My Herald pal Bridget Carey has an interesting story in Tuesday's paper about Sezmi, a service that combines over-the-air television with on-line feeds of a handful of cable channels. Personally, I'm dubious that Sezmi is going to catch on; a service that offers so few channels will appeal mostly to people who watch little or no TV, yet the price ($149 per television set start-up costs, plus a $5 monthly fee) is way above what anybody is likely to pay just to watch the evening news once in a while.
That doesn't mean that on-line TV viewing isn't the future. When I talk to college journalism classes, the vast majority of students tell me they don't have cable service, and a startling number don't even have TV sets. Instead, they watch their programming at sites like Hulu.com. Meanwhile, network executives get all twitchy with glee at the prospect of eliminating local affiliates, the expensive and balky middlemen in getting their programming to the public. When somebody figures out an easy, viewer-friendly way of getting on-line feeds into a television set, TV as we know it will be gone in a flash.