Prepare yourself for the ‘TV Wars’, and the new content delivery methods which are rapidly emerging with it. That’s right, your good ‘ol beaut TV set and the way in which your favourite shows are transmitted to you could soon become obsolete as new content devices and technologies appear on the horizon.

Channel Seven’s today tonight recently aired a segment that was meant to showcase Kerry Stoke’s latest marvel – TiVo. At the same time it appeared to take a swipe at FOXTEL’s Pay TV services by educating the masses on where to watch much of the content that currently appears on Pay TV. If you guessed WWW, your exactly right! Much of the content that’s currently airing on FOXTEL and AUSTAR can be viewed on the Internet, and for free! Seek and ye shall find.

Terms such as IPTV, TiVo and VOD have, uptil recently, only been used by the internet savvy and broadband enthusiast alike. However this is all about to change as the mainstream gets a taste of things to come in the realm of Broadcast TV content and delivery.

Internet TV is just that. TV content that is stored online and of which can be streamed (downloaded) from the Internet to you. The ABC’s new iView service acts as an Internet TV library that allows you to watch anything that was aired on the ABC/ABC 2 over the past 30 days. The service if completely free, all you have to pay for is the data usage. 

TiVo is a device which has been pretty much over marketed as a Pay TV competitor, although it’s more of an indirect alternative to such. It’s a brand of digital video recorder that basically gives a user the ability to capture TV shows (with time shift recording) onto a hard drive. There is also an electronic TV Guide which many people will find quite useful along with many other flexible and helpful features. Perhaps the biggest draw card for TiVo over that of Pay TV is it’s future potential with Internet compatibilities. This can be best described by it’s ability to connect to a local area network and download content from the internet. The TiVo device is set to become an extremely popular content media portal down the track.

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) uses the Internet to transmit digital television telecasts (opposed to radio waves).  Television content is delivered through network infrastructure often using broadband connections. Many people nowdays use media centres and LCD/Plasma TV’s to watch content downloaded from the Internet. IPTV is becoming very popular in countries such as the United States and is usually packaged within broadband type services.

VOD (Video on Demand) services can either stream content (for real time ‘live’ viewing) through a set-top-box, or allow content to be downloaded to a device such as a PC or Digital Video Recorder (e.g. TiVo). It appears to be a very practical method for watching content on demand such as new release movies and live entertainment/sporting events.

Pay TV in Australia has been around for quite a number of years and has enjoyed growing popularity more recently. These other services are relatively new to the scene and still play second fiddle to Pay TV. There is an enormous ‘X’ factor here that is bound to effect the respective industry in the not so distant future. This factor plays a huge role in the prospects and protocols of many of the services discussed in this article. It’s called Broadband, more importantly ‘Bandwidth’.

With a new national network just around the corner which is expected to bring robust broadband speeds and capabilities, a flourishing broadcast industry will be sure to follow. So expect these services, and more like them, to bob up and down from time to time, and once the NBN kicks in over the next couple of years, it will be “beam me up Scottie!”