Who Will Win the WebTV Battle?

Yesterday Apple (AAPL) announced their new version of AppleTV. The day before, Amazon (AMZN) announced they will be streaming TV and movies.

With new studies showing 58% of TV viewers had streamed or downloaded TV within the last six months (45% watched or downloaded TV content at least once a week), which company will win the WebTV battle? Here’s the tale of the tape:

AppleTV: Apparently, Apple is turning TV into a real business as opposed to a hobby compared with music and hardware. The new AppleTV is a sweet device offering $0.99 shows and Netflix (NFLX) movies in a slick platform. My BIG question is why bother with the device if you can get all the content on iTunes 10 and netflix.com? Personally, I’d rather connect my laptop to the TV or use some bluetooth and spare myself another piece of inevitable landfill hardware. But Apple is definitely moving in the right direction.

AmazonTV: Jeff Bezos is tired of having Steve Jobs stealing all the thunder. The online retailing giant released “a proposal for a subscription service that gives users unlimited access to some television shows and movies over the Internet.” Although details are not yet clear, we all know Amazon will intensely compete to join the pack of horses which break out to an early lead.

Hulu Plus: Hulu (GE) is the popular free WebTV service flooded with NBC content. In an effort to stay in the race, Hulu recently released details about a new subscription-based component. However, PC World says, “The service does not go far enough either in uniting video playback devices or in offering a library of shows.” We’ll have to wait and see if Hulu can keep up now that Amazon and Apple are making a forceful effort to dominate the space. But why would anyone pay $0.99 for a show available free on Hulu?

What are your thoughts about WebTV? Share your comments below …