InfoCom says the first Tablet TV services are appearing in several markets around the world, offered either free of charge or as paid add-ons by different players: content providers (content producers and Pay TV operators), mobile operators and TV access providers (cable, IPTV and satellite operators). The Tablet TV app requires a broadband subscription and either a TV access or a mobile data package and enables wireless streaming of live and VoD contents for tablet PCs. Tablet users download the TV app from iTunes or the Android market, free of charge, while the access to the service is linked to the user’s TV subscription: the users activates the service through log in details provided by the TV provider.
Currently, the service is offered to existing and premium subscribers of broadband, mobile data and TV access. The service appeal is the “entertainment anywhere” promise, enabling users of tablet PC to enrich their mobile experience with TV entertainment. Compared to smartphones, tablet PCs improve the user’s viewing-experience as, with the Tablet TV app, premium exclusive content can be enjoyed with the larger screen.
Until now, Tablet TV applications primarily featured remote control functions. However, most recent upgrades enable wireless streaming of live TV and VoD. Currently, TV access providers primarily provide Tablet TV services via WiFi connection and restricted only to the user’s home, that is, the service is paired with the user’s set-top box. Future developments relate to expand the service accessibility, upgrading current apps to enable the “real” mobile experience via 3G. Some content producers, such as BBC, are developing a Tablet TV app to access tablet TV services also abroad.
The new Tablet TV apps can be an effective tool to mitigate churn and increase value of RGUs. Cable TV operators have been experiencing severe cord-cutting in the past few years due to viewers’ shift to other TV platforms together with the increasing popularity of OTT players, such as Hulu and Netflix. Therefore, TV access providers offer Tablet TV as an add-on service in order to extend further their multi-screen delivery strategy and to strengthen their customers’ loyalty. Responding to the hype inflamed by the release of Apple’s iPad, also mobile operators have started offering dedicated data packages specifically for Tablet TV viewing. Most players are trying to bank of the popularity of tablet PCs in order to up sell their premium packages, either premium Internet packages and mobile data plans or premium TV packages, which several pay TV operators and content producers impose as a pre-requisite to activate their Tablet TV service.