In increasing numbers, fans of television entertainment are abandoning the standard cable and satellite TV options and signing on to watch their favorite shows online. Over the past several years, internet TV has become one of the primary ways that tech savvy individuals get their entertainment, while some people are going further and getting rid of cable altogether, opting to get their shows for a much cheaper price online.
Downloads or Streaming Options
There are two main ways that individuals get their television shows online: through downloadable options or through streaming channels. Companies like iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and Babelgum allow users to download recent episodes of the most popular shows. Everything from news reports, sporting events, and premium television are available, but usually at a price per download. Once viewers have paid the price, usually a few dollars per episode, they can watch the content again and again from their computers or supported television sets.
Viewers also have the option to stream television content directly from the source. Companies like Hulu, Veoh, Joost, and Neflix all offer premium streaming content from the latest network comedies and dramas to long-cancelled favorites. Many of these services are offered only with a paid subscription, though some offer ad-supported content free of charge. The ad-supported content will have advertisements pop up at the appropriate commercial breaks in the show’s airing, but they are often much shorter than typical television breaks.
Free or Paid Services
Most internet services, even when they do charge something are much cheaper than even the most basic cable packages. On average, the typical American family pays over $700 a year for basic cable. On the other hand, internet TV providers offer more personalized viewing options for often less than $20 a month. Some even offer content for free, earning their money instead through ad revenue and click traffic. In addition, some of the largest networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox offer episodes from their most popular shows right on their channel’s website. Viewers can find the latest episode within 24 hours of the show’s airing on television.
Web Only Shows
In addition, many cable and network television companies have begun to offer internet exclusive content that is only available through the show’s website. Several independent television and movie companies have gone a step further. They have begun to produce and release complete series that can only be found online. They develop exclusive deals with one or more internet TV providers to air their episodes, targeting much more specific and motivated audiences than they might find through the more traditional television routes. This method of releasing content gives writers and directors a great deal more control over their creations, allowing for more innovative and exciting television viewing.
Individuals who are ready to cut the cord and move to internet TV providers are sure to find plenty of options available. As more channels, cable providers, and special interest entertainment companies provide content online, shows will continue to explore and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness that internet TV providers can offer.