Comcast May Not Have Rights To Stream TV To Tablets

Comcast is working furiously to get its programming onto iPads and other tablet computers, even cutting deals with hardware providers like Samsung. But there’s just one little problem: the company may not have the rights to stream shows without first negotiating with the companies that own them.

The New York Post reports that at least one programmer had to send Comcast a letter reminding the cable giant that it can’t just hand over content that it doesn’t actually own:

“I sell these shows in wireless, in download-to-own, and I sell them to Netflix,” one distribution chief told The Post, noting that the company recently had its lawyer send a letter to Comcast as a reminder it needed to negotiate additional rights.

“I’m not ready to just hand it over to Comcast.” …

[In response, Comcast said:]

“We work with our network partners to collaborate on the content that we offer online and on tablets and will continue to do so,” a Comcast spokeswoman said. “Many of our partners have expressed interest in making their content available to our customers on multiple devices, which we will make available this year.”

Comcast sees making programs available for free via tablets as a way to lock them in to the company’s apps, while producers are reluctant to authorize more free distribution channels, as they don’t want to undercut services like iTunes, which charge for downloads.

Rights static over Comcast iPad TV app [NY Post}

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  1. Reading_Comprehension says:

    Negotiations? Great, so my Comcast bill is going to go up now, right?

  2. SteveZim1017 says:

    #1 let me access my DVR from anywhere with a wifi connection
    #2 Let me access OnDemand from anywhere with a wifi connecion

    this would make me and my ipad very happy

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Although I can’t prove, this feel like Comcast is losing at its own game. Karma?

    • TerpBE says:

      For years Comcast has been needlessly putting a copy protection flag on just about all of their shows so that Tivo owners can’t watch their recordings on their computer. I hope they don’t expect any sympathy if other companies decide to step in and prevent Comcast from doing the same thing themselves.

  4. oldwiz65 says:

    Comcast should pay attention to getting the rights to do something before going out to actually doing it.

    Reminds me of newspapers that sue people for quoting from or linking to their stories, but don’t have a problem copying entire stories from independent bloggers without compensation or even notification.

    • Griking says:

      You mean like actually waiting for their merger with NBC is approved before they reorganize?

    • Krang Krabowski says:

      So let me get this straight. is they can stream the MAJORITY of thier content with permission they shouldn’t lauch because they don’t have the rights for SOME of the content… i believe it would make more sence to just not allow the unauthorized material to remain as it has been requested… not part of the service.

  5. MrEvil says:

    I’m getting a bit tired of the content owners feeble attempts to make me open my wallet for the sixth time for the same programming. I wanted to watch an episode of Castle I’d missed from THIS season (in fact it was not very many weeks old, aired just prior to Christmas). I go to hulu only to find out I gotta pay for Hulu+ to watch an episode that’s been off the air for only a few weeks.

    And these fuckers wonder why people looooove bit-torrent so much. I would have happily sat through Hulu-free’s adds, but I was denied even that oppurtunity. Unfortunately the pirates helped me out. I stopped bootlegging music when Amazon MP3 started, I haven’t pirated a PC Game since Steam, I stopped pirating movies because of Netflix, but I still pirate TV shows because the networks and studios can’t pull their heads out of their collective asses.

    All I want is to be able to go to a website, click PLAY, and watch a TV show with a couple advertisements here and there.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    When they raise prices their excuse is: “Our customers (somehow) demanded it.”

    When they offer a service they have no right to offer they say: “Many of our partners have expressed interest in making their content available to our customers on multiple devices.”

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    It’s ironic that Comcast fights against net neutrality, and here they are dealing the content distribution, which you could equate to a content neutrality fight.

    I fight against Apple for the right to jailbreak my phone, and Comcast fights for the right to use the content they paid for at their disgression.

    I realize it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I see a bit of a correlary here.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Exactly. I’d wonder what their opinion would be of me ripping a copy of a blu-ray I bought to use on my computer or load onto a PS3 hard drive? The studios think I should buy a digital copy (or a blu-ray that comes with one…of course the codes expire, so you might not be able to actually download it). Is it okay for Comcast to use content anyway they want, but not for the end user?

  8. jrwn says:

    Syfy has changed their website and will shows on there 30 days after airing. I don’t plan on waiting that long to watch good shows.

  9. Kibit says:

    Slingbox FTW!

  10. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Comcast already streams over the web, I wonder if their position is that those licenses cover tablets while the content providers contend that they don’t.

  11. mannyvel says:

    If you stream within the home (over wifi), I can see how Comcast feels that it doesn’t need a separate license. Comcast already paid to deliver content to the home; this is just an unwired TV plugged into its STB.

  12. Alvis says:

    “I sell these shows in wireless, in download-to-own, and I sell them to Netflix”

    Now, I understand working out different arrangements for streaming a program vs. download-to-own, but what’s the rationale for different deals based on the delivery method – wired vs. wireless?

    Pizza places don’t charge different delivery rates if the driver’s in a car or an SUV.

  13. feralparakeet says:

    Have the studios not figured out that the amount of time that individuals will wait for streaming of a TV show before they go pirate it is precisely 24 hours?

    I wouldn’t even mind a HuluPlus subscription, if I didn’t expect it to have just as many commercials as HuluLite. Honestly, only cutting out a total of five minutes of advertising while repeating the same ads over and over and over again through the same episode doesn’t make me want to pay even the $8/month.

  14. K_R_H says:

    Dont bother with these knuckleheads. I worked for them, and they are liars. Always tellign us rates, etc. won’t change, and two months later they go up, They are getting just as greeedy as Verizon.

  15. BurtReynolds says:

    Well they’ll have content from NBC/Universal soon enough. The regulators appear to not have the guts to stand in the way of this mess.

  16. highmodulus says:

    Comcast on the customer friendly side of things- up is down, left is right. As a Comcast customer with an iPad color me interested at least.

  17. sfled says:

    Comcast produces no content or anything even vaguely useful, they are merely the string between the cans.

  18. Duckula22 says:

    Aaahh, the battle of “rights!” I reserve the rights to this and that, we haven’t come to a deal yet, waiting, hummm, more waiting. Good for you, ’cause I can’t care less. I quit watching TV a good 3 years ago, too much BS. Long live my local library and its free DVDs and my apps to skim through right down to the actual movie, no FBI warning crap, no ads, no trailers, no what them want me to see(s) ;) I reserve my right to laugh at your trying to reserve rights.