Cable iPad Apps at the Forefront of TV Everywhere

After years of dragging their feet with online video, cable companies are now cautiously making their videos available on the Internet and on mobile devices. Consumers, after all, have a near-infinite number of entertainment choices, online and mobile video included, and many pay TV providers are being forced to get more strategic about investments in delivering web-based video to devices beyond the television set.

Through TV Everywhere-type services that make subscription cable content available on-demand, pay TV providers are hoping to appeal to growing interest in online video and provide more value to subscribers who might be thinking of cutting the cord. While first-generation TV Everywhere services were limited simply to authenticated video streams that could be viewed on a computer, a new generation of applications for Apple’s (s AAPL) iPad tablet will push those services further into the mainstream by making some video capabilities available even when people aren’t at home and tied to their PCs.

Not all apps are created equal; different companies have proposed different plans and capabilities to be built into these applications. Most, like Comcast (s CMCSA), plan to integrate some programming guide and DVR-scheduling capabilities into their apps, but some are considering adding everything from on-demand mobile video access to live linear TV on tablet devices.

In my latest piece for GigaOM Pro, “Got a Cable Subscription? There’ll Be An App for That” (subscription required), I review iPad app plans that have been announced from cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable (s TWC) and Cablevision (s CVC), as well as satellite provider Dish Network (s DISH) and IPTV provider Verizon (s VZ). Based on what information has been made public by these companies, I review the pros and cons of upcoming applications, and discuss their opportunity for success in an increasingly competitive cable market.

To view the piece, click here.