We've moved from a one to many world (broadcasting) to a one to many to many world (social television).
Being high on the EPG on a branded broadcaster's service is just about enough to get you distribution, but this is gradually eroding and one day very soon the tipping point will have been reached when TV needs social more than social needs TV.
To date the service providers have jealously guarded their fiefdoms and probably rightly so, but when service like Zattoo and TVCatchup start building an audience base, you have to ask - why ?
The reason is pretty simple - they provide a great and very convenient service. The iPad and iPhone apps from TVCatchup are the best things about those devices - especially the iPad, where you can walk around with a lovely Freeview TV.
As Project Canvas continues to debate standards, or whatever it's doing, these guys have gone out and created what the public want.
So, to see ITV, Five and Channel4 issue proceedings against TVCatchup is a bit sad - why can't they embrace superior technology when they see it ? In an ideal world, for free to air channels, all they should do is demand to get stats back from the service and to charge their advertisers accordingly.
There is an interesting note on TVCatchup's Wikipedia entry: "Opinion that the website is lawful has been given by prominent copyright experts Hamlins LLP of London and Robert Engleheart QC of Blackstone Chambers. Broadcasters have further participated in assessing the website prior to launch, and have been reported as having identified no legal cause to oppose the service".
In fact, the management of ITV could do a lot worse than buying out this company as a platform for the future.
TV is expensive to produce and rights have to be respected, but embracing the future is better than fighting it. The Canute syndrome persists in the television industry, albeit that Canute used the tide to show how powerless he was.