How would you like to dump your expensive cable TV service and get the same thing for free? That's the allure of ZillionTV, a new service that offers ad-supported HDTV shows as well as pay-video on demand, courtesy of the "Z-bar," a slim set-top box that gets its video from your broadband connection. Once you've ponied up your paltry $50 installation fee, you're ready for shunning the money-grubbing cablemeisters and satelliteers.
The service is now in its beta-testing phase, but when it's available late this year, it'll offer you a choice: view shows for free with advertising attached, or buy them and watch ad-free. Lots of big-name networks are signing onto the service, including our mommy company NBC Universal, and also bigwigs such as Disney, 20th Century Fox Television, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
They're off to a good start with 15,000 titles, and company reps insist that number will get much much larger by launch time. This could be big, and might foreshadow the way all TV will be watched in the not-too-distant future. But we'll see how that works with the cable/broadband companies threatening to throttle anything like this all to hell. Strangely enough, ZillionTV is working with those same broadband providers to make this happen, so you won't be shunning them after all. Strange bedfellows.