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Cablevision offers cable channels on iPad

Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. Saturday launched a service that allows subscribers to view 300 live digital cable channels on an iPad in the home.

With the free Optimum App for iPad, the tablet device essentially can be used as another TV set.

"This application allows the iPad to function as a television, delivering the full richness and diversity of our cable television service to a display device in the home," said Tom Rutledge, chief operating officer at Cablevision, which owns Newsday. "It gives our customers the additional flexibility and convenience of watching television throughout the home, in places where set-top boxes might not be ideal or even practical, like the kitchen, bathroom or work room."

The app will include 2,000 video-on-demand titles at first. Cablevision expects to make the rest of its video-on-demand library available by early summer.

The app also allows users to schedule DVR recordings and view electronic TV program guides. Parents can control what content their children may see.

In November, Verizon FiOS introduced Flex View, which provides subscribers free access to nearly 2,000 video-on-demand titles on devices anywhere, even outside the home. Rather than live streaming, the service lets customers download shows to computers, tablets and smart phones so they can be watched without an Internet connection.

Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said the company also plans to introduce live streaming on the iPad. "We're working with all the various content providers to make sure we have the proper licenses," he said Saturday.

March 15, Time Warner Cable launched the TWCable TV iPad app with free live streaming of 32 channels for subscribers over Wi-Fi in the home. Last week, a dispute with programmers forced the company to pull some channels, but it has added others, offering more than 40 in total.

Cablevision, which uses its cable network -- not the Internet -- to deliver the programming, says it has the right to distribute the content under existing distribution agreements.

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