According to several internet ratings agencies more and more people are viewing television programs on the internet.

Some of them may be bypassing broadcast television altogether to watch their favorite shows.

This trend was highlighted in a poll last year by Integrated Media Measurements, Inc. that indicated 20 percent of those surveyed said they watched at least some television programming on line.

Some television networks, eager not to miss the trend, are putting their own programs on the web and offering them to internet viewers.

One such provider is Hulu, whose name means ?holder of precious things? in Mandarin. An American television network was instrumental in setting up the website. It provides programming from more than a hundred different sources.

Will the Web Replace TV?


Research figures differ on the exact number of Hulu viewers, but there is broad agreement that its audience measures in the multiple millions and is growing rapidly.

Will the internet eventually supplant regular TV?

Technology columnist Mark Kellner says there is no way to know, but that the death of regular TV is at least a possibility. ?More and more,? Kellner says, ?folks are turning to the internet and alternatives such as to watch programs on their schedule as opposed to the broadcaster?s schedule.?

Another advantage, he adds, is the amount of advertising. Internet viewers are forced to watch fewer commercials on the web than those watching regular TV. 

That leads to the question of how internet TV programming will be funded if regular TV with its massive commercial revenue disappears.

?If regular TV goes away,? Kellner says, ?nature abhors a vacuum and something will come up to replace it and replace the funding model.?

Television did not kill off movies as a profitable medium of entertainment as had once been feared, he says. Television will probably survive and ?be with us for quite some time,? he predicts.