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THE TABLET BOMBLET

8/23/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

TABLETS AND IPADS AND BEARS, OH MY!

It’s now seven months since this year’s Consumer Electronics
Show, where e-readers and netbooks were the sparkliest of the
“connected devices.” Tablets, in January? Not so
much. The iPad wouldn’t arrive until April.

And here we are, on the brink of autumn. The
action is shifting, hard and fast, to tablets for video
viewing. The terms “on-net” and “off-net” are always
nearby. Translation: What’s on-net for Verizon is offnet
for Comcast — just as what’s on-net for Comcast
is off-net for Cox or Time Warner Cable.

Pull up, folks: The tablet bomblet makes for a whole new
chapter in an industry (cable) that spent the last 64 years not
competing with one another. A brief roundup of who’s doing
what, “on-net,” in their own respective markets, so far:

Cablevision’s trials, disclosed earlier this month, stream video
to iPads and other screens — within the confines of the subscribing
home. (Outside the home: rights issues.)

Comcast wowed even ardent cable bashers (Gizmodo, Engadget)
with its iPad remote in May; streaming every which way is next.

DirecTV plans to add tablet viewing for this football season
($50 on top of the $300 NFL Sunday Ticket package;
see cover story).

EchoStar hopes its work with subsidiary Sling
Media will sidestep the landslide of rights issues.

Time Warner Cable pimped its iPad apps
for remote control, remote DVR scheduling and
streaming in a YouTube video on August 13.

Verizon’s work targets a video app for
Google/Android devices, initially marketed to its 3.2 million FiOS
subscribers — but eventually to non-subscribers, too.

Which brings us back to: “What’s on-net for Comcast is off-net
for Verizon.” (And the bears and the “oh my!”)

September