April 28, 2006, 12:00 AM

Discovering new avenues for mixing TV and the web

The march continues toward the combination of TV and web technology, as more retailers and TV production companies find ways to take advantage of broadband and its ability to support quality video transmissions.

Discovery Communications Inc., producer of TV’s Discovery Channel and the web’s Discovery Store, recently launched its first TV channels designed exclusively for the web.

Two Internet TV shows, Discovery Channel Beyond and Travel Channel Beyond, debuted April 15 as 24-hour programming delivered over broadband accessible through Discovery.com. The channels offer original content, including some that relates to existing programs on the Discovery Channel and some submitted by viewers. It’s powered by Brightcove, an Internet TV service.

Discovery has also started to offer samples of its videos on U.S. national parks through Google Earth. A user who views continuous satellite images of the Grand Canyon in Google Earth, for example, will have the option to click on a Discovery icon to immediately link to Discovery.com to view a video about the canyon produced by Discovery.

Discovery is initially offering only short versions of its videos through Google at no charge, banking on the increased traffic the deal will bring to Discovery.com to support online advertising, a spokeswoman says. But it expects to eventually offer full-length videos and hasn’t ruled out charging for them, she adds.

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