Quick Take: Web TV Is Inevitable

I'll never look at TV in the same way again.

After having missed the live broadcast of Heroes on Monday, last night I slipped into my basement office to check out the replay online, at NBC.com.

I was blown away, and not just by Peter Petrelli.

Mostly I'm geeking out about the experience. It's better than TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) . There's nothing to zap. Just simple programming, delivered cleanly.

Such elegant simplicity threatens every business that's making money from traditional television programming, including TiVo, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA  ) , EchoStar (Nasdaq: DISH  ) , and DirecTV (NYSE: DTV  ) .

And it's not like viewing TV over the Web requires anything special. All I had was a cable modem, a 17-inch monitor, and Firefox. Sure, I had to endure six 30-second commercials, but other than that, my viewing experience was unencumbered.

The pitch was also more effective. I never remember commercials from live TV. But I know from my 45 minutes with Claire, the Petrelli brothers, and Hiro and Ando that Toyota's Tundra pickup is 31 feet better than competitors in brake tests.

Now, I'll grant that I'm only one Fool. But I suspect my experience last night was somewhat akin to the joy of tuning into Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) or XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR  ) for the first time.

Sure, both firms remain unprofitable. But a better customer experience -- most of the time, at least -- has led to astounding growth. And that, in turn, makes these broadcasters attractive to advertisers. Web TV could very well enjoy the same halo effect.

The rock group Foreigner once sang of the jukebox hero, with stars in his eyes. Me? I'm waiting for a Web TV hero. He'll be a star in my portfolio.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

TiVo is a Stock Advisor pick. To see what companies are helping the newsletter service crush the market, take a free 30-day trial today.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers wonders what the new season of Heroes, titled "Generations," will bring. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy stands for truth, justice, and the Foolish way.


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