Do Television Companies Understand the “New” Web?

Posted on June 20, 2006. Filed under: Reviews |

That should be the question they should be asking themselves. While technology evolves the TV Companies need to also. With Over the Air(OTA) High Definition(HD) broadcasts of network shows almost available everywhere, anyone can record HD broadcasts, and create their own On Demand system. They can even go to most of the Peer2Peer(P2P) services and download the episodes. So what are the Big 4(ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX) doing? Well I will go over it with you.

CBS has a few offerings available to fans, one way to access CBS content is via iTunes, where you will pay $1.99 per episode for CSI, CSI:New York, CSI:Miami, NCIS, Survivor, and Numb3rs. Which someone could record the same episodes, by using a digital antenna and a DVR or HD Tv Tuner card in their PC, which would save the $47.76 for 24 episodes of NCIS. For those soap opera and Big Brother fans out there, CBS offers you 6 different podcasts to cover your needs with their Netcast page. CBS also has a site called Innertube, where they offer limited original content and clips of popular shows. In my opinon, most of this is not really needed, however some people may like the Netcast info, or some people may like shelling out almost fifty dollars a season for popular shows. The ability to view the clips and Innertube are pretty straight forward and most people should not have a problem navigating their website.

NBC offers their popular shows on iTunes also. Shows such as Law and Order, The Office, The Apprentice and the Tonight Show just to name a few. NBC offers what they call Vintage NBC, where they offer classic NBC shows like the A-Team, and Knight Rider. To go along with their iTunes offerings, NBC offers short video clips of their shows. In my opinion, NBC doesn't offer much, it rough to pull up any of their videos from their website, and that should be streamlined.

Fox offers 4 current television series on iTunes, such as 24, Prison Break, and Stacked, Fox also offers classic shows such as Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A couple of strange omissions are the television shows called House and Family Guy, I thought they were pretty popular shows, it is a bit strange to be left off the iTunes list but oh well. Fox does offer the generic clips of their shows which in my opinion aren't very important. Like CBS, Fox offers podcasts about their shows, they call it Foxcast. They off a large selection of podcasts for their shows, while I did try to listen to some of the podcasts, I wasn't very impressed, but show fans may be interested in them.

ABC also has offerings on iTunes, from their popular series like Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Alias. ABC also offers shows from their sports division, and something I found kind of nostalgic, the old School House Rock shows. Still for those who want to purchase the episodes have at it. ABC actually offers full episodes for free on their website. You have to sit through what ABC calls limited commercials but you get to watch the full episode. As of this writing, ABC was offering the full seasons of Alias and Commander in Chief, with 5 episodes of Desperate Housewives and Lost, respectively. I'm sure there is a way to record these episodes since they are just viewed in a flash player, but I won't go there. ABC also offer a few official podcast of their shows in their download section.

After pulling up the networks websites and trying out their videos and podcasts, I do have to say that ABC has the best idea for their free videos with their limited commercials, episodes, while NBC probably has the worst website out of the 4. I really think the networks should be offering their series in an On Demand format, kind of like what ABC does right now, I know I won't get them for free and without commercials, but it would be nice, and the RSS feeds of Bit torrents of almost every single television show out there allows me to create my own On Demand format. That way of doing On Demand might not be legal, but if I had a way to watch series legally, even with commercials, I would do that. I usually work nights or second shift so my Prime Time viewing time is limited, I usually miss alot of episodes and would like to be able to view the episodes at my own pace. I hope this litte review, helps point some of you out there in the right direction.

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One Response to “Do Television Companies Understand the “New” Web?”

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It’s funny how fast things change. Already, all four companies offer free and virtually commercial free streams of their shows on their website, without downloading a thing. Only thing that sucks is Fox’s refusal to include any other OS besides XP/2000. That cuts out a huge chunk of the internet from seeing their advertisers.


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