Online Video Presents: The Waste, the Wacky, The Wonderful
Just because Apple Computer won the first round of the Internet video wars, I wouldn't count out Google's rickety video store just yet. Google's new video service is weak partly because it is attempting to do far more than most of the new wannabe Internet TV channels do.
In fact, the Internet this year is looking like the early days of television, when the broadcasting technology had just been developed and people were buying and turning on TV sets with little clue of what they might find. Over the next six to 18 months, get ready for all kinds of fare to appear on your nascent Internet video "dials" because Hollywood is finally starting to license its shows to Web sites.
Here's an early look at some of the online video channels you can expect to get a lot flashier soon:
Google ( http:/
As for content, Google offers not only a tier of mainstream commercial TV shows and music videos for $1.99 apiece but also a second tier of niche programs and a vast third level of user-contributed fare -- much of it free. CBS is Google's first major TV show provider but is so tight with licensing that it offers only one episode of "CSI" at a time. Heck, you can find more "CSI" episodes on your regular TV dial for free.
More interesting are Google's second and third tiers of wacky and unpredictable content, where you could waste hours. I did just that after making the mistake of clicking on an interview with "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf. It led me to a bunch of addictive interviews after I searched on "Archive of American Television Interview."
Bloggers have been busy publishing other keywords that yield funky stuff. A search on "high school dance" or "high school" anything tends to cough up zany teen videos, for example. Just don't expect the video production quality to be consistent or high, because Google is one of the least controlled of the new services.
Apple ( http:/
Among the many lesser-known start-ups to offer online video:
YouTube ( http:/
Blink TV ( http:/
Iwatchnow.com ( http:/