Cable Firms Eye Tablet Space

More TV shows and movies may be coming to tablet computers like Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPad—for those who pay to watch.

At least seven of the ten largest subscription-TV providers in the U.S. are building new tablet-computer applications that offer select TV shows and movies to their existing subscribers, often for little or no additional fee.

The efforts are going head-to-head with a handful of existing video applications from TV networks and online video services such as Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Hulu LLC, hoping to compete by offering more content and features that integrate with home TV service.

Comcast Corp. (CMCS) is testing a free iPad application that allows existing subscribers to search for and watch some TV shows on the go, and plans to release it by the end of the year. The company says it already has content providers lined up for the service, but declined to specify which ones.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) plans to release an app for renting movies on devices than run Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android operating system in the fall. The app will be targeted at its 3.2 million Fios TV subscribers, but it will eventually be available to nonsubscribers, said Shawn Strickland, Verizon’s vice president of consumer strategy and planning. He said the company also aims to launch the service for other devices like the iPad.

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