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Television Media The Internet

Will the Web Replace TV? 306

dratcw writes "With the continuing writers' strike cutting way back on the number of new and original TV shows available, many media Web sites are providing alternatives to TV that can be found on the Web. A number of sites are offering features describing broadcast/cable TV alternatives while you wait for that next episode of 'Chuck'. 'What better time than during the writers' strike to (re)discover Internet TV and video? The quantity, quality, and diversity of online video grows by the day; and though it's far from perfect, it is at least interesting enough to make you forget that you're watching it on a PC monitor.'" Any web-based favorites you'd like to point out for fellow commenters?
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Will the Web Replace TV?

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  • LoadingReadyRun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:45PM (#22156282)
    I've been watching them weekly since their hilarious "Rejected Wiiplay Games" movie. They're also the Desert Bus For Hope people. Anyway, they're somewhat hit-or-miss, but mostly hit IMO: http://loadingreadyrun.com/ [loadingreadyrun.com]
    • Re:LoadingReadyRun (Score:4, Informative)

      by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:55PM (#22156468)
      Then there's the ever popular Channel101, offering us entertainment like this... [channel101.com]
      • Re:LoadingReadyRun (Score:5, Informative)

        by beckerist ( 985855 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @04:29PM (#22158030) Homepage
        More closely emulating TV I'm in both the Joost [joost.com] and Hulu [hulu.com] betas. Joost might be out of beta now... Anyway, Joost focuses more on providing exclusive/unique content in a streaming and TV-like environment. Joost uses its own application and has a pretty snazzy interface. Hulu is more like a YouTube of TV shows where specific shows (including Family Guy, The Simpsons, The Office, etc...) are streamed on demand, but that at certain intervals during the show you're forced to watch a 30 or 60 second commercial. It's entirely webpage based but does do full-screen video. I ended up watching the first few episodes of the Tin Man, got myself hooked. Also got to finally watch all the Firefly's thanks to Hulu!

        Honestly, between those two services and (ahem) other-services-that-rhyme-with-fittorrent (ahem), my roomie canceled our subscription to cable TV... We simply don't need it as we can watch anything we want to within a few seconds (or at most hours) of us wanting to see it.
    • Re:LoadingReadyRun (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @04:00PM (#22157522)
      In the 1980s I spent a while working a night shift job and this weaned me from the televison habit; The only TV available in my off hours was daytime TV. Thus, I read books instead.
          Facinating thing reading; you use your mind to generate the special effects and in spite of no ability to run the film fast, change hue and color depth to things never found in reality, and above all: not need to leave a cliff hanger for a general apeal for brighter teeth, or some poorly built automobile.

      A few years back I found a device that allowed me to connect my computer directly to a TV and thereby play avi and mpgs. well then. that is more like it! Since my tastes run far more to the documentary, my machines now have terrabytes of storage devoted to how to build a Michelson-Morely interferometer and what it means to the "Ether", how bosons become bozos in Bose-Einstein condensation, or the French perspective on the Lousiana Purchase. Somehow, the drug addictions of Hollyweirdos has no effect on my TV viewing these days... let the strike continue...
  • instead.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overcaffein8d ( 1101951 ) <d DOT cohen09 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:46PM (#22156300) Homepage Journal
    instead of the web replacing TV, i think what is more likely is that TV's will be adapted to use the web... this has already started to happen (apple TV uses the web, doesn't it?)

    i think that soon, our TV's will be a computer with a rather large, high-definition monitor
    • Re:instead.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:52PM (#22156422) Journal
      Anyone else hear of 'Generation Cox?' I was out in Southern California for some work and there were constant commercials for new Cox Cable technology that would transform the way people would watch tv.

      It is basically a completely on demand infrastructure with customizable viewing recommendations. Someone in the industry also suggested that work is being done on moderation technology for people who wanted to join 'viewing groups,' or groups of people united by philosophical or moral similarities who wanted to cull desirable programming from all the chaff.

      Sounds like a hybrid to me. Not entirely web, not entirely tv.
    • Re:instead.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:58PM (#22156524)
      I can agree. I already find it more convenient to subscribe to TV shows via iTunes than to watch them broadcasted. There are no commercials to get in the way, I always have a copy that I can watch as much as I want, I don't have to worry about timeslots or scheduling conflictions. If I want to do something else during the time it comes on, I'm free to.

      Also, I've really started to love the whole idea of podcasts. Find a topic that you're interested in, subscribe to the podcast, and it's waiting there for you to watch each day. Having the newest one always available, stored, etc, is just an amazing use of technology.

      At the same time, providers are going to need to ease up on bandwidth caps for this to work. Thankfully, my provider (Spirit Telecom) does no filtering nor bandwidth capping, but if they did I'd be SOL. Just my podcasts that I download each day run several GB, and iTunes video content runs about 10-15GB per month. Throw in online gaming, web surfing, patch and software downloads, other legal online video etc, and I'd bet I'm hitting close to 50gb per month in totally legal bandwidth usage. That's before even figuring in P2P usage (which I do use a bit, but very moderately - probably 8-10GB per month or so).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
        I know a few people who watch the majority of their TV on DVD. If you like the show, it's not much trouble to spend $50 (yes, some cost more) on a season. Mind you they still have cable, but don't use it that much, and when they do, it's usually stuff they've recorded on the PVR. I think that in the next 10 years, we'll move away from broadcast TV into an on-demand or watch-on-DVD type model. Personally I like it a lot more. There will still be some things that make sense to broadcast, like news, or sp
    • by cs02rm0 ( 654673 )
      I concur.

