Soon iPad and other mobile device owners will be able to watch live, streaming cable TV from their mobile devices courtesy of Verizon FiOS. If everything goes to plan, the mobile version would be identical to what you see on your TV, including all 600+ channels and On Demand content. We may not have the jetpacks or flying cars that the future promised, but live, streaming, mobile TV that can go anywhere might be the next best thing. The app will also include a “Whats Hot” feature that will show you the top programs being watched in your area, and it will be updated every five minutes.
There is a catch though, and it is a big one. Gizmodo is reporting that the app is still being developed, and should not be out until next year at the earliest. When it is released, users will only be able to stream the service within their own homes, due to legal issues.
From a legal perspective, streaming to the iPad in your house is no different than sending a cable signal to another TV. Once you leave your house though, things get more complicated. Verizon is attempting to get the agreements of the networks, but it is unclear how far along the negotiations are. The legal wrangling could delay the release of the app for day, weeks, or even years.
Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir was full of praise for the iPad and its potential to air live, streaming TV,going so far as to say that it was “why [they] built FiOS.” Despite the love for the iPad, Verizon has confirmed that it will be available on all platforms.
If it works, it could quickly be a game changer. It would likely force other cable providers into following suit or risk getting left behind. If that happens, the appeal of Hulu’s paid service falls drastically. It would also give the iPad an even further head start on the upcoming tablets, even if they all adopt the FiOS app.
Regardless of the legal hurdles that this app will be forced to jump, the technology does exist, and sooner or later, it will be released. When it does, and when people are able to carry mobile devices that can access any television channel live, and possibly have access to On Demand materials, things might never be the same again.
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