By BOB TEDESCHI
FOR those tired of navigating hundreds of television channels to find shows worth watching, the Web sends this message: let us do the work. Oh, and by the way, a computer screen will do nicely.
A handful of new Internet companies have recently introduced Web sites that aim to sift through millions of online video clips and instantly splice them together according to the viewer's stated or implied tastes. Right now, that includes a fairly meager selection of mainstream media selections - and, yes, you sometimes have to watch it through a subpar Internet connection. But more network-quality shows are coming online, and Webcasting technology is fast improving to the point where you can now catch glimpses of what TV could look like in the not-too-distant future.
"You can debate what you should call it, but in the coming world, it's going to be a user-controlled environment," said Allen Weiner, an analyst with Gartner, a technology consulting firm. "I watch what I want, when I want."
The most recent version of this customized Internet TV idea comes from Blinkx, a San Francisco online search company that plans to activate MyBlinkx TV today at
But when the user types in, say, "big wave surfing," instead of displaying links to Web pages, the site starts rolling a string of video clips most relevant to that topic. Users can fast-forward, rewind, pause the video and click a button to save the channel. When they return to it, the technology refreshes the channel with newer, more relevant clips.