Time Warner's new iPad app escalates the battle for the small screen

Time Warner's new TWCable TV app for the iPad (which lets TWC internet and cable service subscribers stream content to their tablets over their home WiFi ) became the most-downloaded piece of software in the iTunes store soon after its release on Tuesday, bringing TWC's servers to a screaming halt. And just as quickly, the app's existence has  provoked the ire of cable's old nemeses, the networks, who claim that TWC is violating their existing agreements with the cable provider by providing live streaming content to the iPad. TV over IP is still hotly contested territory, and those deals have yet to be made.

With the addition of live streaming, TW's simply venturing further onto territory already explored by Comcast with their Xfinity iPad app- though, as Geoff Morrison found last month, that app only lets Comcast subscribers access limited on demand cable content. Comcast has since announced that it will add full live streaming to Xfinity sometime this year, and Cablevision also has a streaming app in the works.

Elsewhere on the streaming front, Netflix (with some 60% of the streaming market already cornered) is planning to add at least one original series to its offerings, challenging the networks and the cable providers. Netflix, of course already  lets subscribers stream content to the iPhone and iPad over 3G or WiFi-wherever they might happen to be.

- Michael Berk