AOL is going headlong into sister concern Warner Bros’ intense library of classic TV shows to unveil In2TV, the first broadband television network, AOL announced on Wednesday.
At launch, thousands of episodes from 30 television shows would be offered in both Windows Media and AOL’s Hi-Q video format. From there, the company plans to expand the list of available shows and episodes throughout the year.
The Hi-Q format guarantees DVD quality, but users would have to download a piece of software to save the files to their hard drive. This will thereby connect the user to a P2P network that would help to deliver the videos quickly and competently to other users.
Some of the TV shows to be made available include Babylon 5, Eight is Enough, F Troop, Falcon Crest, Growing Pains, Head of the Class, La Femme Nikita, Pinky and the Brain, Sisters, and the 70s sitcom hit Welcome Back, Kotter.
Four advertisers will at first support the service, including Intel, Kraft, Kia and Hershey. AOL has vowed to keep advertising within shows to 1-2 minutes per 30-minute episodes.
AOL Media Networks executive vice president Kevin Conroy said, “With the largest collection of full length television programming anywhere on the Web, plus interactive features and viral videos all free and on-demand, In2TV will appeal to existing fans as well as introduce these shows to a whole new generation.”
Though In2TV would be free, AOL does plan to keep a download service that would cost $1.99 USD per episode, much like Apple’s iTunes ; and a subscription service due to begin in 2007.
Warner Bros. president Kevin Tsujihara said, “In2TV begins to realize the true potential of Web-based TV by putting the viewer in charge of their own TV schedule online.” He added, “This opens up new opportunities for platforms and program distributors alike and points to the prospect of exciting new paradigms in online and interactive entertainment soon to come.”
The shows would be planned into six themed channels: LOL, Dramarama, Toon Topia, Heroes and Horrors, What a Rush, and Vintage TV. AOL says it intends to put in an additional two genre-themed channels this summer.
All the TV shows can be searched via AOL’s Video Search. The company said it would also allow a user to search for events within episodes.