ESPN fans who also own Apple iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices can now enjoy live feeds from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com through their mobile devices using EPPN’s authenticated “TV Everywhere” service. This service lets subscribers with services from Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV access the live programming.
The application is called WatchESPN and is free for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch through the Apple iTunes App Store. The product was released April 6, and a version for the iPad will come out sometime in May.
Only subscribers will be able to watch the programs and users will have to enter their TV provider’s subscriber info to be able to watch the ESPN programming. ESPN will offer almost its entire programming lineup through the new applications, but some of their programming won’t be available due to restrictions on distribution rights and if that is the case, substitute will be put in for the ones that it affect about five percent of programs.
For the time being, only customers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House and Verizon FiOS TV who get the linear networks as part of their video subscription will have the ability to use the applications to watch their favorite ESPN programs.
The president of ESPN and ABC Sports, George Bodenheimer said that the whole thing is incredible because there is no way that when ESPN came out in 1979 that anyone could predict that they would be able to carry ESPN around in their pockets.
Cable companies are upset that Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems have put out iPad applications that give customers access to live TV, saying it goes outside of the terms of their current carriage agreements. TWC and Cablevision, said that they believe the applications are legal because they only allow subscribers to access it while they are in their own homes using a Wi-Fi network.
The first authenticated version of ESPN came out in October 2010, with Time Warner Cable and Bright House, and then they added ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line in January 2011. Patrons can watch programming at ESPNnetworks.com.
ESPN added that the WatchESPN application is expected to be produced for smartphones and tablets soon.