Bye-bye TV? YouTube debuts live streaming

The new service which debuts today could give cable TV’s last real advantage, live news and sports, a run for its money.

You can already watch just about any TV show or movie out there on Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon (AMZN), YouTube or some other Internet site. Some are pay per view, while others use paid advertising or “commercials.” Clearly the Internet has made the archives of pre-recorded video content a virtual catalog from which consumers can shop and buy or rent.

The one thing that the Internet hasn’t quite mastered yet, however, is live events like news and sporting events. Companies like Qik, Ustream and a few others have done this on a small scale, but it hasn’t hit the mainstream. Sporting events which have smaller disparate audiences have been one of the bigger draws, with sites like ESPN, MLB and the NFL offering feeds at a fee.

YouTube aims to change that this week with the announcement of YouTube Live, which it hopes to mainstream live video on the net:

Today and tomorrow, tune in as we open a new chapter of YouTube live streaming. Starting at 8:00 a.m. PT, we will begin a limited trial of a new live streaming platform in conjunction with four of our partners: HowcastNext New NetworksRocketboomand Young Hollywood.

In the past, YouTube has streamed live events, including U2 concerts, Indian Premier LeagueCricket the White House events, E3 and even Google’s (GOOG) own events, most recently Google Instant Search.

As we become more comfortable with streaming events and YouTube’s broadcast of them (and advertising against them), will the desire to “cut the cable cord” become more prevalent? Sports and News are, in my mind, the last reason to keep a traditional TV in the house.  With YouTube sucking up that content too, why keep the $100 cable TV plan?

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