Watching Your TV Shows Online
December 13, 2006
With all the time you’re out shopping, meeting up with family and friends, and running errands during the holiday season, chances are you’ve been missing a lot of your favorite TV shows if you don’t have access to a TiVo or personal video recorder (PVR).
Of course, you can always buy TV shows from iTunes or Google Video (for $1.99 each), but who really wants to pay for something you can watch for free?
As long as you have a high-speed Internet connection, you can take advantage of the television networks offering free streaming shows on their web-sites. Plus, these play with very few commercials - good if you have very little time to spare, yet still want your entertainment. I know this is old news to some of you, but I still run into tons of people who have never thought about watching their television shows online.
ABC (www.abc.com) was the first to try this concept earlier this year with four of its shows: Desperate Housewives, Lost, Commander In Chief and Alias. The trial ended June 30 with great success. Because of this, when the fall television season came around this September, ABC decided to continue the service with its ad-supported broadband player. Now you can catch full episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Lost, Ugly Betty, Day Break, Six Degrees and The Nine. You can watch the last four episodes of each, with the exception of Lost - the first six shows of the season are accessible since the show went on break until next year.
These ABC episodes are streamed in cinema-like 16x9 formatting, and you can pause, rewind, fast forward between “chapters” within each episode. Unfortunately you cannot download the episodes, and it does-n’t let you skip over the advertisements. It’s not too bad, because the ads are short in comparison to the ones you see on actual TV.
Shortly after ABC launched its service, CBS Corporation followed suit with its announcement of innertube, an advertising-supported broadband channel that offers a range of free entertainment programming to you Internet users. You can view full episodes of the following CBS shows: 3 lbs., The Class, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY,
How I Met Your Mother, Jericho, NCIS, Numb3rs, The Papdits, Shark, Smith, Survivor and The Unit. In addition, there’s a ton of original innertube programming you can watch. I found that the pixel quality doesn’t look as good as the ABC shows, but there’s certainly more variety for you to view. As with ABC’s service, the shows are not downloadable, but can be viewed at www.cbs.com/innertube. It’s kind of strange because if you go to www.innertube.com, you’ll hit a tire company’s website, having nothing to do with CBS.
NBC jumped on the bandwagon earlier this month when it put Friday Night Lights (viewable until Jan. 3) and Heroes (until the show returns on-air) online at www.nbc.com. It looks like NBC is still experimenting with the service since some other episodes’two-minute replays are available to view as opposed to an entire episode.
Of the three, I prefer ABC because it has most of my favorite shows. Keeping “free” and not spending any money on TV in mind, this whole Internet TV thing works for me. For shows not available online, I still rely on my good ol’
PVR to catch those.
PlayStation3 Hope: For those of you still wishing for a Sony PlayStation3, Hawaiian Telcom is giving away two (one 20GB and one 60GB) for the holidays. If you’re a Hawaii resident age 18-plus you may enter online at http://hawaiiantel.com. Hawaiian Telcom also just announced last week it is the newest authorized Sony reseller in Hawaii with Sony products on hand at eight of the stores statewide.
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