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Comcast AnyPlay will stream live TV to your iPad

Launched yesterday in Nashville and Denver, Comcast's AnyPlay lets Xfinity TV and Internet customers stream live TV to their iPad. Support for the Motorola Xoom is coming.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Comcast has just launched a new, free service for subscribers who want to watch live TV on their iPads.

Dubbed AnyPlay, the service is currently available only to customers in Nashville and Denver and only for iPad users. But Comcast is promising to add more markets in the coming months and kick in support for the Motorola Xoom.

Latching onto the Xfinity TV app for the iPad, AnyPlay will let Comcast subscribers to both its TV and Internet services watch any channel or program already available through their regular TV lineup. The service will also allow a customer to watch a live show on their iPad while another family member watches something else on TV. And although you can register up to 10 different tablets, Comcast only lets you watch your live content on one tablet at a time.

To stream live shows to the iPad, the AnyPlay device works like a regular set-top box, according to Comcast. But instead of carrying content to your TV, AnyPlay sends it to your home Wi-Fi router, which then transfers the video over your wireless network to your tablet.

Beyond displaying content from AnyPlay, Comcast's Xfinity TV app offers 8,000 hours of on-demand movies and TV shows, both inside and outside the home. The company is promising to bring its on-demand content to other devices, including Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Samsung Internet-connected TVs.

As tablets and smartphones proliferate, other cable providers have been offering ways to stream content to mobile devices.

Time Warner offers its own iPad app for streaming TV shows, though the company initially bumped into legal issues over which content it could provide, forcing it to remove and then add various channels. Cablevision also hit the market early last year with an iPad app that streams live content.