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Watching The TV Wars

Very soon, the Internet and the TV will merge and technology companies will force media companies to adopt a more reasonable pricing scheme for entertainment content.

Very soon, the Internet and the TV will merge and technology companies will force media companies to adopt a more reasonable pricing scheme for entertainment content.It could happen as soon as tomorrow, when Apple is expected to announce a new $99 version of Apple TV that features Netflix steaming content.

It could happen in a few months, when Google TV devices start shipping.

Or it could happen when Amazon presents its forthcoming Web-based subscription service.

Traditional players in this space, specifically the telcos and cable companies, hope to maintain the status quo. But content delivery is changing and it won't be long now before there are better options than simultaneously paying for cable TV, Internet service, landline local phone service, landline long distance phone service, mobile phone service, and movie rental service.

Apple shook up the music and software industries by pressing to keep prices low for iTunes content. Here's to hoping that the company can do the same for films and TV shows.

And if it can't manage to bring prices down, Google or Amazon may be able to. Netflix has already done a lot by allowing subscribers to its flat-rate DVD-by-mail service to view unlimited streaming content.

Whatever happens, it's fun to watch the TV wars. There's a lot of innovation going on and sooner or later, the old guard will have to give way. I'm looking forward to the day I can cut my cable cord and still watch The Daily Show on my TV, without jumping through the hoops necessary to do that today.

Web 2.0 Expo New York highlights the important debates and the challenges faced by the industry's key players, and helps you pick the winning platforms for growth in a Web-fueled world. It happens Sept. 27-30. Find out more and register.

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