      But then I do work for an IPTV company. Set top boxes plugged into the network, ISP managed QoS to guarantee enough bandwidth for high definition video, all piped through your plasma.
    • Clearly the mental trauma that is/was WebTV [wikipedia.org] has left a gap in your memory.
  • At over $60 for expanded basic, the web definitely replaced TV.

    • by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:55PM (#22156474) Homepage Journal
      I agree whole heartedly. Around where I live I have a small company that feeds off comcast, called metrocast. They want around $65/month for basic cable, and apparently around $200 for the premium package.

      Even if there was a decent amount on tv to watch (which there isn't), it's not like I'm just sitting around all day to watch tv. I might watch a show or two in the evenings after work. What makes them think I'm going to spend that much money on watching 50% adverts anyway?

      Basically, as soon as the companies realize that in order to take advantage of the web you must present not only convenience but additionally it needs to be a bit cheaper than the real thing, people will kill their cable service.

      The problem is, with technology as it is now, people find driving to walmart, buying a DVD for $11 to be EASIER than getting an online rental that's unlikely to work and costs just as much.

      But as far as the potential of the net to kill cable as we know it? Oh it's already there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 )
        I have Comcast in the Chicago suburbs. I was tired of paying $55/month for digital basic cable. Got rid of the TV service, but still have cable for internet, but I get most of my content from Netflix's unlimited Watch It Now. Installing a HDHomeRun in some datacenter space I have in the next couple of weeks (which is in downtown Chicago) to let me stream digital/HD over the air signals to my home (which isn't close enough for reception). The web replacing TV indeed.
    • I agree. I stopped getting cable a few years ago because of this. All I wanted was the basic ~70 channel plan, and Comcast, et al, has priced it completely above the point where I would pay for it. For ~70 channels of ad-supported TV, I should be paying half that, at most. Someone needs to show these guys the internet, where ad-supported sights usually offer their wares for free, or next to free for the end consumer. I'm not going to pay to watch 6 minutes of commercials per every 30 minutes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by darjen ( 879890 )
      I canceled my cable TV a few months ago and haven't looked back. I have over the air HDTV essentially for free (after tuner cost). I also pay Netflix $17 for their 3 at a time plan, and that fills the void nicely and is much cheaper than digital cable.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ady1 ( 873490 )
      It can't actually replace TV until:

      1. The bandwidth is fast enough to stream HD (or whatever the current standard is)
      2. Production houses could figure out how to actually derive revenue for web exclusive shows.

      • I don't think streaming HD is what is needed - all we need is the ability to timeshift which means a good-sized hard drive. Imagine the content making its way to your living room while you're at work, then pick and choose what you want to watch once you get home that evening. Basically TIVO, just not constrained to a broadcast signal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misleb ( 129952 )

      At over $60 for expanded basic, the web definitely replaced TV.

      The real problem with the "web" replacing TV is that few people want to sit in front of their comptuer to watch TV/movies. While the "internet" may kill cable (unllikely as cable companies probably already control your internet), the "web" most certainly won't kill "TV". Whatever transmission medium is, it has to have a set top box or some other dedicated entertainment center hardware to view on a large screen in front of your couch. Nothing

  • Already has. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:48PM (#22156342) Journal
    With various torrent sites, an rss feed, and XBMC the internet has already supplanted over the air television for me. It's going to be awfully hard for anyone to improve on that setup.
    • Re:Already has. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:58PM (#22156528) Homepage
      That's not really supplanting- if TV disappeared tomorrow, so would all your torrents.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by corbettw ( 214229 )
        What happens when the studios themselves start releasing torrents containing commercials? Sure, people could edit the commercials out and repost those shorter versions, but I think most people, or at least enough to make the advertisers happy, would go straight to the source for their entertainment and put up with the commercials if only for the ease of convenience. Considering how many of the networks and studios are already doing something close to that (I watched the entire season of Jericho on CBS' site
    • I second this, and my process is now automagic now that I've spent some time learning rtorrent config AND I finally found a linux cronnable RSS parser.

      pytvshows [sourceforge.net]
      rtorrent [rakshasa.no]
      (Read the Common Tasks [rakshasa.no] page to see how to have it move movies/TV shows to their own folder and set up different watch folders)

      Plus XBMC having the destination directory as a source and as soon as TV shows are done they pop up.
  • SpecialTen & VBS (Score:4, Informative)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:48PM (#22156346) Journal

    Any web-based favorites you'd like to point out for fellow commenters?
    Disclaimer! I am not your average American looking for a mindless laugh or entertainment! The channels I suggest here are probably not something a lot of people would normally enjoy watching.

