Time Warner Demos Beta iPad EPG

NEW YORK: Time Warner Cable has an iPad app that changes TV channels, and it’s far enough down the road that the executive suite demo was posted on YouTube.

Jason Gaedtke, vice president of Web services, presented the app to Time Warner Cable chief Glenn Britt, Chief Technology Officer Mike LaJoie and director of digital communications, Jeff Simmermon.

“There are two problems we’re trying to solve with some of the prototyping work we’ve done on the iPad app,” Gaedtke says. “One is publishing, streaming and consuming content here, and the other is remote control of the video experience... the 10-foot experience in the living room.”

He brings up the app on the iPad screen.

“What we have here is a familiar channel guide, including all the content you would normally receive through your set-top as part of your video subscription,” he said. “When we boot up this application, we load up that guide data, along with the current time, and we orient along the familiar temporal access.

“We can scroll through this, select a particular channel, change to it... watch now.. and it will change the channel on the television. So essentially, the iPad has become a more convenient and versatile way of navigating the content that we find on the video service today.”

The app also controls digital video recording.

“We also have the opportunity to schedule recordings on this device,” Gaedtke says. “We can go into the future here, say ‘record now,’ and that program will be scheduled to record.”

Other functions include publishing content and streaming particular shows from TWC’s lineup. Gaedtke says they’re still working on moving content between mobile, TV and computer screens.

Rich Greenfield of BTIG notes that Comcast demonstrated a similar iPad electronic program guide at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association convention in May. However, since then, analysts grew skeptical of deployment since little information emerged subsequently.

“Sentiment is now changing rapidly, with both Time Warner Cable and Cablevision indicating on their Q2 2010 conference calls that they have portable device virtual remotes in development,” Greenfield said at the BTIG blog(registration required). “Cablevision even went as far to say that theirs would be rolling out in the near-future, we take that to mean by the end of Q3 2010.”
-- Deborah D. McAdams