Well, the FCC is surely correct in recommending that Congress not mandate that cable operators be required to offer channels on an a la carte basis. Did you see the SBC news release concerning its deal with Microsoft that will enable it "to provide next-generation television services using the Microsoft TV Internet Television (IPTV) Edition software plaktform." SBC says the deal is valued at $400 million over 10 years.
According to SBC, its Internet-based service will change the way people experience television: "Finally, customers will watch what they want, when they want--from a virtually unlimited and interactive content selection." SBC says it plans on the availability of the IP-based television in late 2005.
I know, I know--the date almost certainly is hyped up a bit, and it likely will slip. It may be 2006, or 2007, or....but Internet Television is surely coming. And it will be "a la carte" out of the kazoo, beyond John McCain's fondest dreams. The marketplace and technology are driving this.
And this too: The regulatory metaphysicians are likely to have a field day arguing about the classification of Internet Television unless Congress acts in the not-too-distant future to free all digital services from the traditional stovepipe regulatory mandates.
And speaking of Congress, this too: Think about all that valuable spectrum that will be devoted to provision of over-the-air digital TV service by "broadcasters" at the same time that many people incresingly will be satisfying most of their video fix through non-spectrum delivered Internet TV.