The move from set top boxes to purely internet based television has been a long time coming, and while conventional television will be around for a while, the big hitters in the business have been and will be looking to stake a claim on the internets. We now have rumors that Direct TV will be the next to put their brand onto the web. Even if these rumors are to a large extent unsubstantiated, it’s a move that Direct TV will have to make eventually. With Youtube set to start providing feature films, and so many less legal ways to get to content, the ability for a content provider to provide On demand content is going to be necessary to stay relevant.
Whether this service will be free or only available to Direct TV subscribers is yet to be seen. On the one hand, they have the cash to do this free of charge, but then what is the benefit of having any hardware in your home? I have a feeling that there will be a paid service and a premium service. As of right now, the legal venues for watching television online aren’t great. A person who wants to watch all of their shows in one place are out of luck. This is a major factor in the ability for television to stay relevant. If Direct TV could find a way to provide all the content they provide their television viewers to the internet at even a reduced cost, they’d quickly corner a very competitive market.
The idea that content producers wouldn’t help a competitor is spurious at best. If Direct TV decides to enter the online market there is no doubt language in the licensing or contracts with the content providers.
There are many ways for Direct TV to screw this up. In fact I’d say that the greed of content providers and networks have been the crucial factor keeping the internet from truly taking over the niche TV hold. One of the best ways to screw this up would be for Direct TV to go with a Pay-per-View model. They would be in competition with Netflix, and that’s not a battle they want to fight. It’s hard to imagine many people paying a dollar to watch a television show. In any case, more content, more competition is good, and I look forward to seeing more than a screenshot.
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