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CBS streaming free TV programming to iPhone users

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
CBS Mobile has released TV.com, a free new mobile application that allows iPhone and iPod touch users to watch full episodes of select CBS shows and other programming over WiFi or 3G mobile networks.

The new app (Free, App Store link) is the first example of an iPhone application providing free TV content directly from a TV studio in the US; the BBC already streams its free content to iPhone users in the UK using its iPlayer app.

TV.com currently offers a selection of CBS shows, including CBS News and CBS Sports programming and episodes of "Late Show with David Letterman, "Star Trek: the Original Series," "CSI," and "The Young and the Restless," among many others. The mobile application also serves up a selection of shows from the CW including "Smallville" and "90210," a half dozen shows from Showtime including "The L Word" and "The Tudors," and a variety of CNET and GameSpot podcasts.

While the current programming selection is rather limited, the app can accommodate all the new content CBS serves up as it works to make more of its library of content available. The app uses the iPhone's standard QuickTime player, and delivers pretty decent quality video.

Web TV vs TV

CBS is pushing TV.com in competition with the Viacom-backed Joost and Hulu, a joint effort between NBC and Fox, to reach audiences beyond the TV and deliver a "direct to users" model of web-oriented offerings. Hulu currently does not have a mobile app for the iPhone like TV.com's offering. Joost does provide a player app for its content, but it does not use the standard QuickTime player on the iPhone.

TV studios have rushed to set up their own web-based operations to create an alternative to seeing their content distributed (at no benefit to them) to web audiences via sites like YouTube. Joost, TV.com, and Hulu are supported by ads. Like YouTube, all three websites use Adobe Flash to deliver their video content on the web.

Moving beyond the web is still uncharted territory for the TV studios. Hulu recently stepped in to prevent TV appliance boxes such as Boxee from hooking into its web offerings to display on-demand content to users' TVs, a move that threatens the studios' contracts with cable TV providers, broadcast affiliates, and national advertisers. Similar licensing issues also prevent Hulu and other sites from streaming content to users outside the US.



TV on the iPhone

Like the web, the iPhone provides an additional potential audience, not an alternative, competing pipe that rivals the studios' existing TV business. Making video available to iPhone users requires providing open H.264 content (at least in order to use the standard QuickTime player with its hardware acceleration), as the iPhone supports neither Adobe Flash nor Microsoft's Windows Media DRM.

Google bridged that divide by streaming YouTube content via H.264 to iPhone users, a move followed by the BBC and now CBS. It's also possible to develop a custom player as Joost did for playing back proprietary video formats.

The other alternative to direct streaming TV programming on the iPhone is of course pay per view TV programming from iTunes, which CBS and most other networks already provide. The new TV.com application provides mobile users with free content, although it requires a decent network connection, ideally WiFi but it also works over 3G mobile networks.
post #2 of 65
Now we just need the TV-out cable to work in Apps......

It works great with the built-in apps.
post #3 of 65
That site looks just like Hulu Guess I'll feel right at home. I watch Galactica and Dollhouse on Hulu regularly.

Between TV.com, Hulu and ABC.com I can pretty much watch any US network show. I'm glad to see some of them come to my phone.

(I emailed Hulu requesting an iPhone version and got a "maybe" answer--which is the best you can hope for. Flash may or may not ever come to mobile Safari, but as a standalone app, Adobe and Hulu could deliver something specialized. NOTE: TV.com uses Flash video just like Hulu does. And it's on iPhone now.)
post #4 of 65
Eh, quality isn't that great, but good enough if you need a time killer.
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post #5 of 65
Now, when is Hulu going to make an app?

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post #6 of 65
Correction, title should be:

"CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users."

Edited
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post #7 of 65
Hulu gets its content largely from NBC and FOX. ABC nor CBS participate in Hulu. TV.com is owned by CBS. ABC has video downloads from its own website.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

That site looks just like Hulu Guess I'll feel right at home. I watch Galactica and Dollhouse on Hulu regularly.
post #8 of 65
Its projected that by 2012 people will access the internet with mobile devices just as much as computers. Hulu is going to have a mobile version.