    For my artsy, music & avante garde stuff, I prefer SpecialTen [specialten.tv], a UK DVD magazine I actually subscribe to. They offer their stuff for free though and I find it all to be either thought provoking, fun or both.

    For my documentaries and also music stuff, I prefer VBS [www.vbs.tv] although I have heard many criticisms of it playing to hipsters and wanna be hipsters. This may be although I find the material interesting.

    While they are nice and work well in Firefox (I watch them both in Linux), I find some of the reporting to be over the top shock reporting and also find the advertisements to be repetitive. I have seen the trailer for There Will Be Blood too many times to count and I THERE'S OIL HERE, UNDERNEATH THE TOWN AND I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN GET AT IT ... sorry, what was I saying? I black out every now and then from watching a lot of internet TV.

    Of course, I enjoy adult swim, the office, south park, the daily show, etc but you just go to the network sites for that stuff and I assume everyone knows that. And, of course, now that they're releasing the cap for Netflix, I will watch those online although I can't seem to get that to work in Linux. Perhaps they'll come around?

    I do look forward to the responses to this in hopes to lengthen my list of channels.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I am not your average American looking for a mindless laugh or entertainment!

      Of course, I enjoy adult swim, the office, south park, the daily show, etc

      Irony wins.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hal2814 ( 725639 )
        I'm too highbrow for MK references, thank you very much.

        eldavojohn: "I am not your average American looking for a mindless laugh or entertainment!"

        eldavojohn is lining up for the putt. Just a few feet away from victory...

        eldavojohn: "Of course, I enjoy adult swim, the office, south park, the daily show, etc"

        [audience groan]

        No! He missed the putt! Looks like unpretentious Joe Sixpack will be getting the green jacket.

        [Sixpack puts on a green blazer
    • by Otter ( 3800 )
      Disclaimer! I am not your average American looking for a mindless laugh or entertainment! The channels I suggest here are probably not something a lot of people would normally enjoy watching...For my artsy, music & avante garde stuff...For my documentaries and also music stuff, I prefer VBS although I have heard many criticisms of it playing to hipsters and wanna be hipsters.

      Hipsters? The hell you say!

      Incidentally, what's a "wanna be hipster", someone who rides a fake fake track bike instead of a real

    • In defense of network TV, Fox's "Terminator, Sarah Connors Chronicles" is actually pretty decent so far. Its the only network show I go out of my way to watch. I liked the new Battlestar Galactica early on but it faded fast. I like some of the things on History channel, Discover and the military channel but thats because I like history and facts over the bad fiction and reality shows which dominate the networks.

      For good conversation PBS's Charlie Rose is hands down the best for thought provoking and info
  • More than the writers, I am guessing that the networks will be in more trouble. The reason is that it takes a LOT of money to become a network in the first place. A historical comparison is music. To create a big group use to take a lot of money. Now, more and more groups have nothing to do with the major labels, and that process will only accelerate. The networks are about controlling the finite TV channels. With the internet, there is an infinite number of channels. The infrastructure is up and coming and
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )
      It's very difficult to become a "big" group without the aid of the labels. "Big" is not a function of talent; it's a function of advertising money. Lots of talented artists never go anywhere; lots of talentless hacks become very big.

      If TV networks break up, we'll probably lose a lot of the high-production-value shows. You couldn't possibly shoot a $10 million pilot without a network, and its over-the-air broadcasts to everybody and its attendant must-carry provisions on every cable network.

      Similarly, we
      • 10 years ago, you could not cut an album without 10-20K. Now, you can do it for a fraction of that (more so considering inflation). 10 years ago, to have a chance at making it, you required one of the 4 big labels. Now, you can make it to fairly good size without them (and I understand that it is a lot more profitable).

        Video/Tv/etc will follow the same path. It will take longer due to the complexity, but it will happen. The reason is that todays young generation does not listen to DVDs/Albums, but to mp3s
        • I think you're missing the point here. In the music scenario, it is entirely possible to throw a few grand into a recording and make it work on a professional level. This is simply not the case with TV. For one, there are 10 times as many people involved, just at the production level, leaving out the rest of the industry (casting, agents, promotion, distribution, etc.). Where you have a rock band with, let's say 5 people in it, a median TV show cast probably has 5 leads, but also maybe a dozen supportin
  • by Pausanias ( 681077 ) <pausaniasxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:50PM (#22156380)
    TV? I don't watch a television device anymore, haven't for five years. The whole idea of attaching myself to a video broadcast at home seems so incredibly impossible to me. For the past five years, my chief source of entertainment has been reading and interacting with my favorite websites, posting comments, with the occasional game on the side. This to me is far more entertaining than the idea of gluing my eyes to a video broadcast. If there is a well-done TV show, I'll just download it off the bittorrent and watch it on the bus on the way to and from work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You know, your whole "I'm far too intelligent for TV" schtick would be a lot more successful if you left out the part about video games.

      Just a heads-up.
      • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:19PM (#22156866)
        Mod parent up!

        "I'm too intelligent for TV!" I download all my programs, and never watch live events.
        "I'm too intelligent for radio!" I have to troll boards and poll my friends to find the latest music.
        "I'm too intelligent for books/magazines!" I'd rather carry around a stack of batteries to read something something online and complain about AT&T when my iPhone can't reach my favorite website.
        "I'm too intelligent for telephone!" I'd rather IM people than hold a conversation.

