flush the shopping channels down the drain.

  3. I cut Time Warner TV service almost 2 years ago. I asked if they’d let me subscribe to ONLY HD channels and they said it wasn’t possible.

    @RDF +1

    So, I still subscribe to Time Warner broadband… actually I pay TW for Earthlink broadband via TW cable… so, why shouldn’t I be able to stream their TV programming on my iPad, too?

    Hell, I might even pay them $5 more per month.

    1. I’m stuck with Time Wanker, but how is Direct TV better if they don’t offer Internet service? Granted, their video service is over priced, but whose isn’t? Their Internet is about 99.9% reliable, and faster than most other option, with unlimited usage (yeah, they keep threatening to change that, but until they do …)

  4. What is all this planning to stream media to mobile devices, when the cell service providers are trying to implement this data consumption billed like water, or electricity. It is not compatible. Hopefully, when Apple said at a couple of the stockholder meetings that they “want to accumulate cash for possible future bold moves”, they are considering taking on or buying some of the wireless companies and serving up unlimited data. Yummy!

    1. The answer to your question is in the question itself. Streaming media to mobile devices using the water model will generate a huge amount of revenue for the pipe providers with minimal investment on their part. It’s merely one more way to screw the consumer, end net neutrality, and enhance the CEO’s bonuses.

  5. We already have too many remote controls to care about. My iPad is not a remote for your set-top box. Nice feature, but I’ll pass. Also, stop this silly idea to be a social network — look at Ping. Instead, give me a way to watch your content as a subscriber to your television service. But wait, I already have Netflix, so forget about movies. I will get live sports by the end of the year, fingers crossed. You see where this is going?

    Content producers will flock to outfits like Apple and Netflix, who understand that companies like Time Warner merely represent an unwanted middleman, who has to emulate products and services found in the open source world to unnecessarily add to a simple infrastructure: Streaming Server to device.

    Let me outline, briefly, what you should have thought about: Let’s create a server farm with a bunch of CPUs that can turn local TV and other live content into streaming data with as little delay as possible. Then serve that to the devices for a fee. At best, device-agnostic, go with as little hurdles as possible.
    This requires a minimum amount of technical people, testers, and maybe a small legal team to abuse.

    All the resources, reports, and information that TW has. And they come up with a channel guide + DVR app and the THOUGHT of venturing into future online services?

    But I understand, it’s all about corporate structure. If you have nothing to offer than being an organizer, a mere project manager, then I can see how inevitable downsizing scares you. Best come up with more action-teams and projects to keep your sorry ass afloat.

  6. Wow, check out the raw energy and inspiration just pumping in those guys. The way they lounge around in expensive clothes looking bored and fat and overusing the words “experience” and “consumer” is just… just wow.

  7. Unfortunately most of the content providers don’t “ask” what the consumer wants!!
    I’d like to pick the content period. I believe the technology is available, it just won’t serve the interests of the providers.
    I’d also like “real” 4G WiFi “everywhere”!
    I wish reasonable flat fees and new features or additional serves that don’t cost additional!
    Finally, in spite of it’s shortcomings, I think Apple gets it when it comes to understanding what the consumer wants. I only wish they were a Cell Provider.

  8. Sorry to hear the grips you American cousins have, but the British iPlayer for iPad was streaming live TV before this offering from Time Warner. Sadly, the iPlay App is free download and use, and shows all BBC channels either live or in ‘catch-up’ modes. (Did I say ‘Sadly’, really meant Luckily.) See review here: http://bit.ly/gwrvhY

  9. Not only the BBC, but Al Jazeera’s English service has been keeping me informed for months on world news, including live from Egypt, Libya and now Japan. There are also some faces on there I recognise from other TV channels (inc BBC and CNN).

  10. I would like to see direct to iPad, over wifi, reasonably priced programing, in a flipboard style. No cable or direct TV subscriptions.

    Maybe Apple’s new data center will be used in part for this service. (One can only hope). It should include news, financial news, Apple news and the NFL games.

  11. I’m on Time-Warner in a small town in SE Ohio. We don’t have any HD channels and they can’t tell when or if we’ll ever have any. I’ve switched to Dish Network for TV but still use TW for my Internet connection. With Dish Online I can watch anything on my DVR or a live feed on my iPhone, Mac at work, or on my soon to be delivered iPad2. We watched the Oscars on my iPhone while driving home from Florida.

    So I’m not impressed with Time Warner’s offering

  12. Excellent news and I saw somewhere that Cablevision is planning on doing the same. Once scenario that will be useful for me is that I do not have to have an additional cable box or TV. I only have one main TV in the living room and the kids have been lobbying me for an extra TV. An extra TV is a few hundred $’s then an additional cable box is is a few $ a month. I’ve already decided on an iPad2 so this would be excellent news.

  13. I don’t know what they’re hoping to accomplish – if all they’re trying to do is show proof of concept, then yeah, maybe they’ve done it, but they’re not going to get many takers. Let me stream live over wi-fi in Starbucks, maybe that will be incentive for me to sign up for the video offerings, but if I can only watch it in my home anyway, there’s no point. To be honest, I already don’t subscribe to the video service just because my schedule is such that it’s easier for me to watch videos on hulu or the network websites anyway on my own schedule, which would open up considerably if I could use this app anywhere I want, but if it’s limited to my own home, it’s just the same as watching cable TV. Whoop-de-do.

  14. Works great for me. Installed and setup without any effort. Yes, agree on comments to watch on HDTV, however, I don’t have an HDTV in every room…we only have one in the house. Now I can watch a show regardless of what’s on the HDTV. It gives me more flexibility which is always a good thing. And yes, we also use AppleTV or Elgato for time shifted viewing. Personally, I like the app and concept. Better yet, for all you that scream before you try, it works and the UI is very well done.

    1. Oh, we’re sure the technical workmanship is excellent, but that’s not our point. Our point is that those of us who don’t subscribe to live TV aren’t going to suddenly start to use an app that only allows us to use it in our home like a TV. If we can take our iPads anywhere in New York City (which, incidentally, is why we’re not swayed by the story about the backyard, since Manhattanites don’t have backyards) and get the service, now we’re talking, but until then, no. For most of us, the app doesn’t offer more choice and flexibility, it’s just showing off bells and whistles.

  15. @ Mario, precisely. You now don’t need an HDTV, cable box, and pulled cable in each room. Better yet, since our wireless cover the backyard, I can watch CNN or MSNBC outside. More choices and flexibility are always good things.

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