With the advent of software such as Netflix and the iTunes Music Store, more and more things are being downloaded. Valve software's Steam platform allows users to purchase and download games very similarly to how they do for movies and music. But a new startup OnLive, which very recently came out into the public and is releasing a closed beta this summer, takes this one step further.
OnLive promises "Any game, instantly" with "no big downloads or installs". They plan to do this with a PC or Mac - based browser plugin that uses cloud computing and their massive server speeds to provide any game instantly to their users.
They also provide their "OnLive MicroConsole" to do the same with TV, making it more like a video game. This comes with a very nice-looking controller, which seems like it is halfway between the XBox and the XBox 360 controller. From the images they provide of the console it seems to have two USB ports and a video out, which I assume means it will connect via WiFi. This adds a limitation on target audience, as not everyone has WiFi.
Overall, OnLive is an excellent idea with great potential, with its only shortcomings being client-side: no WiFi or slow internet. I am very excited to see where this goes; in fact I am so excited that I am currently signed up for their beta program, and will post back with more information if I am accepted