        The problem is, "I'm not intelligent enough." To get my butt away from the computer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pausanias ( 681077 )
          If you watch a lot of TV, you may feel sensitive about others' perception of your intelligence. But don't blame that on me. I never said anything about intelligence, much less books, radio, phones, or magazines. All I said was that the physical television device and accompanying expensive gadgets are irrelevant for me and a growing segment of the population.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:26PM (#22156972)
      I read, more than your average American and trying to read more daily, and I find that there is plenty of utter shit out there in book form. I spend entirely too much time trying to find things to read that don't suck as much as what appears in serial form on TV and the big screen. Take for example my post from December of 2003 where I talk about The Last Goodbye being the worst book I read in 2003 [slashdot.org] or the fact that I just read The Catcher in the Rye and found it to be a terrible example of literature that shouldn't be read by anyone -- especially those currently attending secondary schooling. On the other hand, I have read some decent books recently including Plenty and Animal Vegetable Miracle [slashdot.org] both of which have changed my life for the better.

      I have watched some terrible TV shows such as Breaking Bad [wikipedia.org] which held my attention for exactly 3 minutes during the opening sequence and dropped it when the main character was getting a hand job from his pregnant wife. I have also watched some great TV such as Arrested Development [wikipedia.org] and Rescue Me [wikipedia.org].

      I have listened to some pretty terrible music and then also gotten into some other really great stuff like Feist [wikipedia.org] and The New Pornographers [wikipedia.org] both of which are happy to allow you to distribute their live shows and which makes me support them all the more.

      So while surfing the web, reading books and entertaining yourself in other ways is great for you, I do like to expand my horizons in many directions while not assuming that everything that appears on the TV is a pile of shit. Personally, I find people that are disconnected from TV an absolute bore as they have very little to talk about in the ways of popular culture that allows them to have something in common with the majority of Americans around them. People who don't watch TV are especially annoying when they continually let you know that they don't know Foo because they don't own or watch a TV.

      I'm thrilled that they have made the personal choice to avert their senses from something they feel has no worth but for them to assume that the rest of us are mildly retarded for having a well rounded media experience is just ridiculous. Use TV as a part of your overall experience rather than the majority and you'll find yourself enjoying it a little more than you realize.
      • by morari ( 1080535 )

        Personally, I find people that are disconnected from TV an absolute bore as they have very little to talk about in the ways of popular culture that allows them to have something in common with the majority of Americans around them.

        That sounds like a good thing. The majority of Americans just want to know which celebrity is pregnant and/or in rehab this week. That isn't something worth talking about, that's mind-pollution. People that do follow that kind of thing and talk about it as if it matters are the boring ones (to put it nicely, at least). It shows a grave lack of ones own individuality and personal life, that they are reduced to vicariously living out "wild times" through some overblown pseudo celebrity.

        That said, there are

        • by garcia ( 6573 )
          That isn't something worth talking about, that's mind-pollution.

          So is reading Slashdot, dealing with politics, and religion but that's what people are interested in and that's what you should have at least a little bit to talk about so that people feel that they are on par with you.

          I recently read Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger's [wikipedia.org] written by Augusten Burroughs [wikipedia.org]' brother John Elder Robinson. Towards the end John talks about how he has learned over the years to respond differently to the general pub
      • Reread my post above. Note that I didn't say TV shows are crap. There are some (very few in my opinion) excellent ones. I am specifically referring to the activity of sitting at home watching a purpose-built device. I would rather do something else with my time at home. My time commuting is perfect for watching TV---and there are few enough TV shows I enjoy that this works fine for me.

        As far as investment of money, I would rather have one device---my laptop---that allows me to do work, browse the web, pl
      • I just read The Catcher in the Rye and found it to be a terrible example of literature that shouldn't be read by anyone

        Try Nine Stories. It's Salinger's best stuff, IMO. Stay far, far away from Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction. BAD.

        Also, I just finished World War Z by Max Brooks, and feel the need to pimp it a bit. It's 1000x better than it has any right to be. I expected mindless entertainment, and went away from it saying, "huh, that was actually... good." Go figure
    • If there is a well-done TV show, I'll just download it off the bittorrent and watch it on the bus on the way to and from work.

      That is not "the web replacing TV".
      It is merely taking a small TV and VCR-like object on the bus with you, watching something you recorded earlier.
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:51PM (#22156390)
    Analog TV...sure. It will when Google buys up the 700 MHz band and takes over next year.

    Digital TV - nope.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by keith_nt4 ( 612247 )
      All we need is an antenna to receive Internet access...to stream video/audio feeds...on TV. If only something like that already existed...
      • You're going to have an awfully hard time uploading data through an antenna. Internet access is bidirectional.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by peragrin ( 659227 )
          Checks his wi-fi again.

          Damn your right I never saw that little wire that is plugged in for my wi-fi card to work.

          fuck I wonder how long it has been broken. It does explain why I can only recieve HTML but uploading seems to always fail.

