John Markoff, reporting from CES for the New York Times…
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6 – What would a world with television coming through the Internet be like?
Instead of tuning into programs preset and determined by the broadcast network or cable or satellite TV provider, viewers would be able to search the Internet and choose from hundreds of thousands of programs sent to them from high-speed connections.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show here this week, a future dominated by Internet Protocol TV, or IPTV, seemed possible, maybe even inevitable.
Giants like Yahoo and Google turned their attentions to offering new Internet programming. Hardware companies like Intel introduced chips and platforms that can push videos sent via an Internet connection to living room screens. And Microsoft looked for alliances that would allow its software to dominate living rooms as well as the home office.
“At one level it’s clear that the dam has broken,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel. “There’s an inevitable move to use the Internet as a distribution medium, and that’s not going to stop.”
The rapid emergence of the consumer electronics and computer companies as Internet video providers is certain to challenge the control of the cable, telephone and satellite companies, which seek to dominate the distribution of digital content to the home. Competition has intensified as more consumers have upgraded to digital televisions.
Indeed, the easy availability of on-demand content over the Internet is certain to accelerate consumer expectations that they will have more control over digital video content, both to watch programs when they want as well as to move video programs to different types of displays in different rooms of the home.
“Appointment-based television is dead,” said William Randolph Hearst III, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm. “The cable industry is really in danger of becoming commoditized.”