|August 18, 2010, 12:35 PM ET|
Verizon Shows Off Its Upcoming Entry in TV-on-iPad Race
Verizon Communications demonstrated Wednesday a working iPad app that shows live TV on the Apple device — as long as you’re a Verizon Fios TV subscriber in your home.
“This is a software set-top box,” said Shaygan Kheradpir, Verizon’s chief information officer said, showing off the app in his Upper East Side apartment.
The app, called “What’s Hot,” displays a mosaic of shows that people in your area are watching now, and allows users to tune into any of them. But it isn’t coming to the Apple app store any time soon. Media companies that own TV networks have yet to sign on.
“Technically, we’re done,” Mr. Kheradpir said of building the app. Now, Verizon is “talking to our content partners,” he added.
Verizon is one of several TV distributors to talk about putting more TV content on the tablet computers like the iPad–a rush The Wall Street Journal reported on last Friday. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others are working on iPad apps to compete with growing traction for Web-based competitors like Netflix.
But media companies are not always eager to sign on. Verizon argues its app should be an easy sell–it is just another set-top box in the home, the company says. But some major media companies want to be compensated to put their TV shows on new platforms, especially those that could enhance distributors’ business.
Shawn Strickland, Verizon’s vice president of consumer strategy and planning, said the company doesn’t plan to pay or charge extra for access to content for the service. “If we get down the road where we have 80% of programmers in the tent, we may not wait for the additional 20% to roll this out.”
“It’s interesting,” said Misty Skedgell, a spokeswoman for Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, whose CNN network was used in Verizon demonstration, which she attended. “We’re still in discussions about all of it,” she said.
Verizon’s app wouldn’t be set to work while on the go–at least not initially. “Those are different rights,” Mr. Strickland said, adding, “When you take it outside the home, those are really different discussions.”