Starting next month, CBS will stream its fully owned shows on its own broadband channel – InnerTube. The ad-supported streams will be viewable free of charge and the list of programs offered includes the network’s various “CSI” shows as well as “Numb3rs” and “Survivor.” Episodes will appear on InnerTube the mornings following the shows’ nighttime airings.

The CBS announcement marks the latest move by a network to make some of its programming available online since Disney-owned ABC first stirred things up last year by selling episodes of shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” on iTunes. Up until that point, the networks looked upon the Web as a promotional device – fine for streaming show promos and clips, but inadequate for the long form, such as 30-minute sitcoms or hour-long dramas.

Like the original Disney / ABC announcement last winter, CBS’ plans caught some people off guard, specifically the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild Of America and the Directors Guild Of America. Evidently all three guilds had no inkling of the Tiffany Network’s latest online plans until the big announcement, according to Hollywood trade mag Variety.

However, don’t expect any of the guilds to become the fly in CBS’ ointment. The guilds didn’t know anything about Disney and ABC hooking up with iTunes last year until it was announced. And while the guilds’ executives were understandably shocked by that news, they also saw the iTunes deal as an opportunity and quickly signed off on the venture.

But television has always had a reputation for speed. While it takes Hollywood more than a year to plan, shoot and present a movie, TV networks often go from the initial pitch to the finished product in a matter of months. TV, like its movie industry brethren, saw what happened to the music industry when the record labels dragged their collective feet in regards to delivering songs online. In short, the television industry wants to deliver online content to audiences now – before the audiences do it themselves.

While CBS was trumpeting its own online video plans, Twentieth Century Fox announced it would sell movies and TV shows online.

Fox plans to use an existing platform, the company’s video game-selling Direct2Drive service, to offer programs like “24” and “Prison Break” within 24 hours of each program’s initial broadcast for $1.99 per show. Fox will also sell movies on the site for about $20 each. Included among the movies to be made available online in October are “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Thank You For Smoking” and “The Omen.”

Although Fox already sells some of its programs on iTunes, those downloads can only be played on computers and iPods. The new plan calls for both TV programs and movies to carry Microsoft’s Windows Media copy protection and will limit playback to two Windows computers and one portable device per computer.

While Fox and CBS both managed to grab some media attention via their latest online projects, another video site was soaking up the headlines even though there wasn’t anything to officially announce. At least not yet., the video hosting site that’s only been in existence for 18 months, said it was talking to record labels about posting thousands of videos online, according to Reuters.

“What we really want to do is in six to 12 months, maybe 18 months, to have every music video ever created up on YouTube,” co-founder Steve Chen told Reuters. “We’re trying to bring in as much of this content as we can on to the site.”

But while YouTube hopes for a deal with the major labels, another video site announced an alliance with MTV Networks.

Google Video is collaborating with MTV Networks to test a plan that distributes ad-supported content to targeted Web sites, allowing those Web sites to present segments of MTV programming.

Included among the first batch of MTV program clips to be distributed by Google Video will be “Laguna Beach” and the “MTV Video Music Awards.”

Along with the new distribution model, Google Video will also sell programs that have either previously aired on MTV or other Viacom cable channels, such as Comedy Central. Included in the first batch of programs to be sold for $1.99 each are episodes of “South Park,” “Chappelle’s Show,” “Punk’d” and “Jackass.”

During the past few years there have been several predictions that the television and computer would eventually merge into a single box capable of receiving broadcasts and downloads. We’re not there yet, but it’s looking as if the television you grew up with may go the way of black & white screens, vacuum tubes and rabbit ears. And that state-of-the-art set you purchased only a couple of years ago could be sitting in a museum tomorrow.