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News Link • Entertainment: Television (TV)

Mossberg: Streaming TV is beginning to look a lot like cable

• by Walt Mossberg

Streaming TV shows, movies, and other types of video over the internet to all manner of devices, once a fringe habit, is now a squarely mainstream practice. Even people still paying for cable or satellite service often also have Netflix or Hulu accounts. Nearly every traditional TV network, sports league, or video service — even those still primarily grounded in cable or satellite — has a channel or app for playing video on everything from set-top boxes and "smart" TVs to mobile phones.

Until recently, however, almost all of these streaming apps and services followed what you might call the Netflix / Hulu model. You paid a fairly modest monthly fee for a large library of shows and movies which you could watch anytime, as many times as you wanted, in whatever order and frequency you wanted. You didn't need to record anything, because it was there, waiting in the cloud. Sometimes, you had to prove you had a cable subscription to enjoy this a la carte approach at no extra cost. Sometimes, there were commercials, sometimes not. But the basic idea still applied.

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