Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Now though, both cable TV and satellite TV are threatened by the increasing capacity to transmit video over the Internet. This new capability of delivering video to people's homes via computer is being fostered by the increasing prevalence of high speed Internet connections and computer technology that's constantly getting better at processing the massive amounts of information that go along with video.
Many different companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of this trend by offering programming that can be downloaded from their websites. For example, the movie provider Starz has made a number of movies available for down load from its website. Showtime is also doing the same thing. Even companies that don't actually have channels- like America Online- are making archives of older TV shows, sporting events, and music videos available to customers on the Internet along with movies.
There are also several companies that offer various TV shows and movies for sale. These include Apple's iTunes which allows people to download movies and TV shows that can be viewed on Apple computers and video iPods. Amazon.com also offers movies for sale or rent on its online store: Unbox.
The reason all of this is a threat to satellite TV and cable TV providers (in case it isn't obvious) is because it provides another avenue for people to get TV programming and movies that largely cuts them out of the picture. The general fear is that if anyone can download any TV show that they want in order to watch whenever they want it, then they won't bother to subscribe to a TV service. While there are several reasons why this is a little extreme, TV service providers are taking it seriously nonetheless.
There are several reasons why people wouldn't necessarily forgo normal television service in favor of downloading just the programs that they want. One major reason is that a lot of people like having the TV on simply as background noise while they're doing something else. Most viewers won't want to forgo watching TV in that way and they won't want to pay for individual downloads of programming just to have on in the background. Another problem is that even if people did want to constantly stream video into their homes in order to support their present TV viewing habits, there's a general consensus that the Internet would be unable to handle the data load.
Although it's clear that Internet TV is a threat to normal TV, it probably won't be a major impact to television service providers in the immediate future.