DirecTV debuted its iPad app in February with an impressive suite of remote control and content browsing options, but one of the few missing features was the ability to watch TV on it, which has now been added. Like similar apps from Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, v1.3.1 adds the ability to watch 38 channels live on the tablet, provided you’re connected to the same home network as your DirecTV Plus HD DVR. That home restriction, plus being limited to only live TV streams and not DVRed programming separates it from Sling’s apps, but at least it’s still a free add-on. If you want to watch recorded shows or take them on the go you’ll still need the Nomad box for that. Check below for a link to one of DBSTalk’s usual thorough walkthrough PDFs breaking down the new features, a few screengrabs sent in by a reader, and the complete channel list after the break.
Microsoft announced new integration with live TV as a part of the Xbox 360′s fall update during E3 earlier this year, but didn’t name any US pay-TV partners at the time. Now, anonymous rumors recently posted on Digiday suggested the folks at Redmond were looking to work with Verizon and Comcast, followed by Bloomberg hearing similar talk from its own “people with knowledge of the situation.” Today’s rumors finger Verizon (which showed off live TV on a variety of devices at CES), Comcast, HBO, Crackle, Bravo, Syfy and UK service Lovefilm as likely partners. Missing from the list is AT&T’s U-verse, which already offers an Xbox 360 tie-in and distributes its IPTV on the Mediaroom platform, just like some of the international partners previously announced. If these services launch it will be interesting to see how the integration works and if it’s VOD like the existing Xfinity TV and Flex View mobile apps, or if providers cross the IPTV bridge with in-home devices like the Televation / AnyPlaybox.
Elgato’s been experimenting with live TV on the iPad for over a year now, but until now, that meant streaming programs that were already broadcast online anyway — a mighty large limitation, wouldn’t you say? This week, though, the company announced EyeTV Mobile, a TV tuner that plugs into the iPad 2′s 30-pin connector, allowing it to pull in broadcast television. We just happened to stumble on Elgato’s booth here at IFA and treated ourselves to a short TV break. The tuner, which fits easily in the palm of your hand when the antenna is collapsed, only allows you to draw in signals using the DVB-T standard, so make no mistake this is a product just for our European readers. (Although Elgato says it hopes to release something similar in Japan.) Even more than the hardware or the programming selection (fútbol, anyone?), we remain impressed by the free EyeTV iOS app, whose interface is pretty much the same as the HDHomeRun for iPad app, with the ability to swipe the screen to change channels and, in this case, save your location. It’ll be available across the pond for €99.95 / £99.95 at the end of this month.
The free WatchESPN app that lets users tune into the family sports channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com) has been upgraded to version 1.1 on iOS (also available for Android) and in the process added a new UI designed just for the iPad. It sports a new tablet friendly UI, but the key restriction is still that you need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV to make use of the service. If you don’t have one of those and need a quick hit of sports TV without your TV, there is an account preview option that gives a few hours of viewing, no authentication necessary. You can download it yourself at the iTunes link below or check out the commercial embedded after the break.