The Optimum for iPad app from Cablevision launched over the weekend, allowing customers to stream 300 live TV channels and giving access to their DVR and video on demand. It's great to see more and more providers pushing to deliver content to more than your standard television set for mobile viewing and opening the option of ditching the television completely. Here's a roundup of options that bring live TV streaming into your life without an actual television.
Google TV has been working hard to integrate televisions and computers by essentially merging the two. While it's been slow to catch on, the big giant likely sees the end game of all these devices eventually becoming synonymous.
While not exactly the first, Slingbox was one of the first to truly catch on with television anywhere using its Slingbox and Slingplayer software. It does require expensive hardware and software, but it does work with pretty much any source or provider.
DISH Network became one of the first big providers to offer subscribers the ability to watch live and recorded television programs on smartphones, tablets, and computers. They require pairing with a Sling-enabled device, but its nice to see it offered from the provider.
Last fall, PC Magazine and other news outlets reported on Verizon's announcement of a live TV application. 6 months later and we still haven't seen or heard anything from Verizon. In the meantime we're stuck playing with the Verizon Remote app, which is fun for about 5 minutes before you go back to your regular remote. It is handy however for setting your DVR on the fly.
Time Warner also has an app, TWCable TV, that allows you to watch content on your iPad.
Hulu provides free and paid television programming (and the rare, odd movie) on your computer and mobile devices. The content they display isn't' live though and if you're not paying for the premium service you're limited to only 5 previous back episodes.
Netflix also offers TV shows and a much bigger collection of movies. What's available in streaming is slowly growing, and with announcements that Netflix is getting into original programming, they are one to keep an eye out in the mobile arena.
With each new announcement we keep hearing the content providers pushing new lawsuits and complaints. Time Warner recently pulled programming in response. With advancements in technology, the line between watching programming on a traditional TV versus computers, tablets, and smartphones is becoming more and more blurred. Content providers need to realize that a viewing device is a viewing device, no matter what you call it. Your eyeballs are glued to one device or other, and it doesn't matter if you call it a TV, computer, tablet, or phone.
There are other options out there as well, so let us know how you're enjoying your TV on a device other than your television!