Movies and videos are exploding on the Web, but watching them isn’t the laid-back experience that consumers are accustomed to with TV. Viewers have been constrained to the relatively small screens of their laptops, digital-music players or personal computers — away from big TV screens and comfortable furniture of the living room.
The idea is not to simply beam whatever is on the computer screen to the TV. There’s not much demand for reading email or viewing ordinary text-heavy Web sites on a 42-inch flat screen. Instead, tech and media companies are using the Internet as a conduit for transmitting selected content, just as cable is a conduit for getting programming to the TV. And the Internet opens the possibility of sending virtually unlimited content to the TV — from foreign-language films to archived TV shows from the 1960s.