As we reported earlier, Time Warner cable introduced a groundbreaking new iPad App that allows streaming of live TV. The app has a couple of restrictions, such as requiring both a TV and internet subscription from Time Warner, and restricting the streaming to within the customer's premises. It turns out the networks didn't like the app all that much and claimed that streaming distribution was unauthorized.
Network reps have reportedly been in contact with Time Warner and telling the cable provider that streaming distribution via the iPad has not been authorized. Specifically, they are claiming that distribution via streaming is not covered under affiliate agreements. However, these are just warnings. No actual lawsuits have been filed.
What may have prompted this is a hint by Jason Gaedtke, Time Warner Cable's VP of web services, that they may be willing to enable streaming beyond the customer premises and essentially offering some sort of place shifting service.
This is not the first time that networks have criticized place shifting technology. Back in 2006 HBO considered filing a lawsuit against Sling Media, creators of Slingbox. Major League Baseball also considered the same thing in 2007. Both never went anywhere, but there still is a general sentiment that place shifting without explicit permission is something that the networks are not comfortable with. Sling Media is now owned by satellite provider Echostar which builds place shifting technology into its DVRs. Cable and satellite providers have also had similar place shifting apps on smartphones and tablets including the iPad, but these have usually featured recorded and on-demand content.