2006-03-02

TV over the Internet

If 500 cable channels, Pay-per-view, TV on demand and DVDs by mail are not enough, then check out Akimbo.com, a TV over the Internet service. The NY times called the service a train wreck in June 2005. But surely by now the service has improved.

The service is only available in Canada and the USA. But the content available to Canadians is quite limited.

Problem
The biggest problem with the service, apart from the shall we say, "niche" program selection, is that you must wait a long time for the programs to download to your set top box or your computer (if you have Windows Media Centre). So you must plan in advance. On the plus side you get to keep the show or movie from 2 days to 2 months.

Demand
I can't see why people would subscribe to this service (US$9.99 per month), but then again, people sign up for voice over IP (VOIP) phone service with Vonage and others, even though traditional phone service works fine and is relatively affordable.

Choice
Some people like choice. And clearly, the selection of shows offered with Akimbo is not mainstream. And it could be cheaper if you are simply a casual TV viewer. Some people don't like TV. Maybe access to Turkish sit coms is what was needed to get them on board.

If you find that the Discovery channel's switch to more accessible programming is driving you nuts (I think building bikes is interesting), then Akimbo may be the only infotainment available to you without opening a book.

Also, TV on demand is not available with satellite service (or over the air), so perhaps you non-cable households out there want the option. My cable company just added on demand to my area and, although I'm grateful, the choice is quite limited.

Language is also an issue. In the province of Quebec, for example, you can't get The Movie Network on demand with Vidéotron. You can only get the dubbed movies on demand with Super Écran. In the region I live, the opposit is true. Although in both places pay per view on demand is available in both languages, the selection is limited.

Google Video
An other option to consider is Google Video (video.google.com). I suspect this service will become part of the lives of many of us in the near future.

The summer rerun season is just around the corner, be prepared (I get a commission):
The Golf Warehouse . A great golf selection for this online store based in Kansas.
Blockbuster Online (USA only). Good selection of movies and TV series at a flat monthly rate; no porn.

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