Have you ditched cable and satellite TV? Online alternatives

In my last post I compared the marketing focus and features of Netflix and Blockbuster mail order DVD programs. Traditionally these have been thought of as complementary programming to standard cable or satellite TV. However, with added features such as television network programming, they may become substitute products for cable and satellite in the future.

Another group of alternatives is online streaming video and programming from companies such as Hulu and Joost.

Joost provides television, movie, and music programming through online streaming. The content is free of charge to the consumer as ads from sponsors pay for the service. The Joost web site is a a full-on social media site with recommended content, reviews from others, sharing links, popular content, etc. There is even an iPhone app to stream the content.

What surprised me was that the television programming was up-to-date. I picked CSI: NY at random from a list of dramas. The first episode originally aired on March 25, 2009 on the network and was posted online for viewing just a few days later. The film selection on Joost did not appear so fresh. Not bad if you like classics or want to catch up some films you never knew existed.

All-in-all, the site is mainly focused as a navigation of content tool. Information about how they manage their programming, a knowledge base, a blog, and other program type materials are in the footer of the application away from primary eye-sight.

Hulu contains television programming and video content without the music section offered by Joost. As with Joost the selection of films is very dated or unpopular, while the television programming is recent. The site also has a blog to keep subscribers informed of new content.  Hulu is a catalog based sited. It’s purpose to to create a catalog of online content so that users may navigate and watch.

So are these online and mail order content providers ready to replace your cable/satellite programming? I think that depends what type of programming you watch. If you watch alot of current programming such as sports or news then this option is not for you yet. But if you watch alot of TV series and an occasional movie then these options could be your way to unhook that cable/satellite box.

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