Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If Cable Companies Start Streaming...

Except cable companies are already streaming web content, today, to our computers. If cable companies negotiate rights with programmers to stream content to the TV set, what really does that mean? Today ESPN sells a web based product called ESPN 360 that is only available through cable companies that license it for web access. Verizon customers get it, Comcast customers do not.

Will an internet stream of a linear network be superior to the current headend stream that consumers access today through their set top box. Will it bring better picture and sound, will it improve navigation and trick features, will it better enable interactive capabilities? Will an internet capable set top box be superior to the current assortment of boxes that connect today to the TV set?

Or does an authorized internet stream of a linear cable channel enable me to watch my TV on my laptop away from my home as well as inside it. Is it meant to compete with Slingbox so that your primary cable subscription can travel with you out of home through the web.

I am intrigued that cable is exploring internet carriage of linear networks, I just don't see how it prevents customers from still bypassing their cable box and just maintain a broadband stream to watch content through the web. Will content companies create exclusive content, like ESPN 360, that makes the cable stream of content more preferable and easier to view than the current means? And will it be done as a means to stop defection from cable service or as a means to incremental revenue. In today's economic climate, the latter may not be reasonable to consider.

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