The Internet TV space just got even more crowded.
According to PC Magazine, Next.TV will debut later this month as a software update for HP’s consumer notebooks running Microsoft Vista, and by early 2008 all of the company’s consumer notebooks will come pre-installed with the service. Eventually, the company plans to offer Next.TV to non-HP customers as a software download available from its website.
In terms of Next.TV’s content, PC Magazine is short on details, noting only that the service will offer fifty channels, both “live” TV as well as on-demand. TechCrunch reports that the beta version of Next.TV already carries programing from CBS, Freemantle, and Endemol — and that the preview which they were shown also included content from MGM, eye.tv, Lazy.tv, and Reality.tv.
The service will be free-to-view and supported by targeted advertising, which TechCrunch says will use the same audio finger-printing technology currently employed by the U.S.’s Homeland Security.
Ultimately, how well Next.TV will fair against rivals such as Joost or Babelgum, as well the growing number of Telco-based IPTV offerings, will depend largely on the kinds of content deals it can secure. For example, Joost’s investors include major content producers, CBS and Viacom, which could give it a huge advantage. On the other hand, getting the required software into the hands of viewers will also be key — and it’s in this context where Next.TV’s distribution partnership with HP looks a smart move.