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If quality viewing matters most, ABC.com wins so far. I have never seen such a viewing experience. The picture quality, the availability of programs, the delivery are all off the charts. If you can get used to watching content on a computer screen, this will blow you away. Albert Cheng, executive VP for digital media at Disney ABC Television Group, attributes this to things like carefully tuned encoding and special partners like Move Networks (for more on Move, see "Make It YourTube").
The service began in October 2005 at the iTunes video store with three shows, Cheng said. Then in May 2006, the company launched an ABC.com episode player in partnership with five affiliates and 10 advertisers, and a handful of shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives.
ABC.com went full scale in September 2006 with a bigger slate of prime-time shows (full seasons). There are syndication feeds to sites including Facebook and Hulu. Some 300 million episodes have played on ABC.com since fall 2006.
One big knock on content companies like ABC is that the content is just repurposed television, whereas companies like Revision3 and Podshow are creating original programming primarily for the Web. Cheng is a believer, but ABC starts with its strength, so some original programming will initially come from some of its writers (shows like Squeegees and Voicemail).
Photo illustrations by Sek Leung