US TV network ABC says it's going to make most of its programmes free over the internet. Shows like Alias, Desperate Housewives and Lost will stream from ABC.com on a one-day delay, with commercials. As with any digital clip, they'll be ffwd, rwd and pause options, but you won't be able to skip the ads.
ABC's previous net TV effort - selling episodes of Housewives over iTunes - was not of course available here, because we aint got iTunes (though the Recording Industry Association, or RIANZ, has just hired another piracy cop. Cheers). Presumably the new free-for-all ABC regime will be more readily available to all-comers, if prohibitively expense and unpractical the way our broadband accounts are billed (Yanks are typically on all-you-can-eat plans).
ABC-affiliated, locally-owned TV stations in the US aren't thrilled that the broadcaster is now making its content available direct to the punters. The likes of TVNZ, TV3 and Sky could, one day soon, find themselves in the same boat. Can't wait for TV2 to buy the next series of Lost, or can't wait a week for the next episode? Hit the net.
The other great thing about internet TV is the rebirth of retro. Everybody from the BBC to content makers like Time Warner to providers like Google are making selected old TV shows available for free, and others for a fee (and it's usually location-restricted ... for now).
There's also been a sudden, explosive growth in DIY video sites, like YouTube, which claims 25 million downloads since February. Yes, there are a couple of hundred thousand too many people who think it's hilarious to upload a clip of them badly miming a pop song in their underwear, but there are also some quirky travel, video blog and short movie clips if you're willing to wade through the dross. It's the Triangle TV of broadband. Just make sure you don't surf on your own account.