  • Waiting for Chuck (Score:3, Informative)

    by norminator ( 784674 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:55PM (#22156470)

    A number of sites are offering features describing broadcast/cable TV alternatives while you wait for that next episode of 'Chuck'.

    I might point out that there are two new episodes of Chuck airing tomorrow night... of course, as far as I'm aware, those are the last two episodes written before the strike, so you can start waiting after Thursday night.
  • Given that 1/3 of air time is commercials, I'm hoping no.

  • The only channel you need... right here! [badgerbadgerbadger.com]

  • And I don't (necessarily) mean the quality of program. I just mean the basic quality of video and audio. Currently most web videos are nowhere near the quality of even the old NTSC standard, much less HDTV. YouTube is just painful to watch, with the blocky videos in tiny windows.
    • iTunes TV shows don't look any worse than my cable tv line. even at a lower resolution on my HD tv they still appear fine. On a standard TV they look identical.

      Youtube is painful but only because it runs through flash, and the source quailty isn't carefully controlled. try watching the flash video's on cnn.com better but no full screen.
  • Two things (Score:4, Informative)

    by earlymon ( 1116185 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:01PM (#22156570) Homepage Journal
    First, in the article outlining what's available over the web, they missed my favorite, that I highly recommend to all, Miro: http://www.getmiro.com/ [getmiro.com] - it's free and it supports Linux, OS X, and Windows.

    Next, I'm going to shamelessly recycle one of my posts from another thread about Microsoft and others looking at internet over TV airwaves because if it comes to pass that that takes off, and if I'm right, then there may be a less-clear technical landscape for TV via internet than we might hope for today, especially for merging computers with TVs. (And, yes, I know most all HDTVs are already merging technologies on some levels.) Apologies if my point remains unclear, but it's this - I'm not ready to believe that commercial interests - led by Microsoft - won't yet win and screw us all. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=423982&cid=22111742 [slashdot.org] and http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=423982&cid=22127942 [slashdot.org]
  • I can't wait to pay a license fee for my computer as well.
    • Hopefully they don't get smart and restrict their iplayer stuff to British Empire IP addys only...I listen to BBC while I'm at work most days, and if I should lose my Dead Ringers and Museum of Everything access, I'd be very upset.
    • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:11PM (#22156738)
      At the risk of starting a flame war,
      I don't mind paying the UK TV Receiving License ( pays for BBC TV and Radio and some other public service broadcasting)
      As long as I don't have to put up with almost 20 minutes Advertising per hour.
      I TIVO ( on my Humax PVR) many show on Commercial TV and fast forward over the adverts. I timed an episode of CSI recently. 41m 21sen in an Hour slot. Sorry, I have other things to do with my time. I don't want to watch endless adverts for Holidays or Sofa Sales or Making a Skoda out of Cake.
      I expect that of the 'real time TV' I watch is on the BBC.
      Yippee, The six Nations starts soon. No adverts while the players get set for a scrum unlike the endless ad breaks that American Footie is designed to give.
      To those who decry the Beeb ( and sometimes they do deserve critism), try living somewhere where there is no real choice other than TV with Commercials every few minutes. You will soon say, come back BBC, all is forgiven.
    • by Chrisje ( 471362 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:17PM (#22156822)
      Funny you should mention the BBC. The BBC is pretty much one of the very, very few channels for which I would sincerely love to pay every cent / penny they tax me.

      In Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and pretty much most countries I have been to, the TV is abominable, including the State-owned channels... The BBC 1, 2 and 3 are a beacon of hope for high quality TV.

      And I'm not being nationalistic. I am from Holland. In Holland, the only thing that comes close to BBC quality or even noteworthiness is Nederland 3.
      • I completely agree. I think it's ridiculous that those of us outside of the UK can't just pay the license fee that British residents pay and get all of the BBC channels over the Internet.

        Unfortunately, it comes down to bullsh*t licensing and protectionism. The TV stations and national networks don't want to lose the revenue that would be gained from pushing local/national commercials onto you. After all, if you spend all of your time watching the BBC, you're not watching commercials of local/national
  • Chad Vader (Score:3, Informative)

    by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:01PM (#22156584) Homepage Journal
    I recommend Chad Vader [blamesociety.net], day shift manager. There's 8 episodes each about 5 minutes long.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually a lot of the Blame Society videos are pretty good. "A Wicked Deception" is funny in particular--it's a short film with the dialogue machine-translated from English to French to German to French to English again. "Fun Rangers" is funny in a more absurdist way than Chad Vader.
  • "This is the web, and it's going to murder your TV! [youtube.com]"
    --Tay Zonday

  • Maybe try.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by j_edge ( 20712 )
    reading a book?
  • by ChrisPaulsworth ( 1225660 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:05PM (#22156644)
    Its easy for us to say the net has replaced TV but I think it will be a long time before it replaces it for less tech savvy people.
  • by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:08PM (#22156686) Homepage
    In this household there is no cable television, just a little OTA 19" set for when something major is going on which is pretty much never nowadays. The SO just likes the background noise.

    But with services like Joost, and all the online movie sites that are already online or coming shortly it's looking more like television is dead.

