Online TV is the digital distribution of television content via the Internet. Online TV has become very popular through various services and allows the users to choose the content or the television show they want to watch from an archive of content or from a channel directory. The two forms of viewing Internet television are streaming the content directly to a media player or simply downloading the media to the user’s computer.
With the “TV on Demand” market growing, these on-demand websites or applications are essential for major television broadcasters. Many users stream more than one million videos per week, it’s over three percent to five percent of the UK’s internet traffic due to people watching the first episode of “The Apprentice“. Availability of Online TV content continues to grow. As an example, in Canada as of May 2011 there were more than 600 TV shows available for free streaming, including several major titles like Survivor and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
With the exception of Internet-connectivity costs many online-television channels or sites are free. These sites maintain this free-television policy through the use of video advertising, short commercials and banner advertisements may show up before a video is played. An example of this is on the abc.com catch-up website; in place of the advertisement breaks on normal television, a short thirty-second advertisement is played.
Having an extensive archive, however, can bring problems along with benefits. Large archives are expensive to maintain, server farms and mass storage is needed along with ample bandwidth to transmit it all. Vast archives can be hard to catalogue and sort so that it is accessible to users, but many providers have found solutions to this problem. Even today, Online TV continues to grow and attracts millions of people every day.
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