TV online isn’t where it should be

15 Apr 2010|Leigh Marinner

I’ve been laid up with an injury and trying to watch TV series on my PC. Everything I hear is how easy it is if you’re a little savvy, and how much of a threat free TV/movies online are to the content producers. Well, my experience has not been good. I’ve tried hulu, sidereel, cbs, and not been able to find free shows. At least not the ones I’m interested in – Dexter, The Good Wife, Dancing with the Stars. I’d say the content producers are doing a pretty good job of protecting their content, but it certainly isn’t making the online TV experience very good.

I’d like to be able to watch the same shows I can watch on my TV DVR. But what I’ve found is that one episode is available, or one season, and then the rest of the online content is a 2 minute clip or backstage clips. Or occasionally the site sends me to iTunes. I’d be willing to pay 50 cents maybe, but even $1 adds up for content I can get on my TV or from an HBO subscription I already pay for. I recognize content producers are trying to protect their business model, but at the expense of annoying consumers. Why not try micropayments (25 cents to start watching, and then another 10 cents after ten minutes if the show is worth watching). Or let consumers who are paying for premium channels have free access online as well.

I have a Roku box that connects the Internet to my TV, and enables me to access Netflix and its Instant Queue. But the instant movies/TV series that are available are practically all really old. The content producers have been continually withdrawing content from Netflix. For example, Blockbuster can get DVDs for rental the same day the DVD goes on sale. But Netflix has to wait for an additional month even to be able to mail out a DVD.

It’ll be interesting to see where the business model ends up for online TV.

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