Besides the obvious size differential, are iPads and TVs really so different? That's the question being debated thanks to Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, who are pushing to extend your cable subscription package to include mobile streaming. But as the post-PC revolution heats up, content providers are freaking out about what is or isn't allowed on the (really) small screen.
It all started when Time Warner surprised everyone with a welcome (or so we thought) bit of innovation: a free iPad app for streaming cable TV shows on your home (Time Warner-enabled) network. But the TV studios cried foul, and a bunch of them (including all the Viacom, Fox and Discovery networks) forced TW to remove their channels from the app. If Time Warner wants to stream cable content on tablets like the iPad, the argument goes, it has to pay the content owners more money and get a new license agreement.
Now Cablevision, ordinarily a competitor, has come to the defense of iPad apps like Time Warner's and launched an app of its own, saying the iPad is really just another, thinner, sexier television and doesn't actually require new licensing.
It remains to be seen what will become of Cablevision's app, and what the courts will have to say about all this once the rubber hits the road. But in this rare turn of events, it's the cable companies who are pressing to allow users more content in more places at no additional charge.
Sounds alright to us.