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Are You Watching Television Online?

Neil Kjeldsen of TechCrush discusses “Download Your TV” and offers a variety of options for watching and downloading television on the net.

Downloadable television, first made popular by Tivo and its competitors, is compelling stuff. As consumers become accustomed to watching a show whenever they choose, pausing at will and fast tracking through commercials, tuning in to a station at a scheduled broadcast time seems quaint at best. Today, 7% of U.S. households have a digital video recorder, or DVR and most cable companies offer a DVR as an option.

File trading networks, such as bittorent, are also extremely popular (if sometimes illegal) choices for consumers wanting access to time-shifted television content.

While DVRs are great, content producers and distributors are less than thrilled by the loss in revenue from all those skipped commercials. Also, DVR’d shows cannot be easily transferred to mobile devices or otherwise viewed away from their home television. Some consumers want more flexibility and options.

The article continues with some history and variety of resources for finding television on the Internet, but I thought I’d ask. I’ve seen blog posts about how many people are now turning to YouTube for their visual entertainment, using it even more often than their televisions as online videos are increasingly entertaining, well done, and offered as a series. I also know many are watching vblogs (vlogs or video blogs) on a regular basis.

What do you think? Do you watch television online? How? Do you pay or watch for free?

Or do you find yourself watching less of the boob tube and more online videos instead? Do you have favorite vblogs? Which ones?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

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  1. Posted December 3, 2006 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    This will sound very pathetic but my housemate left and took his TV along – so we were left without the idiot box and I haven’t been watching TV since , like forever 😦 *so sad

  2. Posted December 3, 2006 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    I watch all my TV via the Internet. I’m temporarily without TV service, so it is a necessity. But even when I had full cable service, I watched the shows over the Internet. It’s just more convenient. If a service like iTunes offered the shows in high def without silly DRM restrictions, I’d be all over that.

  3. Posted December 3, 2006 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I use InnerTube with CBS shows to watch some of the shows I normally Tivo. I’ve watched a few ABC shows, but those tended to crap out as I was watching.

    We’re a two TiVo household. But we rarely watch shows “live.”

  4. Posted December 3, 2006 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Hmm…in our household TV watching is always a group activity. Watching it on PC or laptop is not much fun. Although my wife and I often watch movies on my laptop but we are happier watching them on our TV. May be if we get faster connectivity then I’ll have a different opinion.

  5. Posted December 3, 2006 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Mark: Through what media/site or whatever do you watch all your television programs?

    I’ve been traveling so much this past year, that the only television I watch are in airports and hotels, and trust me, it’s not even worth watching. The rest, as I’m still catching up with American television after a 5 year absence, is downloaded from P2P networks.

    Another question. If you are watching television online, or downloading it, what are you watching? What shows, movies, or other types of entertaining are you watching?

  6. Mark
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, I work for a cable company and almost everything we talk about regarding the future of cable comes back to IPTV and multicasting. So that is where the industry is headed for sure and all the big players are gearing up for the required massive increase in bandwidth. Also, fiber to the home is going to become so much more crucial to the survival of the cable company as we know it.

  7. Posted December 3, 2006 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I only use the TV for sports (well, and Mythbusters), but what’s available on US TV is fairly limited. I therefore watch a lot of TV on both download and live streaming, specifically for rugby and cricket. Thank you Mediazone and Willow TV. I’m looking for someone hosting Aussie Rules now that Fox Sports World has become Fox Soccer Channel.

    Some of this I could get on Dish, but our apartment is inconveniently aligned and we can’t get it.

    As someone who spends a lot of time in different parts of the world, I’m looking forward to the day when all TV companies broadcast over the Internet. Slingbox is interesting, but you need somewhere to host the base in each country.

  8. Posted December 3, 2006 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Not legally. 🙂

    I don’t have cable, and it’s pretty amazing how you can download Div-X HD rips that are *better* than cable TV quality using bittorrent. Quite often you can get an entire season of a series as one download (if you don’t mind waiting for the season to complete).

    Then I just burn it on to a blank DVD, and stick it into my DVD player that supports Div-X.

    I’ve had fun with old British TV series that I would have never shelled out the cash for.

    It’s pretty interesting too that you can get an entire season onto one DVD instead of the 4-6 that would be in the boxed set, so it’s a lot less hassle if you want to burn a season of a show you want to show off to friends.

  9. Posted December 3, 2006 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I just hooked up my TV to the Internet and got a wireless mouse and keyboard. Now we can watch shows over the Internet through the TV and kick it on the couch. It is pretty cool. We have not had cable and now don’t need it. Not only watching ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, but also a healthy dose of YouTube. It is great!

    I also watch videos on my pocket PC (ipaq) on the bus. I mostly watch videobloggers. I also have my own videoblog.

    I watch so much video on the internet that I thought I would make a new blog highlighting the best of the video web. I designed each post as a “30 minute Show”, where all the clips add up to a half an hour. Instead of having one 30 minute long video, I have the idea of a blog post with embedded clips that all add up to a half an hour.

    Anyway, check it otu of you want.

  10. Posted December 3, 2006 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I live in London, England.

    There is more high-quality TV available through just the regular networks than I can possibly watch. So going out of my way to watch online is a rarity.

    Mostly it’s confined to a few special things that were either not available on the channels I have, or that I missed,. Then I might watch something online if it’s available free and legally.

  11. Posted December 3, 2006 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I have been without a regular TV for 17 years now, surviving on just videos and now DVD’s, especially “Complete Season #” Boxsets. I also watch a few odds and ends online but after trying some P2P and bittorrent I have given up.

  12. me
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    If it’s not on free over the airwaves TV or youtube I don’t watch it. Won’t ever ever as in never pay for TV. Nope. Not on anyone’s life.

    Thank goodness for youtube or I’d never see the Colbert report. 🙂

  13. Posted December 4, 2006 at 4:35 am | Permalink


    I get episodes via a number of BitTorrent distribution sites. EZTV, MiniNova, etc. With some work, I could set up Democracy to automatically download new episodes, but for now, I’m manually doing it.

    I watch more shows than I should. Right now I’m into Prison Break, Scrubs, The Shield, Rescue Me, just to list a few. I also enjoyed that UK Channel 4 series “The IT Crowd” while it was on. Via Boing Boing, I hear it’s coming to NBC in the US… yay!

  14. Posted December 4, 2006 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I was living in Spain a while ago … so I (illegally) used BitTorrent to get hold of the latest 24, Lost, Prison Break and My Name Is Earl (oh and Family Guy!)

    If there were a way to pay for it – I would … but being outside the USA, there’s no alternative! 😦

  15. Pj Germain
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I still watch TV on the set. My surround sound has the PC beat (at present.) But, I can see where the two will be indistinguishable in the future.

  16. Posted July 2, 2007 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Well you can try , maybe worth of a review Lorelle! But I know if you have Windows XP and you install windows media player (it’s default isn’t?) then you can watch some of the channels there. They have Fox 5 and sci fi but the rest are big news channels or just some independent stuff. But there’s a bit of selection it works and hey its free. So I’ve been watching a bit of stuff from there, on fox 5 you can catch simpsons, everyone loves raymond and seinfeld and stuff. So I guess my computer is replacing my tv.

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