Online TV, also known as Internet television, includes everything you can view using your computer. Depending on the website, users can stream content directly to a media player or download specific programs. Online TV supports a truly ‘on-demand’ model, allowing viewers to choose the specific movie, program or video they want to watch from an archive of programs or from a channel directory.
Online TV is a perfect option for people looking for very specific episodes or movies. Sites such as YouTube and Hulu have increased in popularity, catering to the online TV audience. Major television broadcasters also provide access to their content via their websites. Of course, a key downside to Online TV is that live content, such as sporting events, is harder to come by and certainly less reliable. Premium networks and channel packages will also have limited online availability. Traditional cable TV and satellite TV providers will retain exclusive rights to certain content.
Web Programming for TV
The latest trend in online TV is being led by Internet companies who offer services designed specifically for your TV. Sometimes referred to as Web TV, services such as Apple TV and the upcoming Google TV stream programming to home televisions through a set-top box or other proprietary device. TV users with the appropriate equipment can then order the programs they want.
Netflix also provides Web-based programming by streaming shows and movies through gaming consoles such as Xbox 360, Wii and a device called Roku DVP, which also streams content from Amazon video on demand. A new company called Boxee is taking online TV further with software that enables a user to connect their computer to their TV and watch and share programs with other Boxee customers.
Online TV also enables customers to use the Internet connection on their smartphones to see video and stream content. Companies like MobiTV deliver television programming to mobile phones via existing networks. Select satellite and cable TV providers offer applications that integrate your home television with your phone as well.