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Verizon Plans to Let Customers Watch Live TV on IPads

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Shaygan Kheradpir of Verizon
Shaygan Kheradpir, chief information officer of Verizon Communications Inc. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Verizon Communications Inc., the U.S. phone company trying to win television customers from cable providers, is planning to allow subscribers to its FiOS TV service watch live shows on Apple Inc.’s iPad.

The iPad application will expand a service that lets FiOS users watch on-demand video, such as rented movies, on mobile devices starting next quarter, executives said today at a press conference in New York. The iPad app will be released later.

While the live-TV technology is ready, Verizon is in talks with the companies that own the shows, including CNN and HBO parent Time Warner Inc., about the service that will stream the programs to tablets. The content owners are likely to be more comfortable with allowing the service to work inside the home at first, and expand its reach later on, Verizon said.

“This is why we built FiOS the way we did, and this is why we made the investment,” Verizon Chief Information Officer Shaygan Kheradpir said at the event. “We’ve been waiting for devices that are capable of taking this stream and rendering it beautifully.”

In the fourth quarter, New York-based Verizon will give FiOS customers access to stored pictures, music and downloaded movies on up to five devices, including personal computers, TVs and phones. The service will be available for no extra charge.

The service will at first work on Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerrys and handsets running Google Inc.’s Android software or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile, as well as on PCs and Macintosh computers. Verizon said IPhone users would get the service after Apple approves its submission to the App Store.

Live Shows

The company hasn’t determined what it will charge for providing live TV away from home, said Shawn Strickland, vice president of consumer strategy. The company declined to comment on timing for that service.

Verizon, facing declines in home-phone customers, committed to spend at least $23 billion on the FiOS service in a bid to win TV customers from Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. Verizon and its cable rivals are all also trying to combat the increasing popularity of free videos on the Internet.

AT&T Inc., Verizon’s larger phone company rival, said last week it is expanding its U-Verse TV service to the BlackBerry Torch and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable-TV provider, are also moving toward the “TV Everywhere” model, which lets subscribers watch cable shows on the Web at no extra cost.

Verizon dropped 2 cents to $30.15 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 4 p.m. The stock has declined 2.6 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in New York at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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