Whether via Netflix, Blockbuster (very slow on-demand :-)) or online via Internet, ODV is here to stay. It’s a given. I just want to get that out of the way.
In a way, I think TiVo should be thanked for pioneering the video appliance and the very easy to use UI. They helped introduced lots of people to watching videos on their own time, at their convenience, as opposed to the TV/cable network’s.
Once people see what TiVo can do for them, other uses pop up and the genie is out of the bottle. There are other related uses besides recording TV/cable/satellite shows. Such as automating, digitizing movies (going from manual, post office ship DVDs of Netflix, Blockbuster) to renting, buying videos on line, on demand. The video on demand usage has been known and attempted for a long time, going back to the early cable days.
Time Warner, back in the early 90’s partnered with SGI to do VOD at several location around the US. There were lots of technical hurdles that had to be solved before something like this can become a reality.
Recently, companies such as Akimbo, CinemaNow, Movielink, 2Wire (AT&T Uverse), OpenTV, ZillionTV, VUDU, Roku(Netflix, Amazon), AppleTV, etc… etc… all joined, some have failed, some are failing, others are….
As someone who worked at 2Wire and later at VUDU, I have some knowledge about what the companies were trying to do, and the issues they faced. I also worked at SGI during the Time Warner VOD trials were going (I was working on the XFS and IRIX 64 bit port projects).
Of course, the content owners – movie studios, TV networks, etc. — aren’t going to sit still and watch others make money off their work. So HULU and various other studios web sites were launched, offering streaming videos from their content library.
The competition in ODV is getting fierce! Good for consumers (yes, very confusing, but good to have choices!), but bad for these companies.