Within the next few months, subscribers to Verizon FiOS service could watch live TV through an application on their tablet computers. That's the word today from Verizon, which says it expects to roll out a full range of television programming to tablets, including the top-selling Apple iPad – and presumably the influx of Android- and Chrome-powered slates expected by the holiday season.
Verizon reps announced at a press conference that the application was, in a technical sense, ready to go. But Reuters is reporting that Verizon will still need to "convince content providers like Time Warner or Walt Disney Co to give it permission to extend live TV viewing to devices such as tablet computers and home appliances."
It's important to note that what Verizon seems to have in mind here is not a stream-on-demand service such as the one Netflix offers. Instead, tablet owners would be able to watch television programs and sporting events at the same time they hit the cable box. Over at GigaOm, Ryan Lawler runs down some details from the Verizon press conference:
There will be certain limitations at the launch of the app. At first, subscribers with an iPad will only be able to watch linear programming within their own home, which allows Verizon to authenticate and make certain that the users have access to whatever content they’ve paid for. Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir said in a press briefing that the iPad app takes advantage of Verizon’s architecture, which he characterized as “cloud TV.” The experience is similar to what’s available today on FiOS set-top boxes, and takes advantage of the same software that Verizon uses for its set-tops.
The tech world has been buzzing in recent weeks with news of a slew of Android tablets, which are expected to hit the market in time for the holiday rush. Some of them, such as the the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which will likely ship with Google's Android 2.2 operating system and a snappy 1.2GHz A8 processor, are seen by many analysts as worthy challengers to the Apple iPad.
Yesterday came news that Google could also be stepping into the fray. According to the blog Download Squad, hardware manufacturer HTC will make a line of Google tablet computers. (HTC also made the Google Nexus One.) Download Squad says the Google tablet, set for a Black Friday launch, will run Chrome OS, Google's forthcoming open-source operating system. Google has not commented on the rumor.