In a kind of next step in bridging TV and the web, Time Warner announced yesterday that it will subsidize your purchase of a Slingbox. That's the set-top box that allows you to broadcast shows, originally destined for your TV, wherever there's a computer or mobile device. You have to be a Time Warner super user and already be subscribed to their $99 "wideband" Internet service, which boasts faster speeds than traditional broadband. But if you are, the company is willing to pony up $300 for the Slingbox.

Expect lawsuits, similar to the two just settled over Time Warner's right to broadcast shows in more than one place and only pay once, to ensue. Content providers (production studios, networks) hate this arrangement because they'd rather monetize each avenue of distribution themselves either through fees to the customer or targeted advertising.

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