Verizon FiOS TV and Bright House Networks add video on demand services, but who will unite Internet and TV?
FiOS TV's video on demand channels will offer programming from eight Turner Network cable channels, including Adult Swim, CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS and TruTv (formerly CourtTV), along with movies from Sony such as Anaconda, The Da Vinci Code and The Firm.
Bright House announced the launch of Primetime On Demand, an on demand channel with recent episodes from network and cable shows such as NBC's Heroes, The Biggest Loser, and Friday Night Lights, CBS's CSI and Survivor, USA's Monk and Burn Notice, FX's Nip/Tuck and Damages. This comes in addition to the cable service's Start Over feature, which allows viewers to watch a show from its start, even when they tune to the program after it has begun.
These services make sense because customers are increasingly demanding more control over when they can watch TV shows. Outside of reality TV competition shows, sporting events and awards shows, appointment viewing is a thing of the past, with TiVo and online services allowing people to shift when they watch their favorite shows.
So when will the cable companies take the final step and unite network, cable and online TV?
Ask some experts -- I spoke to Jim Barry today from the Consumer Electronics Association -- and they will tell you; the future is a TV screen where video accessed from the Internet is indistinguishable from video provided by broadcast networks and cable channels.
I've always thought cable companies such as Bright House and FiOS TV were best positioned to develop this "killer app." They already have tremendous penetration into homes with TV and they already provide broadband Internet access and cable television service to homes simultaneously.
It's a question I'll be asking in coming days and weeks as I look into the future of television.
Because I'm convinced that whoever cracks that conundrum -- combining the passivity of network TV with the active attitude of online activity in one package -- will find the next big trend in television.