    I've also taken to watching the Real News clips on YouTube. I like the concept, it's essentially a publicly supported news gathering organization. I'd like to see local groups do the same in communities all across the country. The key difference with Real News is that it isn't just 30 second sound bites, they actually do a bit of analysis.
  • by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:12PM (#22156748)

    I'm as much a computer lover as the next person, but there are a number of reasons why a TV currently and will always occupy a niche different from a puter:

    1. Bigness. The gap is narrowing, but you can still get a bigger TV for less than a smaller monitor. As far as I can tell, more families have a room based off a TV screen than a computer screen.
    2. Options. With monitors, it's either overpriced and pretty from Apple, or less overpriced and less pretty from someone else. With TVs, you can still pick a plethora of options.
    3. Ease of use. The wiimote was so revolutionary, but the friggin REmote has been pretty much perfect for decades. It's simple, there's nothing extraneous like apps or downloads or email. You can switch back and forth between hundreds of options seamlessly, whereas on a computer you've got to load up the site and browse to the exact item. If you know what you want, the intarwebs are good, but if you wanna surf, TV is still better.
    4. A lot easier to turn on/off.
    5. No one is gonna sue you for making a tape of a movie.

    The differences are narrowing, but for now, there's definite differences. Something kind of like AppleTV has a definite future in the world but we're still gonna sit around the set for the Super Bowl, not a computer (well, we will, but others won't).
    • Bigness. The gap is narrowing, but you can still get a bigger TV for less than a smaller monitor. As far as I can tell, more families have a room based off a TV screen than a computer screen.

      HDTVs cost more than monitors, because they are monitors with a TV tuner. CRTs, even HD CRTs are disappearing from the market all together. TVs are now more expensive than computer monitors, across the board.
    • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:55PM (#22157428) Journal
      My head almost exploded reading all of the "well I replaced TV eight years ago!!" and "t0rentszzzz!~" from all the no-TV snobs. This is exactly the type of article that brings them out of the woodwork I guess. "MY DAY TO SHINE!"

      Of course, none of those iTunes downloads or Torrents would exist if there were no TV.

      I don't think the WEB will replace TV. I think there might be something that's more interactive than TV, but less interactive than the Internet. The On-Demand stuff is a step in that direction.

      Now, I've watched movies on the computer screen, and I've watched TV shows there too. But it's never as comfortable as lounging on the couch. The remote control is easy to hold, easy to use; you generally don't even have to look at it. There's a few hundred channels to choose from on most cable systems, and personally I can always find something to watch. It might be something I've seen before, but don't mind watching again, or it might be something new. The HD channels are where I spend most of my time. Between Discovery, HD Theater, Science and TLC, and sometimes HGTV, I can usually find something interesting enough to watch.

      When I'm in for the night, and I'm settling down, I don't want to deal with crappy web pages and CLICK HERE!!! flashing crap I have to click around. I don't want to deal with server down, server overloaded, or whatever. I just want to watch TV.

      I like TV. There's several shows that I think are top notch. I don't mind waiting for the next installment of whatever show. It's okay. Maybe it's part of getting a little older, or maybe it's because the Internet was only becoming a word that people knew when I was a Senior in high school. Perhaps I just have more patience for these things.
    • Seriously: with the new HDMI-based configuration, there is no way to "tape a movie" anymore. DVR gives you time-shifting and temporary storage, but you can't keep it anymore.
      • There are several ways to record HDTV with a cable box.
        1. Cable card in a computer. Which is essentially building your own cable box, yes you can do that.
        2. Via the Firewire Port on said cable box, yes you can do that
        3. If you're lazy, go with a provider that includes something like Tivo in it's cable box.

    • Here are some reasons TV + computer make sense: 1. Notebook computers are making their way into living rooms and out sell desktops by a big margin. Getting a model with TV out isn't that expensive or hard to setup. If you want to watch something in the kitchen then take the notebook with you. 2. Internet content providers are dishing out a lot more video these days like Netflix streaming. I think subscription services like this are going to catch on because it's cheaper per video than a store (Blockbust
    • The fault in your logic is the assumption that "the set" won't be connected to the internet. (Probably through a set-top box with a hard drive). PVR's really are computers, so there are already lots of people watching "the computer" through their good old TV.
  • I have never seen a reasonable solution for viewing live TV via the web. Specifically, sports programming. The various trials for this ( Masters coverage, NCAA Final Four ) have been unreliable, and very low quality when it did work.

    Bandwidth will help this situation. But, we're still a LONG way from being able to service the equivalent of a TV viewer market for a big sporting event -- in HD. The total bandwidth required for that is off the charts.

    I think my MythTV PVR with two ATSC tuners will conti
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:17PM (#22156820) Homepage Journal
    "Well turn SOMETHING on, I'm starting to think!"

  • The TV is here to stay, if for no other reason than being a good display device for the living room. Nobody is doing to switch to a computer display as their primary video display (other than slashdotters).

    So, that nice big HDTV will be there, and some Internet-enabled device will be attached to give access to a wide range of video.. something like the AppleTV - but better. With some aggressive pricing plans (Netflix model: View all you want for $20/month) they give cable big problems.

