Cox Communications is making live TV available on the iPad, with the release of a new app that lets subscribers watch shows and movies while in their homes. The Cox TV Connect app makes it the latest in a series of pay TV operators to extend their services to new devices.
Previously, operators like Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have launched iPad apps that bring live TV to the tablet, as long as users are logged in and are connecting from their home networks. Other apps — like one from Comcast — let users authenticate an watch on demand content. Cox is taking the former approach with its app, bringing live TV to the app in user homes.
For cable operators like Cox, the end goal is to make as much content available on as many places as possible. Thanks to the availability of streaming video on new mobile and connected devices, consumers are increasingly demanding access to their favorite TV shows and networks regardless of the devices. “A screen is a screen is a screen,” Cox VP of Video Strategy Steve Necessary told us in a phone interview.
While the Cox app is a step in the right direction, the selection of live channels in somewhat limited today: The app has about 35 channels available for live viewing, out of hundreds of channels available to subscribers. Compare that, for instance, with Cablevision, which introduced its iPad app with all of its channels available at launch.
Necessary said that’s because the company needs to negotiate rights with TV networks before putting them online. Cox also needs to ensure that local broadcast content, or content that is subject to certain blackouts, doesn’t appear in the app. Cox has operations in 18 different states throughout the country, so local content can vary by market.
This isn’t the first app for Cox; it previously launched an application that lets users browse content and program their DVR from mobile devices. Necessary said that at some point the functionality from both apps will likely be blended together into a single application that handles both sets of functionality.