Web TV provides viewers with more options for watching television.
Web TV allows viewers to watch full episodes of favorite TV shows they missed or to see again. Some network Web sites offer full episodes of upcoming shows for viewing. Full episodes may have some advertising but advertising can be much less than a viewer would experience on regular TV. Viewers can watch Web TV shows online or download shows for viewing later.
Most users of Web TV have a computer, a router, network cables, a multimedia player and a high-speed broadband connection. Some Web sites require downloading free, proprietary video player software. For those households that have a broadband connection on a TV, such as through an Internet-enabled video game console, Web TV can be viewed on a TV like programming through cable or satellite TV.
All major networks allow viewers to watch episodes of some shows for free, and some programs are available in streaming high definition (HD). Here is a rundown of what the networks offer:
There are also Web sites that cater to people who are looking for a wider variety of programming, including TV shows from different networks, movies and music videos. The following Web sites have advanced search capabilities that allow users to quickly find something interesting to watch:
MSN warns that with a wireless connection, streaming video may have problems such as freezing or audio issues. Some people may not like having to download a Web site's specific video player. Portability, on the other hand, is an advantage. Downloading TV content and taking it anywhere appeals to commuters and those who have time to kill. For households that are spending $90 or more for cable or satellite TV, the lure of free programming has millions of people turning to Web TV.
The amount of TV content on the Web can be a little overwhelming. To help solve this problem, Web sites such as StumbleUpon and The Channel Channel help match Web TV content to an individual's preferences.
It is uncertain whether or not the Internet will make cable and satellite TV obsolete one day. AS of 2009, the NFL Super Bowl, which had 97 million viewers in 2008, is not feasible through an Internet delivery, according to CNN. However, technology in the near future could overcome this type of obstacle.