Apple TV launches WatchESPN, HBO Go apps

Comcast supporting authentication for Xfinity TV subscribers
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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) said Wednesday that it launched the popular WatchESPN and HBO Go TV Everywhere applications on its $99 Apple TV set-top.

The move lets authenticated cable and satellite TV subscribers watch live programming from ESPN and HBO original series and movies on demand without using traditional cable set-tops. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) spokesman Peter Dobrow said Comcast's Xfinity TV digital cable subscribers will be able to use the HBO and ESPN apps.

While Time Warner Cable subscribers can access WatchESPN and HBO Go through Apple TV, Variety reported Wednesday that Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR) and DirecTV Inc. (Nasdaq: DTV) subscribers can't yet access HBO Go or WatchESPN through the set-top. 

Apple TV competes with streaming video set-tops from Roku, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV, Boxee and connected TV devices such as Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360. Viewers can use the Apple TV boxes to access content purchased from Apple's iTunes library and streaming video from Hulu, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), YouTube, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

Look for Comcast, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and other major pay TV distributors to launch apps offering dozens of live and on-demand content through Apple TV. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said at an investor conference earlier this month that the MSO is talking to Apple and Microsoft about adding its TWC TV app to their streaming video devices. Time Warner Cable launched the TWC TV app on Roku set-tops earlier this year.

Comcast subscribers with an Apple iPad can watch dozens of linear channels through the company's AnyPlay service, which uses Motorola Mobility's Televation device. But the MSO hasn't launched live streaming through Apple TV or its Xfinity TV apps for the iPad or iPhone.

For more:

- see the release
- Variety has this story

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