Where to Find Online Video Content

6 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Accessing Digital Content for Home Theaters

Online video content is becoming more abundant (and it's so darn convenient!). Rather than renting DVDs, more folks are downloading or streaming video content (movies, TV series, and such) from online sources. Several audio portals and services are getting into the movie act as well.

Some of the most popular online video content sources include:

Video search engines (such as Google’s and Yahoo!’s) can also be great sources of downloadable or streaming video content.

When looking at video content services, here are some issues to keep in mind:

  • Content: Not all video services have the same content. For example, iTunes has some TV shows and movie sales and rentals. CinemaNow and MovieLink focus on Hollywood movie fare. Over time, all of these players will move toward offering the same lineup of video content, with probably some exclusive showings here and there. But if you want to catch up on old TV shows, look specifically for such offers.

  • Subscriptions versus downloads: For the most part, Internet-based video is offered as pay-as-you-go downloads. But some services, such as iTunes, have subscription-based services for certain types of content (such as a season of a TV series). And Netflix lets you stream an unlimited number of movies — right to your TV — with its new Netflix Player by Roku.

  • Terms of use: Some video download services let you watch a show once. Some let you start and stop it as often as you want, but you have to finish within three days. Some let you keep it forever. Be sure to check out what you are buying. The price might be the same, but the terms could be very different.

Video content is a developing market, and lots of the involved players are trying to figure it out. Video is starting to take up more and more traffic on the networks, and at some point, there will be internal pressures on cable and telephone companies to put limits on their unlimited broadband Internet access subscribers — in other words, they’ll probably figure out a way to charge more to users downloading a lot of content from the Internet. Watch for announcements along these lines if you are a big video downloader.

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The Essentials of Accessing Digital Content for Home Theaters

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