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Cable Programmers Latch On To iPad Hype

Viacom's MTV Networks, Discovery Communications, Disney/ABC Television and The Weather Channel are among those looking to hitch a ride on the wave of publicity surrounding Apple's official April 3 ship date for the iPad.

MTVN produced four new apps for iPad from MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 Classic, while Discovery, Disney/ABC and NBC Universal's The Weather Channel debuted apps for the device's larger screen.

Apple could sell as many as 10 million iPads in 2010, according to Morgan Stanley estimates, while other analyst firms have released more conservative projections. The iPad, which starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only version, features a 9.7-inch touchscreen and runs the same operating system as Apple's iPhone and iPod touch devices.

"The iPad gives us nearly limitless opportunities to creatively connect with consumers of all ages wherever they are," Greg Clayman, MTVN executive vice president of digital distribution and business development, said a statement. "We're excited to be among the first to market with iPad apps."

The iPad apps from MTVN are: "Beavis and Butt-Head" ($4.99) with mini-games and video clips from the original MTV series; Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer Coloring Adventures" ($4.99) and "Daily Jigsaw" puzzle game (99 cents); and VH1 Classic's "Intellivision for iPad" ($2.99) with retro arcade games like Astrosmash.

ABC's iPad app provides free-to-consumer ad-supported episodes from about 20 popular ABC series, including Lost and Grey's Anatomy, over a Wi-Fi connection.

Disney also is offering a custom iPad version of Disney.com, which focuses on exclusive video content including full-episodes of popular Disney Channel and Disney XD series Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Suite Life on Deck and Phineas & Ferb, as well as a new Muppets music video, "Stand by Me." The Disney.com app also features scenes from upcoming films The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

ESPN, for its part, is offering two iPads apps: the ESPN Pinball game and ESPN ScoreCenter XL, which is similar to the version for iPhone and iPod touch devices but adds live play-by-play, video highlights, game summaries and statistics, box scores and standings. In addition, ESPN ScoreCenter XL offers personalized news and video on "myTeams," and the leading headlines and highlights of the day available through "Top Events."

Discovery's MythBusters app, created in conjunction with developer Phunware, is similar to the recently launched app for iPhone and iPod touch. The iPad version features interactive video, games and integration with Twitter and Facebook. The MythBusters app is available for purchase for $4.99; individual game apps are $1.99 each.

"The iPad represents a compelling new opportunity to engage Discovery viewers and we're thrilled to bring consumers an action-packed app with which to explore and experience MythBusters," Rebecca Glashow, Discovery senior vice president of digital media distribution, said in a statement.

The Weather Channel App for iPad -- which is available free, sponsored by Toyota -- provides forecasts in current, hourly, 15-minute, 36-hour or 10-day increments; an index of maps; an enhanced video center; and severe weather coverage alerts.

"The Weather Channel uses all the revolutionary functionality of iPad to combine the ‘lean-forward' experience of mobile devices and the ‘lean-back' experience of television viewing," TWC vice president of mobile Cameron Clayton said.

Meanwhile, CBS and the National Basketball Association also are pushing video-based iPad apps.

NBA Digital's NBA Game Time: Courtside app provides real-time player and team performance in addition to live scores, stats, and plays. The app, designed to take advantage of the larger, touch-based iPad, is intended to be used as a complement to TV viewing for basketball fans.

NBA Digital is jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports. The iPad app was developed by Turner.

The real-time series tracker, bracket break down, play-by-play features and video highlights will provide an "in-depth look" at every NBA Playoff game. The Game Time Courtside app will be available for free during the NBA Playoffs.

Finally, CBS is offering programming from several content properties for the iPad, including streaming video from CBS television shows; technology content from CNET.com; apps from Simon & Schuster; and a customized audio application from CBS Radio.

CBS will make the most recent full episodes of Survivor available to iPad users, as well as clips from shows across all dayparts, including How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, Two and a Half Men and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Each of the apps is available from Apple's iTunes App Store on iPad.