Britt: iPad is Just the Beginning


Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt told analysts Thursday that its controversial decision to stream live television over iPad devices inside the customer home is just the tip of the iceberg, adding the technology will allow the cable operator to address the emergence of Smart TVs.
Britt, on a conference call with analysts to discuss first quarter results, agreed with an analyst that although 360,000 customers downloaded the iPad app in the first month of its availability, he realizes that not everyone will own the tablet device. But he added the technology is the basis for other applications and products, specifically Smart TVs.
Time Warner Cable has taken some heat for the app - several programmers initially objected to their channels being included in the service, but later reached deals with the MSO. Viacom has been the lone holdout, the two have traded barbs in federal court with Time Warner Cable asking for a declaratory judgment allowing it to air the networks and Viacom countering with a claim of breach of contract.
But Britt seemed unconcerned, adding that currently about 70 channels are available on the app and by the end of the year nearly all of the linear channels carried on the cable system will be available, including broadcast stations in select markets. Next month the product will be updated to include a remote control function and the ability for the customer to remotely program their DVRs.
"I want to emphasize that our iPad app is not a one-off product," Britt said. "Rather we are investing in a development process and a development team that will introduce capabilities to customers in rapid succession. The consumer electronics industry is embracing the idea of devices such as Smart TVs with built-in intelligence and 2-way communication capability all built on IP standards. The technology we're using to simulcast video to iPads will eventually feed all these devices. Over time this may lead to a world without set-tops, which could enable a much better customer experience."