Online retailer Amazon has become the latest to jump on the online TV bandwagon.
It has been pitching its planned subscription service to major media companies including NBC Universal, Time Warner and News Corp, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Amazon already sells individual TV shows for Blu-ray and the Xbox 360, as well as digital movie downloads.
It aims to stay out of the way of the burgeoning web businesses of Hollywood and the TV networks by focusing on older or “long-tail” content, making it more of a rival to Netflix.
With the pending arrival of internet-connected TVs it could be on the right track, as the world of home viewing is about to turn upside down.
Google has stolen a march on its rivals with plans for a worldwide pay-per-view service due to start by the end of the year, as it pitches the power of its search technology and YouTube.
As a source told the FT: ““Google and YouTube are a global phenomenon with a hell of a lot of eyeballs – more than any cable or satellite service.”
Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly close to a deal with Fox and ABC to rent out TV shows through iTunes at 99 cents (€0.77) each, the Journal reported.
Hulu, the established site for new TV shows owned by Fox, NBC and ABC, is already offering free and subscription content online.
Media companies face a tricky transition that would be familiar to any other business disrupted by the web.
They don’t want to fragment their TV audience, but the clear lesson of the past decade is that it’s much better to cannibalize yourself than have a competitor do it to you.