Here's good news for subscribers to Time Warner Cable: you can now watch TV online via a Mac or PC. Even more, those who "rent" a Time Warner Cable MDN/ODN DVR can now schedule recordings directly from a web browser, making it easy to save the latest episode of Fringe or Alcatraz at home when darting out of town on vacation or on a business trip. Want to be totally evil? The new app even lets you change the channel on each set-top device despite what everyone else is watching (insert evil mastermind laugh here).
Currently Time Warner's PC app is facing connection issues likely due to a sudden rush of traffic, temporarily saying the service is not available at random times. When working, users are faced with four sections: Live TV, Guide, DVR and Feedback. These should be fairly obvious, but the DVR portion is only functional if subscribers are renting a DVR. It also needs to be selected under the Settings menu, meaning that users can only control one Time Warner set top box at a time.
Unfortunately, having Live TV on the PC or Mac doesn't mean subscribers get their whole list of TV channels. The online stream is devoid of any local programming, limited to a list of just over sixty channels including Chiller, The Disney Channel, ABC Family, SyFy, USA and more. Users can see what's on by scrolling through the "channel browser" tucked away to the left, or by clicking on the 7-day Guide tab at the top which provides four filters: all channels, favorites, HD and PC only. Here is where you can change the channel of the selected set-top box by clicking the "Watch on TV" button.
"Ever since launching the TWC TV app for the iPad, we’ve been expanding the platforms that our customers can use to get value from their video subscription, and this represents the latest star in that particular constellation," writes TWC's Jeff Simmermon in a blog.
Naturally to use Time Warner's online streaming app, you'll need to be a subscriber to both cable and broadband. Users will also need Internet Explorer 7.0 and higher, Firefox 4.0 and higher for Mac and Windows, Safari 5 and higher for Mac and Windows, and at least Chrome 17. Users may also need to download or possibly upgrade Silverlight to version 4.
"Customers with iGuide set-top boxes and analog video customers cannot tune their TVs using the TWC TV apps or website," Simmermon reports. "Furthermore, you’ll need a high-speed data connection to use this. If you don’t happen to get our HSD service from TWC or Earthlink,we have to install a “video only” wireless gateway to enable the live video feature within the app. Program guide and set-top box tuning as well as DVR scheduling are accessible from any internet connection both in and out of home. "
To learn more about Time Warner Cable's new service, head here. To start streaming TV immediately, have your username and password handy when clicking here. Just be patient -- Time Warner seems swamped already, as the announcement was just made hours ago. The error message you can not view content at this time is already becoming more frequent than just an hour ago (or just stalls at the loading screen). Will subscribers overload the service like they did with the iPad app almost a year ago? Probably. But that means Time Warner is receiving lots of love on Valentine's Day.