Put down your remote control and pick up an iPad. One of the largest US cable companies is experimenting with new methods of controlling and programming a TV--and it may provide the same functionality to developers via an API. The reason? As many providers are finding out, building for mobile often means building a private API, anyway.
In a video of the iPad prototype (embedded below) VP of Web Services Jason Gaedtke is asked about sharing the app's functionality with developers:
"This is an area that we're very excited about. Even internally we're organized into different teams and we found that by adopting web services those groups can collaborate more efficiently together. The next step would be maturing those APIs so that we can publish them to our partners and to enable and unlock third party innovation."
The iPad app's main interface is the familiar TV schedule, as we also saw in Yahoo Entertainment's app in the cloud. However, as you interact with this schedule, you can change the channel on your television and start or stop recordings on your DVR.
Controlling your television from within other apps would be useful. As social networks integrate more closely with TV watching, you could change the channel based on what your friends are watching, for example. Review sites, or articles with round-ups of this week's can't-miss shows, could schedule your recorder for you with a single click.