    But, that TV w
  • by CFBMoo1 ( 157453 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:18PM (#22156836) Homepage
    .. and in the public domain are just as entertaining today as they were in the old days. Google is great for that stuff.
  • by Fastolfe ( 1470 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:25PM (#22156954)
    I'm still waiting for traditional cable networks (or even individual programs) to offer subscriptions, streaming HD content to my set-top box over the Internet. I don't even care if it's live. So much of what I watch is on the DVR anyway. Let me cancel my (evil) cable TV subscription and just get the shows or networks that I'm interested in.

    Live IPTV would be nice too, but since you can't do QoS over the untrusted, public Internet, I'm not sure how you'd get CATV-style latency and reliability without violating "network neutrality".
  • Not ready (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:27PM (#22156982)

    I prefer downloading torrents rather than watching a show on the web, but sometimes you can't find a show anywhere but on the TV stations website, so I watched one such show on mtv.com, and err, I don't mind a commercial break, even if it's one commercial every ten minutes, but at least, PLEASE, don't make it be the same fucking el cheapo commercial every single fucking time!

    I mean come on, what are you trying to achieve by showing your viewers the same commercial 7 fucking times during a TV show? Will I want to subscribe to Verizon because they interrupted my show 7 times to tell me that "Science is wrong, the world revolves around you" and that because of that I needed unlimited plans or whatever it was they were trying to sell to me (yeah, I saw that commercial like 30 times, I remember every word of it, except the last few which were about what they were trying to sell to me. Oh, and was it Verizon or Vodafone?)? Fat chance, I don't even live in the US!

    My point? Oh yeah, if they want Web "TV" to go anywhere as serious as regular TV, they need to be serious about it. Showing many times during a show the same commercial that is so cheap that it doesn't even contain images filmed with an actual camera makes it sound like no one could even be arsed to find more than one company to advertise for, and that this company couldn't be arsed to produce a half decent commercial. I get the feeling that they have no clue what they're missing out.

  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:33PM (#22157084) Homepage
    I wrote about this issue back in mid-2006 ("YouTube vs. Current TV [and-still-i-persist.com]") and concluded with the following:

    On our DirecTV satellite system, we have hundreds of channels, though fewer than we used to; we dropped all the movie channels when we discovered that we only watched one or two movies a month on them. Yet, outside of the local morning news/weather and occasional news channel updates, I seldom watch more than half a dozen shows and/or movies on TV each week. [Less than that now with the WGA strike going on.] By contrast, I suspect there are few days that go by in which I don't watch one or more YouTube videos, embedded in a blog or linked to in an e-mail I receive. In terms of total hours, I still watch more TV; in terms of discrete video productions, I watch more YouTube.
    TV still has the bandwidth edge, and I now have several dozen HD channels coming in via DirecTV -- and just about anything is watchable when you watch it in HD. :-) HD video is starting to show up on the web, but the general quality level of web-based video is still low and slow. Until that problem is solved, TV will still have an edge. YMMV. ..bruce..
  • Not happening (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:34PM (#22157096) Homepage
    From the summary:

    The quantity, quality, and diversity of online video grows by the day; and though it's far from perfect, it is at least interesting enough to make you forget that you're watching it on a PC monitor.

    There isn't anything on the web that can make me forget I'm watching it on a PC monitor - because my computer room isn't nearly as comfortable as my living room.
  • Sure hope so (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:38PM (#22157158)
    That's what I'm working toward. I don't want my video options dictated by a single local cable monopoly, and while Apple is heading in the right direction I don't want them limiting my options either.

    Give me a single high-bandwidth data pipe to my TV, and source material & providers geared toward the TV-style viewing experience.

    Cable/satellite/broadcast had their chance to provide what customers wanted: a variety of good material, without commercials, on demand or in a casual drop-in format. Like so many practical monopolies, they forgot who their customers are. Now that broadband exists, others can provide what customers want. Let's get a move on, people!
  • by abes ( 82351 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:38PM (#22157176) Homepage
    I'd like to first state I don't have cable TV and I don't have an antenna either (which doesn't do much good in NYC anyways). I still watch TV through both legal (web sites) and illegal (torrents). I generally don't mind the ads, as long as they don't interrupt the show too much (though both ads that come up in the *middle* of a scene are really fucking annoying, as well as watching the *exact* same ad repeatedly .. I'm pretty sure there's a way of advertising without being a complete asshole..).

    I also try the various alternatives out there. I do Netflix, so I can watch low-quality on-demand as well as old series over DVD. I use Joost, though their interface is really really (extremely) horrible, and their content is slightly better than that. For reasons I'm sure make sense to someone else, each 'channel' can only maintain a small number of shows, so you won't be able to watch an entire series of a television show, and only a small percent of that channel is watchable. Which means that while they have the opportunity to create a system where you can actually watch exactly what you want, when you want, trumping TV once and for all, they don't. They completely and miserably fail. Did Also, did I mention how horrible the interface is?

