Let’s face it. Technology has made the internet entertainment industry a fun and unique way to relax and enjoy ourselves. More importantly, it’s convenient. There’s internet gaming, internet dating, internet radio, internet blogging, even internet chess tournaments. Internet television has been added to that list. All from the comforts of “Home Sweet Home”. Also called interactive television, digital television or webcast, it’s a process that transmits or “streams” TV signals continuously, resulting in television on the internet. You can log on to internet TV and catch a show that you may have missed the night or week before. You’ll never miss another show. But will the convenience of On-Demand programming be enough to secure a permanent place in the booming internet entertainment business? You be the judge.
I know what you’re thinking. You already have a TV with a monthly cable fee. With Premium Channels, like HBO, Showtime and Sportsticket, the cost is already over-the-top. There must have been some computer geek with too much time on his hands wanting to find a place on the “Internet Wall of Fame”, if there was such a place. At first, I thought the same thing. And watching TV on a small computer screen on my desktop computer wasn’t going to be a picnic, either. Unless, of course, you have a laptop and can take it with you. Since I don’t have one, my thinking was why watch a little screen when a couch and big screen TV was out in the living room. But there are some advantages to this idea, and the more information I get, the better I like it. I think you’ll like it, too.
With the majority of internet television providers offering it free of charge, like Freeinternettv.org, it starts looking better all the time. You get the major channels, like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox on Demand and AOL.Television with some providers offering more selection. A few providers, like DTV4PC.com, charge a one-time fee of $29.99, but comes with a larger variety of channels, like TNT and Sci-Fi. From the wide variety of providers, like Joost.com, Worldtvpc.com or Xbb.tv, just to name a few, I’m sure that you’ll find one that has the channels you want, when you want it. For the most part, you don’t have to download any software and it works on most operating systems. The fact that you’ll never miss another favorite movie, newscast, series or sports event ever again, may make you wonder why anyone watches regular TV at all. But don’t go tossing your TV’s out of the window anytime soon. Just think of internet television as a kind of “bonus” TV.
I wanted to find out first-hand what internet television is all about, so I randomly chose an internet TV website and became a member. I chose www.joost.com for my research. It was free, with no downloads necessary and it stated that it was 100% legal. Joost’s channel lineup includes CBS, PBS, Cartoon Central, MTV, Comedy Central and the NBA. For all you “Trekkies” out there, it has almost all original episodes of “Star Trek”, along with 20,000 other shows. All shows have their own chat rooms so you can send episodes to friends. Another example is www.Fancast.com. This website hosts CBS, Fox, NBC, Sci-Fi and Bravo. According to an article in USA TODAY (Websites make it easy to catch a missed TV show, 2008), Mike Snider says that Hulu.com is becoming increasingly popular in the last few months, as well as, Fancast.com, MeeVee.com and Joost. So, as you can see, there are different websites hosting different channels, and it’s free. I’m sure that with a little research of your own, you’ll find one that’s a perfect match for you. Now, I’m going to see what pc.com, an online technology magazine, has to say about internet TV.
Sylvia Flores on pc.com (Watch TV on Your Computer, June 19, 2008) suggests that you look at the correct software, because, depending on what shows you want to watch, you may have to download additional software to access some online programs. Although most programs can be accessed from the computer’s own website, some require a form of media play that is usually sold with your computer. She goes on to say that you’ll never miss anything played on ABC, NBC, Fox on Demand and AOL.Television which brings to mind the subtitle of this paper, “Watch what you want, when you want it.”
An article by Mark Frauenfelder (Find Free, Legal Movies to Watch on Your Computer, April 2, 2008) states that if you’re in the mood to watch something, without paying anything, you should browse through the 112,332 movie titles at www.archive.org/details/movies, all of which are available free of charge. He mentions that you are no doubt aware of the many websites that advertise new releases that you can download and watch for free. These are against the law to watch for free and the Motion Picture Association of America prohibits downloading copyrighted movies without paying for them. Although catching you doing this is slim, it’s just not worth the risk, because the fines are very high.
So, now that you know everything there is to know about internet TV, are we ready for it? Of course, we are. Whatever you’re into, whether it is daily shows, like The Young and The Restless, you can watch in on internet TV. Or, if you can’t sleep and 3AM TV is infomercials, log on to an episode of Charlie’s Angels, Law and Order or House. One of those should put you to sleep. In my case, I always have to know how the Dallas Cowboys are playing and missing a game, especially a good one, is not an option. That, alone, makes it worth it to me. With technology constantly changing for the better, the future looks bright for internet television and the internet entertainment industry.