Monday, August 11, 2008

Streaming television

After my very positive experience with the Roku Netflix Player I've been checking out some of the other streaming television options available on the Internet.

I was particularly interested in Hulu since the rumour is that the Netflix Player will soon also be able to stream their content as well.

Hulu is joint venture between NBC and News Corporation established after a falling out with Apple (seems they couldn't agree on pricing and revenue sharing for media sold via iTunes). Technically it's pretty slick; certainly better than the usual effort from large incumbent organisations. The biggest deficiency is that they only keep the last five or six episodes online. Too bad if you want to try out a show you missed from the first episode.

Unlike the Netflix service which runs on a subscription model, Hulu is based on the traditional advertising supported model of television. But I can't help thinking that they're failing woefully to exploit the potential of this new paradigm. As far as I can tell the ads are not based on the profile of the user, unless they somehow think I'm the target demographic for fabric softener and shampoo!

Nevertheless the potential is there and I'm convinced that this is going to kill television as we know it. The concept of watching a program at a set time has already been struck a major blow by DVRs but you're ultimately still limited to watching what you've already recorded. I'm looking forward to the approaching television model where you can watch any episode of any show any time!

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