Their is no need for a content wrapper like Flash on your phone, when you can play the video directly from the website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

(I emailed Hulu requesting an iPhone version and got a "maybe" answer--which is the best you can hope for. Flash may or may not ever come to mobile Safari, but as a standalone app, Adobe and Hulu could deliver something specialized. NOTE: TV.com uses Flash video just like Hulu does. And it's on iPhone now.)
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroneo View Post

Now we just need the TV-out cable to work in Apps......

It works great with the built-in apps.

Has anyone googles why their is still no Flash for iPhone? If you do you will find most articles pointing out that Apple fears the creation of Flash apps against iPhone apps. Glad that millions of iPhone users are coming ip on their two year contract. Combine this with all the newer phones, future app stores, we hope that Apple gives in as having Hulu on the iPhone will be pretty cool.
post #10 of 65
In the US we cannot view BBC iPlayer content. It is for a reason. Their are differing complex contracts and agreements for content distribution in each country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Correction, title should be:

"CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users"

Sigh. so rude, and for no reason at all.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Correction, title should be:

"CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users"


Sigh.

so rude, and for no reason at all.

Seriously? CBS is an American television network. Yes, there are some instances of satellite broadcasts internationally and an outreach to the Philippines but there is nothing rude or incorrect about the way we presented the story.
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post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post

Has anyone googles why their is still no Flash for iPhone? If you do you will find most articles pointing out that Apple fears the creation of Flash apps against iPhone apps. Glad that millions of iPhone users are coming ip on their two year contract. Combine this with all the newer phones, future app stores, we hope that Apple gives in as having Hulu on the iPhone will be pretty cool.

And most articles on the Internet are just wrong because they refuse to acknowledge what Jobs said. Simply, Flash is a CPU hog and kills the battery. Flash Lite doesn't do enough. Jobs asked Adobe for something in between.

So unless Adobe can provide Flash that isn't a CPU waster, I hope Apple doesn't give in. YouTube created an app, TV.com created an app, BBC created an app. Why doesn't Hulu just create an app?

Furthermore, Flash is proprietary. Apple has been pushing HTML 5 with CSS animation as an Internet standard replacement for pretty much everything that Flash can do. And much of that is already implemented in Safari 4 beta.
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post #13 of 65
This post is useless.
post #14 of 65
You have to understand that the video that plays on TV.com website is too big to play on the iPhone. They will have to go through all of their content and repurpose it to play on the iPhone. This app just came out today and it will take some time to add content.

The racial slurs are unnecessary.
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

NOTE: TV.com uses Flash video just like Hulu does. And it's on iPhone now.)

The "Adobe Flash Player" can play flash videos (FLV's) and H.264 encoded videos (MP4's or MOV's). Many sites are now converting their flash video from FLV's to MP4's because you get higher quality video in a smaller file size. But this conversion process takes a long time and many companies are just creating new content as an MP4 instead of converting the old content. So Hulu and TV.com might both use flash players, but they are completely different types of files. TV.com being iPhone compatible, Hulu not so much, not yet. But it will happen.
post #16 of 65
I can't wait for IPTV. Why didn't AT&T go Fiber to the House like Verizon? Why'd they have to go Fiber to the Node. Thats lame. Man, can't their be at least one good telecommunications company? Just one? pff... Apple shoulda blew up the 700mhz auction. I know thats bad business, but it makes for nice dreams... right?
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Seriously? CBS is an American television network. Yes, there are some instances of satellite broadcasts internationally and an outreach to the Philippines but there is nothing rude or incorrect about the way we presented the story.

but the internet is not american, and this international outreach often brings the (false) hope that we may be allowed to access content provided onto the (world wide) web.

Creating headings that do not instill false hope woud always be preferable.
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post #18 of 65
BBC iPlayer doesn't have an app - it just works through the BBC iPlayer website.

The reason iPlayer content isn't available internationally is partly the rights issues, and partly because the BBC doesn't do advertising so they'd probably have to make a way to charge international users, or add advertising, neither of which are particularily easy to do - mainly due to the way the BBC is structured.
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Correction, title should be:

"CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users"

Sigh.

so rude, and for no reason at all.

