Cox Communications has launched an iPad app letting customers watch about 35 live TV channels over a home Wi-Fi connection -- but the service isn't available to subscribers who have entry-level broadband tiers.
The TV Connect app is available for no extra charge to Cox cable TV customers who have Preferred (12 Megabits per second down), Premier (20 Mbps) or Ultimate (50 Mbps) high-speed Internet service.
Subscribers on Cox's two lower-end broadband tiers -- Economy/Starter (1 Mbps down) and Value (3 Mbps) -- will be unable to log in with the iPad app.
According to Cox, the majority of broadband customers are on Preferred or higher tiers. The operator is offering TV Connect "on most tiers as a value-add capability, and we want to ensure the overall user experience of streaming video is positive," a spokesman said. The operator has no plans currently to offer TV Connect to Economy/Starter or Value tier subs.
The TV Connect app includes an on-screen guide, and customers can select a full-screen viewing option once a program has been selected. Cox worked with NDS to develop the iPad app's interface and digital rights management component.
"Cox offers convenience through convergence and TV Connect is a new way we are making viewing more convenient and flexible for our customers," Cox vice president of video product development and management Steve Necessary said in a statement. "Our TV Connect offering will continue to evolve and expand, adding even more value to our services."
Other operators that have launched apps for streaming live TV to tablets in customers' homes include Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, DirecTV and Bright House Networks. Dish Network also offers live TV on apps for iPad and other devices for customers with Slingboxes or "Sling-loaded" DVRs.
Cox said the channels available through TV Connect vary slightly by market.
In its Louisiana market, subscribers on digital cable TV tiers will initially have access to 34 channels: A&E, ABC Family, AMC, Animal Planet, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2, C-SPAN 3, Discovery, Disney Channel, E!, Food Network, Fox News, FX, Golf Channel, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, HSN, Lifetime, MSNBC, National Geographic, OWN, QVC, Speed, Syfy, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, truTV and USA Network. Subscribers on analog TV tiers will receive a slightly different lineup.
The operator also offers a TV Everywhere service that lets subs watch premium video content over any broadband connection (inside or outside their home). Cox TV Online, launched in May 2011, provides content from partners including Turner Broadcasting System, HBO and Cinemax, Epix, Vutopia and Hulu.
In addition, Cox earlier this year debuted Mobile Connect, an app available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices that lets TV and phone control and manage their DVR and telephone services.