Tablets and iPads and Bears, Oh My!


It’s now seven months since this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, where e-readers and netbooks were the sparkliest of the “connected devices.”

Tablets, in January? Not so much. The iPad wouldn’t arrive until April.

And here we are, on the brink of autumn. The action is shifting, hard and fast, to tablets for video viewing. The terms “on-net” and “off-net” are always nearby. Translation: What’s on-net for Verizon is offnet for Comcast - just as what’s on-net for Comcast is off-net for Cox or Time Warner Cable.

Pull up, folks: The tablet bomblet makes for a whole new chapter in an industry (cable) that spent the last 64 years not competing with one another. A brief roundup of who’s doing what, “on-net,” in their own respective markets, so far:

Cablevision’s trials, disclosed earlier this month, stream video to iPads and other screens - within the confines of the subscribing home. (Outside the home: rights issues.)

Comcast wowed even ardent cable bashers (Gizmodo, Engadget) with its iPad remote in May; streaming every which way is next.

DirecTV plans to add tablet viewing for this football season ($50 on top of the $300 NFL Sunday Ticket package; see cover story).

EchoStar hopes its work with subsidiary Sling Media will sidestep the landslide of rights issues.

Time Warner Cable pimped its iPad apps for remote control, remote DVR scheduling and streaming in a YouTube video on August 13.

Verizon’s work targets a video app for Google/Android devices, initially marketed to its 3.2 million FiOS subscribers - but eventually to non-subscribers, too.

Which brings us back to: “What’s on-net for Comcast is off-net for Verizon.” (And the bears and the “oh my!”)