Apple’s revolutionary iPad’s killer app: Live TV

“The tablet computer may have found its killer app: television,” John R. Quain reports for FoxNews. “The question, however, is: What’s it going to kill?”

Cable companies and TV networks have watched ratings decline and endured a barrage of stories about ‘cutting the cord’–subscribers dropping cable TV service in favor of Internet video,” Quain reports. “Most of that has been hype, but cable companies are worried about the future.”

Quain reports, “Sales of Apple’s iPad tablet continue to rocket. According to some analysts, Apple has sold 30 million iPads. And other tablet entrants, from Samsung, Motorola, HP and RIM, hope to ride those coattails. What are those millions of tablet owners doing? Increasingly, they’re watching video. They’re enjoying ‘Weeds’ on Netflix and downloading movies like ‘The Tourist.’ And some of them may be wondering why they need cable TV service at all.”

“So Cablevision, Time Warner and Comcast have jumped on the magic tablet ride, producing apps to deliver their programming, control their DVRs and conduct sundry other tasks,” Quain reports. “The apps are all free, too — the catch is that viewers still have to pay a traditional cable TV subscription to gain access to the wireless streaming feeds. Why are cable companies doing this? By accommodating a second screen, they hope to stay relevant — and retain their customers.”

Quain reports, “It’s ironic, actually: Apple failed to get traction out of its Apple TV box, but the iPad has found a way in the back door, although not via Apple’s iTunes store. Rather, competing services like Netflix have opened the door, and now by offering free tablet apps the cable companies may be inadvertently propping it wide open.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. “Apple failed to get traction out of its Apple TV box”

    Quain needs to check his facts. Netflix announced recently that more movies were being streamed through Apple TV than through iPads despite the substantial disparity in adoption rates in favor of the iPad.

    1. @ stophobophobia: true, but that point is irrelevant. Netflix dominates dowloaded movie rentals in most regional markets, not iTunes.

      No matter whether users stream their movies through Apple TV or through an iPad, Apple today is not competing well in movie rental against Netflix. Though Netflix is a one-trick pony, they and every other media outlet attemps to suck more money out of people in the long run by getting people to sign up to the long-term subscription and bleeding them slowly. Apple’s strategy is less threatening to cable companies than other streaming services because of the pay-per-view pricing, but don’t expect to see cable providers allow their profit margins to decline. They control the pipe to your house, and will collect their toll one way or another. Streaming TV will never be truly free – it will always be some combination of ad-laden, subscription-based, and/or pay-per-view. As online media distributors squeeze into the marketplace by dropping price, then existing ISPs will ratchet up price or squeeze the pipe in response. Cable companies rolling out free apps that require monthly subscription anyway is proof positive of this.

      The item no one seems to be talking about is Blu-Ray, which will continue to become cheaper and will remain the best quality video available for the next several years, perhaps even a decade. Hence the huge success of Redbox.

    1. An older networking textbook of mine had this great quote, “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of computer tapes going down the highway.”

      An update might be “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a mail carrier delivering Netflix DVDs to homes on her route.”

      Even more appropriate if the DVDs are Blu-Ray.

  2. We stream EyeTV through the house to watch TV.
    Netflix is great. Problem is, it will change the dynamics of bandwidth use and studio royalties. At that point, its price will go up substantially.

  3. Apple is putting all of the bits into position — and getting paid handsomely while doing it. One day we’ll wake up to a world where Apple suddenly owns TV.

  4. Netflix streaming has fairly bleak future. Some ISPs are already sabotaging it (selective bandwidth throttling), and the remaining ones are soon to begin doing that, as soon as they discover that Netflix is in fact competing with some of their own offerings. Unless America decides to put in place some net neutrality regulation, ISPs that also offer cable TV service will severely hamper Netflix’s traffic to the point of becoming useless, in order to make their own video-on-demand services the only reasonable option in town.

