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12/30/2005
09:15 PM
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Is Internet TV The Next Big Drain On Your Network?

CBS last week began streaming episodes of two sitcoms, Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, on Yahoo Inc.'s Web site, where they could be watched for free until Jan. 2. CBS follows other networks' recent moves into Internet Protocol-based TV, or IPTV.

NBC Universal last month started selling episodes of some shows at Apple Computer's iTunes music store. ABC, Sci Fi Channel, USA Network, and Disney are selling shows there, too. The networks aren't alone. Google Inc. last month said it would acquire 5% of America Online, with video services and content collaboration included in the deal.


CBS is offering free viewing on Yahoo of shows such as Two And A Half Men.

CBS is offering free viewing on Yahoo of shows such as Two And A Half Men.
Business managers may find it difficult to stop video viewing from joining E-mail, IM, and blogs as workplace productivity drains. Streaming video also is a bandwidth hog, requiring as much as 300 Kbps. At those speeds there's a security risk. "You're opening up a very fast hole for harmful data to be transferred," says Scott Montgomery, VP of product management at Secure Computing Corp., a provider of network-security products.

Eighteen percent of 500 employees in a Websense Inc. survey say they listen to the radio or watch live newscasts at work. Filtering tools can block streaming video, but they're not an option for businesses that use it as part of their work, such as stock brokerages that rely on Web news feeds. A less extreme approach is to set video-streaming access policies for different types of users and enforce them with Web-filtering software. SurfControl plc provides a continuously updated database of sites that offer streaming video and software to block access to any of those sites.

Newport News, Va., public schools, with 33,200 students and 5,000 employees, uses streaming content as part of its curriculum. "Our biggest concern is filtering out bad video content that we don't want to expose kindergartners to," says IT director John Savage. "It's not about blocking video but about managing content."

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