What is rude is your "rude" demand that an American company, talking about an American 'made by' and 'made for' product should declare that it is for Americans only.

There is no reason for it.

Perhaps a lesson in etiquette is in order. Then you may have written it as,

"For clarity, the title would be better stated, "CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users, Thank you."
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The other alternative to direct streaming TV programming on the iPhone is of course pay per view TV programming from iTunes

The next step, I HOPE, is a merger between what CBS etc are doing now with online TV and what iTunes does already.

ie:
Apple could give away TV episodes and have iTunes (or the iPhone or AppleTV) insert ads as specified by the networks. That's my best guess at the future of ad-supported TV.

No more program guides to search for a show - just search for a show on iTunes and download it to watch with ads.

This allows many interesting possibilities
1) Insert ads same way Hulu and CBS's tv.com do now
2) Have iTunes insert ads customised to our interests and location - ads are worth more if they're customised, so we might see far far less while still being financially viable.
3) Different ads if you watch a show again.
4) Ads stored locally, so showing a pre-downloaded ad can take pressure off downloads for internet connections that are borderline fast enough to watch immediately. Also watching a show can start with an ad while the show (or movie) starts caching.
5) Prevent ad skipping or limit fast forwarding in some way
6) Ads can link to longer ads, or "mark" something for a reminder (eg: upcoming TV shows, upcoming movies, or more info from car ads, beer ads, etc. Perhaps even "buy now" buttons.)
7) If lacking a distribution deal - insert the precise ads as seen on your local channel and allow manual ad skimming like any PVR
8) Allow users to pay a small fee (equivalent to ad revenue) to remove the ads for 1 viewing.
9) Sell the program as now.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

but the internet is not american, and this international outreach often brings the (false) hope that we may be allowed to access content provided onto the (world wide) web.

Your understanding of how TV networks work is pretty naive. The networks air their shows in the USA first and then license those shows for overseas broadcast, which makes millions of dollars for them (and in many cases is necessary to make some shows profitable). They are not going to do something that would undermine overseas distribution and potentially kill that revenue stream.

Maybe AFTER a show has aired overseas they will make it available online in those countries. But you'll never see it online before a foreign TV airing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

Creating headings that do not instill false hope woud always be preferable.

You're not happy with CBS, yet you're blaming AI? Give me a break.
post #22 of 65
Nice to see this sort of thing.

Now if only Apple would do what it takes to get streaming from all the networks (and netflix as well) to the aTV box. I'm not holding my breath, but it would make a major difference in getting the aTV to a mainstream success.
post #23 of 65
I know this is a free app but really it's so limited. If you have a TV tuner on your computer then buy the Orb app to watch live TV. With Orb I can watch all my channels, pause TV, and record too from any WIFI or 3G connection.

Plus you also have access with Orb to your entire photo, music and documents without loading them up on your iPhone/Touch. I can even stream my recorded TV shows and access my webcam remotely. Great for security or checking up on the kids.)

Well worth the price. I use this app all the time.
post #24 of 65
While ABC may not yet have an iPhone app, they have been streaming their TV content for quite some time.

Their HD stream looks fantastic on my wireless iMac 24", 3.0Ghz.

While it's not "free" (commercials), it's very cool, in flexability, accomodation.

In the long run, all TV studios will just use the computer as "another TV" display, generating their revenues from Ads.

Fine with me.
post #25 of 65
Wow. Free TV- we like that.
I'm surprised Apple or the other networks allow it, in that it competes with their iTunes' sales.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

While ABC may not yet have an iPhone app, they have been streaming their TV content for quite some time.

Their HD stream looks fantastic on my wireless iMac 24", 3.0Ghz.

While it's not "free" (commercials), it's very cool, in flexability, accomodation.

In the long run, all TV studios will just use the computer as "another TV" display, generating their revenues from Ads.

Fine with me.

But will Apple allow it on the Apple TV?
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Seriously? CBS is an American television network. Yes, there are some instances of satellite broadcasts internationally and an outreach to the Philippines but there is nothing rude or incorrect about the way we presented the story.

