Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Viacom are taking their debate over content and licensing rights to court.
TWC has filed today a request that a New York District Court decide its existing carriage agreement with Viacom allowing it to stream Viacom's channels on the iPad .
In March, several large U.S. cable networks demanded TWC pull the plug on its new app that broadcasts their live content to iPads.
The cable content providers ─ including Viacom and Discovery Communications ─ claim TWC overstepped contractual agreements in streaming their programming to this relatively new devices.
Now, they are demanding fees for streaming rights to their channels.
The New York-based cable operator is standing firm, instead contending agreements already inked with programmers give the company the right to distribute the content on any screen inside a customer's home.
The Wall Street Journal said rogramming executives at media bigs News Corp. and Viacom have voiced complaints about the app to Time Warner execs.
In January, Philadelphia-based Comcast announced plans to enable in-home streaming for live and On Demand content to computer tablets.
Beginning later this year, Comcast subscribers will be able to watch live news, TV shows and movies in on iPad or Android tablets, according to the company.
"This means customers with tablets and a wireless router can watch and enjoy live TV anywhere in the house," Comcast corporate blogger J.T. Ramsay wrote in a post. "Your tablet can be magically transformed into a personal TV set you can carry all around your home."
These moves are important one on several fronts for the nation’s largest cable operator and home Internet service provider.
Early last year, Comcast announced it would pay $30 billion to acquire NBC Universal, parent company of one of the biggest Hollywood film studios (Universal) and the NBC television network, among other high-profile TV properties. While the deal was expected to close by the end of 2010, it has been held up by Federal Communications Commission regulators concerned over online distribution issues.
The acquisition is expected to go through soon, possibly as early as this month, because Comcast appears to be betting all its chips on the big content line. With nearly 17 million high-speed Internet customers, Comcast is looking to push the most content to the largest number of devices possible.