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Time Warner Releases iPad App, Servers Crash

Tuesday Time Warner Cable announced the release of its TWCable TV app for Apple's iPad, leaving the rest of Apple's consumers out of the picture. Although the app is free to download and install, consumers need a subscription to a TWC video package at the Standard level or higher, a Wi-Fi connection to Time Warner Cable's broadband or better, and a valid Time Warner Cable username and password.

Shortly after its launch, Time Warner director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon wrote in a blog that servers handling the iPad streaming crashed due to an overwhelming demand. The news isn't surprising given that Time Warner customers (like this one) have yearned for a way to watch Time Warner programming without the requirement of sitting in front of the TV. That said, it's probably a good thing that the company only released an iPad version.

"We were pretty sure that our iPad app was going to be fairly popular, but we had no idea that it was going to be the most downloaded app in the iTunes store yesterday," he said. "At about 8 o’clock last night the app crashed under a much heavier load than we anticipated. Our engineering team is working as hard as they can to put a fix in place and get everything up and running as soon as they can."

As of Wednesday, the app was reduced to running only 15 channels, thus easing the strain on the authentication process. "This will enable us to offer at least some sort of an experience to our customers while we get a fix in place," he added. "We’ll add the other 17 channels back in as soon as we can fix the underlying issue, and we’ll be adding more channels in future iterations of the app as well."

He then used the example of "it's not a good party unless you run out of beer," indicating that the company is excited tons of interested users crashed the iPad streaming servers. That means there's a genuine, overwhelming interest in streaming Time Warner programming to portable devices. The only drawback, Simmerson points out, is that the technical issues are frustrating to both consumers and the provider.

"We know how frustrating it can be when a brand-new product doesn’t work well," he added. "Please bear in mind that this our first foray into the iPad app world, and the first cable company to offer live streaming to the iPad at all. We’re going to figure out a fix and implement it as soon as we possibly can."

Time Warner Cable customers can download the new iPad app here. Available channels include USA, SyFy, AMC, ABC Family, Spike, Nick, MTV HD, The History Channel, the Disney Channel and many others. The main networks are not included.