I don't know if Virgil was saying the story was rude, maybe on the part of CBS. CBS has reasons for that, because they've sold off all the overseas distribution rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Wow. Free TV- we like that.
I'm surprised Apple or the other networks allow it, in that it competes with their iTunes' sales.

If it's CBS's right to distribute, then ABC, etc. have no reason to mind. If CBS were distributing ABC's media without consent, then that's a problem. As long as it complies with Apple's SDK and store terms of use, I don't know if they can really block that.
post #28 of 65
In case anybody else attempts to get the app via a US gift card, don't bother.

You can get the app with no problem, and it does load on the iPhone, but "video content viewing is available only within the United States."

As nearly everybody knows, radio and TV broadcast content falls under a countries' jurisdiction. In Canada, it is the CRTC, US its the FTC and in the UK, Ofcom, etc.

They set the licensing rules basically for every communication device employed, used or sold, and set guidelines for content with regards to language, substance and foreign content.

Every countries' set of laws may be slightly different, but one thing is sure, foreign content is not unilaterally free to their respective citizens. Although many countries have exempted the internet, primarily because it was not as sophisticated at the time of legislation and nobody wanted to curtail or hinder its expansion, discussions are now in hand in many countries that may in fact, remove the exemption to control the content as is done on the radio and tv airways.

For those who think that this impedes their rights to free speech, consider the implications of not having laws legislating the availability of foreign content. As any geopolitical prof will tell you, "You want to create a coup without firing a shot," take over the radio/tv stations

Canadians, also take note. We do not have the same rights as Americans re freedom of speech. As the Charter so explicitly states, "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." As such, you can be held responsible for what you say and are subject to penalties as described by law, if your action is deemed harmful.

P.S. AN AFTERTHOUGHT
Perhaps it is about time that we grow up and understand that the iPhone is a communication device, and as such, is subject to the laws of the land in which it is being used.

Therefore, when a web site posts a story announcing the availability of an app as AI did, and in particularly is affected by the FTC's of the world as CBS is, just take it for granted that it may not work in Timbuktu.

I have a couple of radio apps that I got via a US gift card that work, most don't. However, I didn't know until I got home, and tried them in my own country. How AI could not know for sure, unless somebody tells them, is understandable.

By the way, it would be nice to know if my Canadian (Rogers' registered) iPhone would let the app work when I go to the States and connect via a 'US' Wi-Fi base.

Certainly, we all know that when we go to Apples' or any other company web site, we don't get abusive or violent because the site isn't littered with the flag of the respectful country on every page.

Afterall, why shoot the messenger?
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If it's CBS's right to distribute, then ABC, etc. have no reason to mind. If CBS were distributing ABC's media without consent, then that's a problem. As long as it complies with Apple's SDK and store terms of use, I don't know if they can really block that.

Well I think it's great and hope all the other networks follow. It's rather wasteful to purchase current TV shows on iTunes or anywhere else for that matter. This is even more of a reason to open up the ATV like the iPhone/Touch because I'm sure CBS and the others would serve it up for free.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Well I think it's great and hope all the other networks follow. It's moronic to purchase TV shows on iTunes or anywhere else for that matter. This is even more of a reason to open up the ATV like the iPhone/Touch because I'm sure CBS and the others would serve it up for free.

And just who do you think should pay for it to get produced, aired and distributed, etc.?
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Correction, title should be:

"CBS streaming free TV programming to USA iPhone users"


Sigh.

so rude, and for no reason at all.

- Remove chip from shoulder and holster your drama, please. -

It is not really a stretch that a US company only supports the US. TV isn't food or aid that one needs to survive.
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post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Well I think it's great and hope all the other networks follow. It's moronic to purchase TV shows on iTunes or anywhere else for that matter. This is even more of a reason to open up the ATV like the iPhone/Touch because I'm sure CBS and the others would serve it up for free.

Wonderful, I am a moron. I chose to buy the TV shows and I am happy with that decision. I do not feel like a moron though. Weird...
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post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And just who do you think should pay for it to get produced, aired and distributed, etc.?

