Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is thinking outside of the box, and rightfully so.

The telco provider is hoping to give its fledgling FiOS televsision service a big boost early next year, when it rolls out an app for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad that aims to stream the entire programming slate that is currently available to subscribers.

This could be big.

Verizon and AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse are trying to make a dent in the realm of cable and satellite television that was once carved up regionally. Making a programming subscription more valuable by making it portable makes sense -- and it's not as if Verizon is dreaming alone.

It was Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), after all, that introduced the TV Everywhere initiative last summer -- urging content providers to hop aboard before cost-conscious subscribers begin to cancel their services. However, it seems as if Verizon may be the first to provide a portable app that delivers all of its live content -- as it airs.

The iPad is perfect for this, obviously. When it first rolled out in April, the top two third-party app downloads were streaming programs for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Disney's (NYSE: DIS) ABC.

Technology that once required setting up a Slingbox or a gadget workaround is now becoming easily accessible -- and seamless. This is great news for couch potatoes who actually leave their homes. As long as the stream quality and connection speeds play along, Verizon's ahead of the inevitable trend.

Will the future be annoying if it's filled with folks in coffeehouses and hotel lobbies glaring into tablet computers for their sitcom and reality-TV fixes? Perhaps, but this may also be the one thing that saves cable, satellite, and telco television providers from extinction.

It's a trade-off worth making.

Can you fathom axing your cable or satellite television bill in the next couple of years? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix subscriber -- and investor -- since 2002. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.