Online television: Old-media firms are firmly in control of internet video

Like stallholders in a busy market, technology companies hawked their online-video services this week. In Berlin, Sony announced it would begin selling films over the internet to Europeans. In San Francisco, Apple unveiled a smaller, cheaper Apple TV, a set-top box designed to play videos. It also said some television shows would be available à la carte for 99 cents. YouTube, a video-streaming website owned by Google, is trying to cut deals with studios that would allow it to rent newly released films. Amazon too is reportedly trying to build a subscription service. But while technology companies are making all the noise, old-media firms are quietly steering the market.The main reason for all the activity is the abrupt appearance in shops of televisions that can plug into the internet, either through cables or wirelessly. NPD, a research firm, reckons that 12% of all the flat-screen televisions sold in America in the first seven months of this year were “connected”. That share is likely to soar. Technology firms spy an opportunity to bypass old-fashioned distributors and bring online video directly to the living room.To read this report in The Economist in full, see:

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