December 6, 2011
The Cox iPad App Cuts Out STB Involvement
Joining several of its video-provider brethren, Cox Communications now is offering an application that allows subscribers to use their iPads as additional screens to stream live video in their homes.
The “Cox TV Connect” app initially provides access to 35 linear channels, and it is available through the Apple App Store. At initial launch, Cox customers with “Preferred,” “Premier” or “Ultimate” high-speed Internet service, "TV Essential" service or higher and a DOCSIS modem can download and use the free app.
Cox worked with NDS to develop the app, which streams IP video over DOCSIS to the home and uses Wi-Fi from the router to the iPad.
Other operators that have deployed iPad and Android tablet apps have approached the problem differently. For example, Cablevision requires customers using its Optimum App for iPad to have an Optimum-authorized cable modem connected to a secured wireless router. Comcast's XFinity TV app works in part with the set-top box.
Cox's app, however, is independent from existing TVs and set-tops within the home. "Think of the iPad as a TV and set-top combination," says Steve Tranter, vice president/Broadband at NDS. When the subscriber changes channels using the guide on the iPad, it does not change channels on other TVs within the home.
He also notes another unique thing about Cox's app: It includes digital rights management (DRM). "We provide the DRM," says Tranter. "Content is encrypted so when it goes over the open Internet only Cox subscribers can access it. Also, they have to be inside their home, and they have to be a Cox subscriber."
Creation of TV Connect took nine months, and, like others, Tranter credits the quick development time to the fact that much of the innovation happened in the cloud. Also, NDS is Cox's prime integrator for Tru2way and the Trio guide, and the same centralized guide data is utilized for the iPad app.
- Linda Hardesty