    Someone else mentioned Miro. It's a fine idea. Only, I can't find any content I really care to watch, especially as most of it are snippets from full programs, and have a total length of 5 minutes. I know the 5 minute clip is supposed to be the next revolution, but I'm sorry, it really isn't. Sure, I watch the quick YouTube clip every now and then, but it doesn't replace a full-length TV show. Additionally, for actual revenue to occur, an add would have to be added, which would likely double the length of the clip, and make you watch ads for half of your viewing experience.

    Do we have the technology for alternatives? Definitely. Is there a method of revenue currently in place for it? Probably .. companies are already advertising with some of these companies (e.g. Joost, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc.), though exactly how to manage is still being worked through (again, putting an ad mid-scene does not work). What's holding things up? Most likely things like stupidity, licensing issues (amount of content you can host), and lack of momentum (at least until the strike, people's appetites were sated enough).
  • AT&T has some weird thing I haven't tried out yet called U-verse OnTheGo [mobitv.com]. The idea is that their Uverse TV subscribers can access TV content over the Web.

    Vaguely interesting,

    /still waiting on their VOIP service to start up.

    • by Luyseyal ( 3154 )
      Apparently this is a service you have to pay separately for. It doesn't appear to work under Linux, either, though if you get the demo going under Linux, let me know how. :)

  • I've largely given up watching TV, as most of my "sit on my ass" time at home is spent playing games (COD2 addict) or surfing the web.

    Given the choice between cable and internet, I take the internet. We had in introductory rate for cable+internet for 3 months at $55/month, then it went up to $100, at which point I canceled the TV part and stuck with just the cable for the same price.

    We just signed on with Knowlogy for basic cable + 6MB internet for $67/moth. I figure an extra $10 a month for TV is an OK e
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stewbacca ( 1033764 )
      I don't have the faintest clue how they do it, but the ABC HD shows offered in their web viewer are excellent. I have a 10Mbps connection and they play instantly with only two short (30 secs?) commercial breaks per hour. It displays wonderfully on my 20" iMac screen. I'm curious to see what it would look like sent to my 50" plasma though.

      Other networks' web broadcasts suck--especially NBC, which is unfortunate considering they pulled their content from iTunes just to provide us with buggy, crappy qual

  • http://quarterlife.com/ [quarterlife.com]

    High quality web based entertainment. This kind of stuff could replace TV.
    • by vinn01 ( 178295 )
      I'll explain why this kind of stuff could replace TV:

      Because it's got all the extra content that is found on good DVDs, but never found on TV: behind the scenes footage, production commentary, insights into acting/design/art/music.

      Because it's engaging like a favorite web site: forums, FAQs, articles, and a hip community feeling.

  • Roller Chester [rollerchester.com] is good for a few laughs if you're a fan of absurdist humor. Admittedly, there isn't much there, but this isn't uncommon when it comes to web-based original video entertainment.
  • by Kenichi Tanaka ( 1168171 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @03:57PM (#22157466)
    I seriously doubt that the web will replace television viewing. Much in the same respect as why I think that physical media will always be around in one format or another. Most fans are like myself and while we don't have time to watch television, most of what we watch are on DVD ... I just think that the AMPTP are making a huge gamble on the fact that if they don't settle and the writer's are forced into accepting a bare bones contract that television programmning is over. It will never be over because then those who only have the ability to watch programmed television will be out of the loop and this is because of low income families who can barely afford cable television. Most television shows that I watch are on DVD. I can't stand the week to week programming and broadcasting of television shows. I'd rather just have the studios to release television shows on DVD, bypass television altogether and go straight to DVD. Instead, the studios are fighting the strike because of DVD royalties and Internet-related profits that are being made by the studios. It's been announced by the studios that over the next three years, if the strike were settled with no new media or DVD concessions, that the studios stand to rake in over 3.5 billion in profits. The studios are in a fight for their lives in preventing the writer's or anyone else from dipping into those profits and the longer they can hold the writers at bay, the more profits they stand to earn. However, I suspect that the shareholders mof those companies may be a bit more vocal as the strike dredges on longer.
    • I watch Internet TV shows. YouTube, NBC/ABC Video, wwitv.com, etc. But I'm your average /. geek. I can't see anyone I know doing this over watching normal TV. Do I have the right Codec? The proper media player such as Flip4Mac? Ok, configure my bandwidth settings. Oh, yes, my Antivirus IMON makes it stutter, so disable that. WIFI's getting trampled on my neighbor, change AP channel. Now my videocard is overheating and generating artifacts...

      Not until it's as easy as pushing "1" "2" on a remo
  • It's all fine and dandy until your ISP starts charging you gobs of $$ to pull down those gobs of web TV......
  • Tee... Vee? Now I know Dee-Vee-Dee, they ship those to me in the mail. And I often turn on the Tee-VOH when I'm surfing the web, it's fun sometimes except they're always interrupting it with that stupid little skill game where you try to blip through the spam as quickly as possible without running over too much of the following content. I don't know about this Tee-Vee, though.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @05:02PM (#22158580) Homepage Journal
    My son watches YouTube, Japanese anime, reads manga, and uses the web for something like 80 percent of the time, instead of TV.

    He's fairly similar to most teens nowadays.

    The change already happened.

    And the nutso TV/movie insistence on not paying writers is just making people stop watching TV.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.