Recently, several companies, including Microsoft, Apple and others have started offering content via online download to be watched on your television, iPod or other devices. And this week, Sony announced it was getting into the online content business with downloads for its PSP gaming/media device. Finally, according to The New York Times, Comcast, the nations largest cable operator, will soon begin an experimental program that will make programming available both on-demand via its cable service the same time the programming hits the shelves on DVD.

The program, being tested in Pittsburgh and Denver at the moment, is a bold move that seeks to tap into the burgeoning market for alternatively distributed content -- especially now that overall DVD sales have slowed. Plus, Comcast is already offering over 8000 titles with its video-on-demand service so this new program seems like a logical progression from that service. During the test, users will be able to pay $4 to see a movie the same day they could buy it for $25 at a local store or pay about the same price to rent a DVD from their local Blockbuster.

So, you pay four bucks to watch a movie once via on-demand or you go out and rent the DVD and watch it as many times as you want during the rental period? Or, you buy the DVD and watch it as many times as you like until you get sick of it and sell it on Ebay? Or, you subscribe to Netflix, get DVDs sent to your home, watch them and then send them back to get your next pick. And for that, all you have to do is go to your mailbox -- something you probably already do anyway.

Plus, if you're particularly enterprising, you could, in theory, make a "backup" of the DVDs you get from Netflix and watch them again later -- not that you would or should do that. Sorry Comcast, but I think Netflix is still the way to go -- at least until someone gets a download service going with everything in HD that I can watch as many times as I want as long as I don't try to copy it. That's what I'm waiting for and I think its coming -- maybe not tomorrow, but soon enough. Whatever company finally gets that kind of service going can count on getting my money for sure. Until then, I'll stick with Netflix. But I am curious -- so if you happen to be a Comcast customer participating in this program, let us know how it is.