The Internet is becoming more important as a distribution for television as IPTV begins to provide live television. This opens up new risks for the content and equipment providers. Between the analog television era and today's digital programming, there is much diversity in technology and content as well as economics.
However, the next target for big business is IPTV. Internet Protocol Television mean only the first salvo, television programs and movies over the Internet has already come into the fold.
Both content as well as the devices go far beyond what was expected. As IPTV is not just on television but also on PCs and smart phones and tablet computers – it has been touted as the growth market of the future.
Moving images require high data bandwidth. This was a problem years ago but nowadays the majority of households have access to megabit connections. Today, the IPTV train is not stopping anytime, if you believe the experts: "IPTV has established itself as the television of the future," says the consulting firm Goetz Partners, which regularly explores the development of the area in consumer studies.
This made the video-on-demand provider Netflix to reach a figure of 25 million subscribers, and YouTube surpassed 3 billion video views last May for the first time.
For Europeans who are accustomed to pay-TV with a just a few selection of TV programming, switching to TV that comes from the phone jack is something to get used to for now.
Some broadcasters are still hesitant to include their programming online because they believe and expect that IPTV is still not profitable.
However, the trend is at least clear up and getting more obvious. "The regular use of IPTV services in most of Europe has increased compared to 2008 across all IPTV categories with average 57.3 percent clear," says the Goetz partners report. At the same time the consumption of television and movies over the Internet for the most is taken for granted: "IPTV offers are now nearly familiar to consumers."
From this trend, the IPTV infrastructure and its content providers benefit as much as equipment manufacturers. The exponentially growing number of smart phones and tablet computers pushes the interests of the broadcasters - on mobile devices and on PCs - under the motto "Any content, any device, any time, any place."
Soon after, the report said, the old way of broadcasting TV programming would be a thing of the past.