DirecTV Tunes In Tablet TV

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Following cable’s lead, DirecTV has
released an upgrade to its free iPad app that lets subscribers
with HD digital video recorders watch 38
channels live on their tablets over a home Wi-Fi connection.

The feature is similar to live TV streaming apps
Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable
launched earlier this year — generating complaints
from several programmers that the feature violated
distribution agreements.

Viacom was the only programmer that took the issue
to court, suing both Cablevision and TWC. The
media company reached an agreement with Cablevision
resolving the dispute, but has not yet come
to terms with Time Warner Cable. DirecTV’s live TV
lineup on its iPad app does not currently include any
Viacom networks.

The channels available through DirecTV’s app are:
TBS, TNT, USA Network, FX, Fox News Channel, Fox
Soccer, Fox Business Network, Discovery Channel, CNN,
A&E Network, NHL Network, SyFy, MSNBC, CNBC,
BTN, TLC, Planet Green, Tennis Channel, NBA TV,
Lifetime, Audience Network, Cartoon Network, Bravo,
Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Animal Planet, Speed,
History, National Geographic Channel, MLB Network,
Science, Versus, Food Network, Bio, Golf Channel,
Univision, Travel Channel and NFL Network.

DirecTV noted that “live TV streaming is currently
available only within your home, on the same Wi-Fi
network your HD DVR is connected to.”

The cable companies have argued that because
their live TV apps are available only within a subscriber’s
home, the feature is covered under existing
carriage deals. Programmers, including Viacom,
counter that it’s a different use case, on a non-TV device,
that requires a separate agreement.

DirecTV’s live TV feature requires customers to
have a Plus HD DVR (models R22, HR20, HR21, HR22,
HR23 and HR24 or higher) connected to the Internet.
In addition, users must have a wireless router connected
to the home Internet network.

DirecTV launched the first iteration of the iPad
app in February, with the ability to change channels,
search listings and program DVR recordings.