The Starz channel is a familiar component of many cable services, but the company has also been beta testing a new Internet-based service since January. The Vongo service offers subscribers access to more than 1,600 movies and other programming content for $9.95, which can be viewed on a computer, television, or portable media device. You also get access to the Starz channel as streaming content.
We’re clearly into the Balkanization stage of IPTV services. There are now dozens available, and not all will survive. I still believe that the user interface will have to become more “TV-like” and less “Web-like” so that it is as easy to use them as a channel guide on a cable service. The ideal solution will be to have the IPTV content merged seamlessly with cable, satellite, over-the-air broadcast, and your digital video recorder options, in order to make it easy enough to use for most people.
I expect the number of services to continue to expand for a while, before some of them start running out of startup capital and the implosion of closings, mergers, and acquisitions begin. So there should be a lot of action, and it should be interesting to watch.