Time Warner Cable expects to deliver an app for Android-based phones and tablets within the next few weeks that will let subscribers watch live TV at home -- although not many Android devices currently on the market will be able to run it.
The TWC TV app will run only on devices that support Google's Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, and so far not many devices support that version of the operating system.
"It's currently the only version of the Android OS that allows us the security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network," Time Warner Cable director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon wrote in a blog post. "But it's up to the device manufacturer and sometimes the data carrier when or if ICS will be deployed to a particular device."
The TWC TV apps for Apple's iPad first launched in April 2010, followed by versions for iPhone and iPod touch.
The apps currently provide more than 100 live channels, depending on a subscriber's video package. However, the MSO notably has not come to an agreement with Viacom for distributing its networks on the apps, which may be used only over a home Wi-Fi network to comply with rights restrictions.
Simmermon compared developing the live TV app for Android to "not unlike tweezing one's eyebrows while using a disco ball for a mirror," noting that developing a live video product for Apple devices is much easier because the OS and hardware are controlled by the same company. He said the Android apps will be upgraded for live TV "definitely by Memorial Day."
Time Warner Cable's Android apps, first launched last fall, currently lets digital TV subscribers program their DVR, add favorite channels and use their devices as a remote controls. The app is available to all customers with set-top boxes or DVRs running the Time Warner Cable "Navigator" interactive program guide.
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