The government- they pay for everything these days.
And that's why I watch PBS.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Wonderful, I am a moron. I chose to buy the TV shows and I am happy with that decision. I do not feel like a moron though. Weird...

So sorry you called yourself that. A moronic act does not necessarily make one a moron. \
But how often do you watch those current TV shows you've purchased?
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiimamac View Post

Has anyone googles why their is still no Flash for iPhone?

Because it's too slow and uses too much memory.

Heck, Adobe can't even get it right for desktop Macs, do you think they could for an iPhone with its limited memory and CPU resources?
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Seriously? CBS is an American television network. Yes, there are some instances of satellite broadcasts internationally and an outreach to the Philippines but there is nothing rude or incorrect about the way we presented the story.

I agree it's not rude, but it should be specified as:
- AppleInsider has readers from around the world
- CBS is shown all across Canada on cable and satellite networks. Local CBS affiliates near the Canadian border even have advertising from Canadian businesses. It's not out of the question for Canadians to assume they could get access

That said the reason is licensing. Canadian satellite and cable companies have exclusive agreements to CBS content in Canada.
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Seriously? CBS is an American television network. Yes, there are some instances of satellite broadcasts internationally and an outreach to the Philippines but there is nothing rude or incorrect about the way we presented the story.

The original comment I made has been edited back, as it seems a little overly strident to me in the morning light. I apologise for ramping things up to that level when it was not necessary.

However, the point that I was trying to make remains and as hard as I will try in the future not to get all bent out of shape about it it probably won't go away.

One has to not be a citizen of the USA to really see how impossibly smug and self-centred you guys come across some times. This is an internet site available to anyone around the world (that's the whole concept of the internet dontcha know), and it deals with one thing and one thing only. Apple.

Apple is itself a global corporation that produces a multi-lingual operating system that is sold in hundreds of countries around the world. Apple users, and Apple advocates come in all sizes, genders, and nationalities. In fact quite large sections of the readers of forums such as AppleInsider come from the UK, Canada etc., so this is hardly just a technical matter that both the readership and the advocates of places like this are multi-national.

The fact that the writers here (and in most other forums of this type, not trying to single you guys out), don't bother, and don't apparently even have it occur to them that they are talking to a world-wide audience and not just California, New York and Texas *does* offend people and not just me. It is rude, and it's just not necessary if anyone took just a few seconds to think about the framing of a single sentence of title. That's my whole point.

I'm sorry for "angrying up the blood" in some people here, but it's hard not to be offended when one is faced with offence. I will try to keep my anger inside in future, if only because every time someone brings this topic up at least one or two people always retort with even more outrageous stuff, like "this is America buddy" or "love it or leave it" or some other such bull.
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post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It's moronic to purchase current TV shows on iTunes or anywhere else for that matter. This is even more of a reason to open up the ATV like the iPhone/Touch because I'm sure CBS and the others would serve it up for free.

It's even more moronic to not understand that people are willing to pay a few bucks for convenience.
post #39 of 65
I watch American TV shows on our Canadian Channels ... heck I even watch CBS, ABC, FOX but they substitute Canadian commercials and they even substitute Canadian feeds for American Feeds if it's in the same time-slots. This must be freakin' nuts.

I can't wait until I cancel my Cable bill and am able to watch exactly what I want, when I want (On demand TV). I'm sure that'll open up a can of worms when this becomes common place as the Advertising revenues I would think drop as I'm gonna skip them as fast as I can ....

What I Don't get is that I can watch CBS on my Canadian TV, but can't watch it on my Canadian iPhone?

If they keep this mentality as we go into the ondemand era, it just pushes me to places like piratebay to get the shows I want. Hmmmmm... I wonder if they'll have on-demand piratebay?

Some day media won't matter I guess...
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

It's even more moronic to not understand that people are willing to pay a few bucks for convenience.

Is it?
Well I guess some people will also buy a bridge to nowhere.
It's all relative- one man's convenience is another man's waste. Too each his own.
Instead of moronic I should have used wasteful and I've changed it.
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