In a deal that may signal the start of a new era of competition for entrenched cable and satellite providers, Viacom has tentatively agreed to let its popular cable channels — like Nickelodeon and MTV — be carried by an Internet TV service that Sony is creating.
The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind between a major programmer and any of the technology giants that are trying to disrupt traditional modes of TV delivery. If other programmers follow suit, Sony’s as-yet-unnamed service would let paying subscribers receive live cable channels the same way they use on-demand libraries like Netflix or Hulu. Intel and Google are working on similar services but try to make it more user-friendly, perhaps the way that Netflix does with personalisation features and a fancy interface.
Most households today have only a few choices for television service: whatever cable company serves their local area, be it Comcast, Time Warner Cable or others, and two satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network.
The New York Times