Get ready to bid the old cable box a cheery “adios,” because we have entered the era of online television programming. The best part: Unlike your cable services, online television costs nothing.
When your nerdy, techie friends anxiously push their thick-rimmed glasses up to the bridges of their noses and pant, “It’s all about convergence, you know. All about convergence,” listen carefully to their tone even if you do not understand their words. Broadband technology and the fierce competition between Google and Apple has accelerated the pace of television-internet convergence almost to the speed of light. If you cannot allow a week to pass without your dose of “Gossip Girl” and “Modern Family,” you know you can watch them online just 24 hours after they broadcast, and the online tv shows do not stop for commercials. You are the proof that it really is all about convergence.
Online television shows organized, classified, rated, and ready.
At least three major websites offer literally thousands of movies and television programs-hundreds of thousands, actually. Of course, the best sites feature remarkably friendly user interfaces and easy search commands. Your techie friends probably can show you how to order pizza through your computer while you watch the full and uncut early episodes of “Bokep Trek.” Better than the Library of Congress, the best sites for online television shows organize their content not only alphabetically but also chronologically, by genre, by actor, and by viewers’ rankings. With a few simple mouse-clicks, you can watch the cry-worthy romantic comedy all the popular girls are watching, sighing wistfully at the hero just as they do. More adventurous viewers find more obscure and arcane websites offering international and niche viewing; you can search by language, nation-of-origin, or content specialty. And, of course, you would be just foolishly naïve if you did not acknowledge many sites are dedicated to purveying porn.
The sites devoted to online television programs are set to keep pace with television technology, so that many programs already are available in high-definition, and the best sites add more HD shows every day. 3D has yet to hit the online television sites simply because demand has not yet caught-up with supply. When the 3D flat screen goes up on your wall, you may choose to connect it directly to your keyboard and modem, because the content will be there. The sophisticated technology on the sites does come with a natural disadvantage: the best online television sites may overdrive older computers or fail on DSL modems. If you run afoul of those problems, only one word applies: Upgrade.
So, what about this “convergence” thing?
Priced at just under $100, Apple TV is already in stores. A compact little box filled with miracle microcircuits, Apple TV brings you digital content on-demand, featuring programs from all the major networks and the most popular cable stations. In the jargon, Apple TV marks the spot where the web and television converge. Apple is the least expensive; Google is the most powerful. Due out almost any day, Google TV rings-up at about $300, and it offers fully searchable programming with more 100,000 movies and programming from more than a dozen of the most popular networks. Both Apple and Google are reaching new agreements with content providers almost e