How long can the TV streaming honeymoon last?

Networks and cable companies might not like the content boom but it may be too late to stop.

Used to be you'd get TV shows sent from TV stations to your TV. Well, everything's getting all crazy and now you get video all over the place.

The Amazon Instant streaming service is now available as an iPad app. Hulu Plus can now be accessed on Apple TV set top boxes, streamed by Internet. More stuff on more platforms than ever.

"What you're seeing now is lots of players saying there's a demand for content anywhere, anyhow. I want to help enable that," says Laurie Dean Baird, who's with Georgia Tech's Institute for People and Technology. She says the companies bringing us all our stories on our shiny gadgets have strengths and challenges. "You look Amazon that's great at doing recommendations, and they've driven that on their online stores, so saying why not expand that. Netflix, great company with big success story of being the sneak approach to get videos to the home through old school means of mail and now through television, I think their big challenge is cost and getting the content they want. Apple has this wonderful tie to the consumer through Apple products, but very limited to Apple products."

The traditional TV networks and cable companies might not be too fond of this new TV all over the place system. And they might try to bring it back under their control.

Max Dawson, who teaches TV and film at Northwestern University, says it might be too late for that.

Max Dawson: It's going to be a very difficult scenario for the powers that be to pull off because not only have they established a precedent, they've established an expectation that content is ubiquitous and cheap online, but they've nurtured a generation that knows nothing of television except what they see on their laptops. There are millions of kids out there for whom Netflix and Hulu are the equivalent of what television was for many other generations of Americans.

Moe: It's ABC and NBC.

Dawson: Something you would assume would just be like a public utility. They have these expectations, and you know, pretty soon, they're going to be the age of majority, they're going to be the most important demographic, and when networks and studios decide this is when we've got to clamp down, reevaluate, find a way of regenerating the profits, we're losing on our traditional business models, they're not going to be facing off with older consumers. They're going to be facing off with this younger generation of people.

Moe: So here's the battle: it's the big content owners, media companies wanting to starve out the content, make more money, take away some choices, against a growing angry army of young people.

Dawson: And I think they're only going to get angrier as time goes on.

**

At long last, the phenomena of overpriced headphones and pampered cats come together in one rather astonishing product. Meowington's Cat Headphones are headphones just for cats. And they cost a thousand bucks. I'm serious.

What would a cat even listen to?

Stray Cats: Stray cat strut, I’m a ladies cat.

Oh yeah, I suppose so.

Ted Nugent: They give me cat scratch fever, cat scratch fever.

Right, some cats could be into Nugent. Hadn't thought of that. What if they like something more mellow?

Harry Chapin: Well, the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon.

The headphones are made by famed DJ and producer deadmau5 and named after his cat Meowington. He's made 10 pair and proceeds from the sale will benefit the ASPCA.

I wonder if cats want to listen to any songs NOT about cats?

Baha Men: Who let the dogs out? Who let the dogs out?

Right. It's good to have a warning when someone lets the dogs out.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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