TV on Tablets – A Reality

Watching TV programs on tablets has become a reality. In a significant move yesterday, Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) and Viacom Inc. (VIA.B) jointly announced that they have resolved their legal dispute regarding Cablevision’s streaming of Viacom contents on Apple Inc. (AAPL) developed iPAD, iPhone, and other similar devices.

Although, none of the companies revealed any details about the exact deal, it was only announced that Cablevision subscribers can stream Viacom’s programming to their iPADS. It is not clear whether Viacom will get any additional fees for this facility.

Since last March, the entertainment industry is witnessing a new legal battle between cable operators and cable channels when cable MSOs, such as Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and Cablevision, introduced new application to stream TV programs on tablets. Thereby, any subscriber can watch the TV programs just by downloading the required application on tablets.

As soon as cable operators launched these offerings, Viacom was the first among several content developers to protest. The company argued that it has given the right to the cable operators to air its program on television and not for any other device. Viacom filed lawsuits against Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, claiming that these companies have violated their existing agreements and infringed copyright laws. In reply, cable TV service providers argued that tablets are nothing more than another screen for watching TV shows at home. Thus, there has been no violation.

It is now clear that TV streaming on tablets comes through a negotiated settlement. While the Viacom-Cablevision litigation is settled out of court, a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan approved a “standstill” agreement for Viacom-Time Warner Cable litigation last month, which puts this case on hold. The judgment was followed by a mutual negotiation, which is currently going on between the two entities.

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