Video & Audio|August 9, 2011| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: , ,

Cablevision Rolls Out Streaming App For iPhones Despite Viacom Lawsuit

Northeastern regional cable provider Cablevision has added the option to view cable content from an iPhone or iPod Touch to their service despite some legal kerfuffles with Viacom over… what else? Rights.

The app has been available to subscribers with an iPad for some time, but just launched for the other Apple devices, opening the service to a broader range of Cablevision subscribers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Two months after the Cablevision iPad app’s June release, Viacom filed suit in federal court in Manhattan alleging that the cable network did not have permission to distribute content to iPads.

In a statement today, Cablevision contends:

“Cablevision has the right to distribute programming over its cable system to in-home iPhones, iPods, iPads and other devices functioning as televisions under its existing distribution agreements with programming providers.”

Although the aggressive stance is believed to be an effort to compete more aggressively with streaming media services like Netflix (Cablevision lost nearly 25,000 subscribers in the last quarter alone, the company reported today), the Optimum App is hindered by the fact that it can only be used in range of your home Cablevision modem. That massive minus point, unfortunately for companies like Cablevision, is the typical sort of large-scale restriction that makes such services far less compelling for customers than rivals like Netflix- which is streamable on iPad or iPhone anywhere you damn please.

Aside from waning customer interest in traditional cable service providers, Cablevision faces “millions of dollars” in damages from if Viacom wins their suit.