Monday, April 10

ABC starts to "get" digital delivery

In the linked article from Macworld (below), ABC's decision to stream TV shows is announced. Finally, an American network gets the concept of digital delivery and time-shifting! The BBC has been doing this for quite a while (for radio, anyway): shows on all its radio networks are available to be streamed via RealPlayer for one week after their initial broadcast.

If ABC did something like that, it would be tremendous. They can even leave the ads in; I wouldn't care. Their test plan seems to consist of making television episodes available via Flash streams during May and June of this year. No mention is made of which episodes will be available, or how long each will be accessible online, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Shows to be aired this way will include Commander in Chief, Desperate Housewives, Lost, and the whole last season of Alias. I'll definitely check some of these out once they've been put online. However, this still puts ABC behind the times... the BBC recently started podcasting new episodes of The Now Show, with a license that allows then to be downloaded for up to seven days after the broadcast and then stored in perpetuity provided they are only used for personal entertainment.

BBC has podcasted a number of shows in the past, including Radio 4's Today program(me?), but The Now Show is the first entertainment offering they've made downloadable. The significance of this, of course, is that the show will be portable. I can listen to a downloaded MP3 via my iPod nano while working out, washing dishes, or even driving. RealAudio streams are nowhere near that flexible.

In a perfect world (at least, in my perfect world), all radio and television content would be available for download and on-demand consumption. I don't care if they contain ads, or even the time period following on-air broadcast during which downloading is permitted. As long as I have the ability to listen/watch on my own schedule rather than following the strictures of network execs who decide when programs hit the airwaves, I'll be happy.

ABC takes shows online for free, with ads - Macworld

1 comment:

Harry J. Sachz said...

I've actually heard alot about this... Moving all entertainment to the internet is such a great idea... I'm so excited about watching video podcasts about existing shows, that I've actually paid money for products that they've advertised!.. I never thought the day would come that an advertisement persuaded me to purchase something...

However, the alternatives (mythtv and the like) still allow the typical user to stream downloaded video, music and recorded tv over a broadband connecksheown... So it'll be a while before I invest even more money into 'cable television'

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