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Breaking down the battle over Internet television

By Cecilia Kang

There is a fierce battle brewing over the future of television and Marvin Ammori, a law professor at the University of Nebraska explains in this video how several recent events highlight the race by companies to be best positioned as the Internet and TV become one.

In the fees battle between Fox and Cablevision, Web versions of Fox shows were used as a negotiating weapon. Google’s push into Internet television hit a road bump when networks blocked their Web-based programs from Google TV viewers.

The tangle of interests by broadcasters, cable and satellite firms, and new Web delivery platforms such as Apple TV create a frame for how regulators will look at Comcast’s proposed merger with NBC Universal, Ammori said.

“The future of television may be decided within the next six to 12 months and a lot of industry players know that,” Ammori said during a recent stop at The Post.

Consumers want to be able to “disaggregate content,” and pick shows like they pick songs on iTunes, Ammori said. And he argues that the Federal Communications Commission needs to look at program access rules as they apply to the Internet. He advocates for the agency to push forward on net neutrality rules to prevent companies from blocking shows and software from consumers.

Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at City University of New York, wrote in his blog this week, that users have no loyalty to networks – a relic of the broadcast and cable models.

But that model would overhaul a very lucrative model cable providers and broadcasters hope, in part, to extend to the Web.

“This unbundling will be painful for cable companies,” Jarvis wrote. “They gather huge revenue selling those bundles to trapped customers who have no choice but to pay for Fuse if they want Food. It won’t be an easy transition. But once choice arrives, we will demand our freedom from bundles.”

By Cecilia Kang  | November 2, 2010; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Consumers, FCC, Net Neutrality, VIDEOS  
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Bundling by satellite providers may be slowly crumbling. DirecTv, for example has cheaper options that are not available on their website. You must be an existing customer who asks to cancel the service to find out about "Select Classic."

Posted by: SM33 | November 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I "unbundled" a long time ago by telling them to take their cable and satellite and stick them in their ear.

Posted by: vmax02rider | November 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Me too. I cut the cord. I get 20 DTV programs locally over-the-air plus internet video. Screw 'em.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | November 2, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article - here's another view from a the founder of Hotspot Digital on HuffPo:

Posted by: sct212 | November 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It's getting out of control when the networks decided to block what shows you can watch based on what sort of TV you have.

Live TV is dead. I'm sick of being force fed advertising.

Posted by: staticvars | November 2, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I long ago tired of paying Comcast to watch streaming advertisements interrupted by snippets of programming. I receive 20 or so channels of free DTV over the air and Netflix (DVD and streaming) for the remainder of my TV watching.

Posted by: Cosmo2 | November 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It's going to take a few years for the cable co's to realize that they cannot have it their way anymore. I watch everything online now. I like the programs that aggregate all the channels and content into one place. Try . I've had it for a couple years. No privacy issues.

Posted by: Jenniferweb | November 2, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I just installed Digital TV for PC 2 from smithmicro on my computer,which will now become my media center. I wonder with all of the TV channels from around the world, movies in the theater now, and network channels offered from this or other opportunities why anyone even would think of cable. I can watch an incredible amount of media with much less ads and it's all free.I remember about 8 years ago when I dumped my land line and went to my cellphone only. My friends thought I was crazy. Look what people are doing with their phone service now and you can see the future of cable.

Posted by: gemsheba | November 2, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The equalizer will be advertising revenue. Why worry about share if it builds up the size of audience ? Advertising revenue is the god father of this ? Why fight?
Less regulation is the answer here, not more.

Posted by: peterroach | November 2, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

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