    Little good does it do that Netflix pays heavily to Akamai and similar bandwidth delivery services in order to avoid public pipes and deliver their streams directly to the ISPs’ backdoors…

  5. Since when has Apple sold 30 million iPads? Apple sold 15 million up to the last quarter and added some to this quarter. Analysts aren’t mentioning anything about a significant added amount. It’ll be great if Apple did sell that many, but since one analyst was saying that this quarter would be an “unspectacular” quarter then obviously that extra amount of iPads must not be figured into it.

    Apple better leverage that data center to get more video content to the iPad and all the other iOS devices and bust up Amazon’s party. I remember when the first iPad came out and the tech genuises were saying that no consumer would rather watch TV on an iPad than some huge HDTV in the living room. Wrong. If Apple can’t take Netflix down with an advanced version of iTunes, they should just buy it outright and corner the streaming market.

  6. Netflix is a joke in Canada. Almost no newer content, specifically from the last year or so; “The Greatest American Hero” was interesting at the time, but not so much now. And ISP limits mean Netflix has significantly reduced the file quality to try and get more shows through the same allotted download limit, and the quality suffers. I am sticking with AppleTV and EyeTV.

    1. Well, one good thing: Netflix is already streaming original TV programs in Canada. In the USA, we’re apparently going to have to wait until this summer. Also in the USA, our Tard Party dominated House of Representatives just passed a bill that would effectively kill off Net Neutrality. Gee thanks Tards.

      But I must concur: I <3 my hacked Apple TV and EyeTV.

  7. Just because the cable companies content are offering iPad content (when they can even pull it off without the networks lawyering up) doesn’t mean they’ve made any moves to the future. You can’t take it outside of your WiFi network, you still need a cable box; the only thing that changes is the additional 9″ screen and a fancier remote control.

    1. The first sentence of the article says this is a killer app for tablet computers … meaning the tablet will kill other technologies (television, movie rentals, theaters, etc.). It doesn’t say the iPad will enjoy advantage over other tablets.

      Yet, if more people choose tablets because of the killer app and the iPad is the superior tablet, then Apple will definitely extract greater benefits from the killer app than any computer manufacturer.

    1. Well, I was watching TV programs over the net from the BBC today on my 13.25″ MacBook while I was over at Starbucks. I’ve even watched NetFlix on my iPod Touch 4!

      It’s not much of a stretch to imagine watching TV on an iPad. It’s for when you’re mobile.

    1. Blockbuster has been ailing from Marketing Moron disease for a decade. How Dish Network is going to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse is beyond my comprehension. Good luck!

      I’d personally just break Blockbuster up for kindling and burn it.

  8. Given the choice of subscribing to the 2011 MLB live TV schedule, I chose to purchase through Apple rather than DirecTV. This allows me to watch games anywhere around the house using my iPad or iPhone, or on a networked, 58-inch plasma HDTV in the den that’s connected to both a Mac mini and an AppleTV.

    All these Mac devices use the same log-in name or password to access game feeds. It’s GREAT to be able to stream games anywhere the 802.11n WiFi reaches — even out on the patio. I can even watch MLB games on the road using 3G, although AT&T does heavily throttle the bandwidth.

    Besides the cable companies, Disney/ESPN now has an iPad App for live streaming too. To remain competitive, DirecTV is going to have add iPad content streaming to its App.

  9. This development is good for those producing content for television and movies, since greater convenience for viewers spells more eyeballs watching their content throughout the day (and night).

    One notable loser: local broadcasters, whose broadcasting services will be in less demand if a substantial share of the population has greater access to movies and television series supplied by national networks, movie production companies, Netflix and others. Pretty much the same happened a generation ago with the advent of Cable TV.

    1. Actually, not really. There is an FCC regulation that controls duplicated content.

      In other words, if a local broadcaster has 20/20 or The Simpsons playing, the cable system cannot put an out of area of domain channel on that is playing the same show without the consent of the local.

      This was done to prevent super channels from being hopped in by microwave or satellite and robbing the locals affiliated of ad revenue.

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