We already know ABC and CBS are working to make their TV shows available on the iPad, so what about the other two big broadcasters — Fox and NBC? Well, Fox has yet to announce (or leak) its support for the device, and NBC has been equally mum. But let’s end any speculation on the latter’s plans right now — NBC.com video will work on the iPad, because it works on the iPhone.
This isn’t just idle speculation: Anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch can cruise over to NBC.com right now and watch full-length episodes of popular TV shows, such as 30 Rock, The Office, and Parks and Recreation, as well as promotional clips and short-form video from Saturday Night Live and NBC’s late-night talk shows. To deliver those videos to the iPhone, NBC has encoded them in the H.264 format, which works with Apple’s Quicktime player to display the hilarious hi-jinx of Liz Lemon, Michael Scott and others on the mobile device.
What’s important here is that the same encoding needed to display video on the iPhone also works on the iPad, meaning that any videos viewable on Apple’s mobile device will also be accessible from its upcoming tablet. All publishers need to do to make them work in-browser in Safari is add the HTML5 video tag. That’s not just true of NBC.com, by the way — it’s true of any video publisher whose assets have been encoded to work in the iPhone’s Safari browser.
It’s also true of any technology vendor that has existing support for iPhone video delivery. So don’t be fooled by the rash of iPad support announcements that have popped up from technology providers over the past week or so. In most cases, if those vendors are talking about encoding or video delivery to the iPad, they’re just rehashing the same old technology they use for the iPhone and wrapping it in a press release to talk about a hot new device.
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