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ABC Launches Full Episode Streaming 261

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-something-anyway dept.
Cjattwood writes "ABC.com has launched their free online episode streaming service earlier today. Shows available include Lost and Alias among others, and are available to watch for free, albeit with ads and commercials. It works pretty well so far, although no Linux support yet as it requires Flash 8." The first episode of Lost on there is a clip show. You can skip around to a segment of the show, but are forced through a commercial before you play. The quality is approximately what you would expect from flash video.
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ABC Launches Full Episode Streaming

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  • Flash 8 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zentagonist (944342) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:50PM (#15240281)
    ... When IS linux going to get Flash 8 anyway? Lack of it has been limiting my web-browsing ability for a little while now. Just curious. I saw this earlier today and really wanted to try it out. :-/
    • Not v8.0, v8.5... (Score:4, Informative)

      by antdude (79039) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:01PM (#15240408) Homepage Journal
      See this Macromedia forum post [adobe.com] from Digg story [digg.com]. Unfortunately, it is after Windows and Mac OS X releases. :(
    • Probably before Linux gets shockwave. Which looks like it's never. :(
    • Re:Flash 8 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aqua OS X (458522)
      I wouldn't be surprised to see a Linux player with the next release of Flash. Adobe releases linux / unix versions of Acrobat reader, they might do something similar for Flash player.
    • by Nazmun (590998)
      What the hell is that supposed to mean? The summary could have at least mentioned the codec used or the bit rate.
      • No clue, but my experiences are:

        Flash videos are usually pretty bad quality.

        Anything meant to stream in realtime over normal last-mile connections will be crap quality.
      • by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:45PM (#15241896)
        The summary could have at least mentioned the codec used or the bit rate.

        The codec is Flash video. It's Macromedia's/Adobe's own codec.

        The bit rate is unknowable unless ABC says what it is in a press release or elsewhere on the site. Maybe you could figure out a way to save one of these flv files and open it in a standalone player that'd tell you the bit rate. My guess is ABC is smart enough to have locked out that ability, though.

        "Flash Video Quality" is still basically meaningless, because Flash video can have whatever quality you give it. You can encode Flash video in HD if you want to; it'd be pretty pointless to do so because the whole point of Flash video is to stream, but you could do it if you wanted to.

        But omitting the codec or bit rate from the summary aren't really oversights - the codec is a given, the bit rate is just unknown.
        • by prockcore (543967)

          The codec is Flash video. It's Macromedia's/Adobe's own codec.


          No.. the codec used in FLV is one of two types:

          If it's flash6, it's H.263
          If it's flash8, it's On2's VP6.

          FLV is just a wrapper.. like Quicktime.
    • Lack of it has been limiting my web-browsing ability for a little while now

      Interesting! Lack of it has increased by web-browsing ability! Not to mention saving my eyesight!

  • US only (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mishotaki (957104) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:50PM (#15240283)
    damned... only viewers from the United States can watch those episodes :(
  • by Pausanias (681077) <<pausaniasx> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:51PM (#15240286)
    Only US viewers are allowed to watch... tsk tsk tsk.
  • Damn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15240301) Journal
    "Only viewers within the United States can watch these full length episodes."

    Or anyone with a list of US-based proxies, heh.
    • Re:Damn (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Saeger (456549)
      "Only viewers within the United States can watch these full length episodes."

      Or anyone with a list of US-based proxies, heh.

      Yeah - if you don't mind the higher latency (double the hops), waste of bandwidth, and setup hassle. lawl. I can see you've never tried streaming through some random non-logging proxy, or through Tor. Sure you can use it to streamrip a copy, but why bother at that point? Just torrent it.

  • With ad's? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... org minus distro> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15240304) Homepage
    With ad is? Or did the submitter mean "ads", as in more than one ad? We live in a world where text is becoming more and more ubiquitous... why are people so lazy about it?
    • Actually, it means we all belong to the ad. All hail the ad.
      • That explains a lot.

        See, I've always assumed that the universe is a gigantic (by our standards) computer simulation running on a machine in some much larger universe. The same sort of principle applies when you run something like Conway's Life.

        What I couldn't figure out is what use such a simulation would be, but now I have it -- it's a big ad for the computer that's simulating us. As we speak, there's somebody in a computer store in the REAL universe thinking something like, "well, those are interesting
  • Any predictions... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaHat (247651) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15240307) Homepage
    As to when someone will whip out an app to record these streams (perhaps even under Linux)?

    Shame they are so low res though... no doubt many will continue to use illicit means to see the shows in a much higher res.
  • United States Only (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhraudulentOne (217867) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:52PM (#15240308) Homepage Journal
    Only IPs from the United States can watch these movies. I actually pay for ABC on my TV, and I can't watch these. Doesn't anyone think of the canucks???? :P
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Doesn't anyone think of the canucks????
      No. No one thinks of Canada, positively or negatively. And, I suspect that is what pisses you off and gives you that inferiority complex.

      That said, I really miss Hockey Night in Canada & Don Cherry and a dollar buys a lot of entertainment in a Canadian strip bars.
  • Quality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sehryan (412731) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:54PM (#15240334)
    "The quality is approximately what you would expect from flash video."

    I am assuming this is a putdown on Flash video, being Slashdot and all. The ABC site is dragging ass, so I can't actually see the quality for myself. That being said...

    Flash video can encode as high a quality as any other encoder. Some of the stuff I have seen looks better than other encoders, and always results in amazingly small file size. Just this morning, I saw a 4 minute, 720x480 AVI go from 890MB to 15MB with virtually no loss in quality.

    If the quality is poor, blame the developer, not the tool.
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      You can get a full-length movie at DVD resolution on a single CD using DivX5 with very ilttle loss of quality as compared to a DVD. If you had four minutes at that res taking up more than a CD's worth, it was probably compressed with HuffYUV at best, and may have been full-frame uncompressed video.
      • You can get a full-length movie at DVD resolution on a single CD using DivX5 with very ilttle loss of quality as compared to a DVD. If you had four minutes at that res taking up more than a CD's worth, it was probably compressed with HuffYUV at best, and may have been full-frame uncompressed video.

        I think more important was the 15 MB for 4 minutes of video at near-DVD quality. At that rate, you could fit about 3 hours of video on a CD, which is comparable to other leading compression schemes.
    • I saw a 4 minute, 720x480 AVI go from 890MB to 15MB with virtually no loss in quality.
      You're absolutely right that the codec FLVs use is very capable, but this comparison is meaningless. Are you saying you made an FLV of an uncompressed AVI or one compressed with Divx? How much is "virtually no loss in quality"? In my experience I've found FLV to be pretty comparable to Divx or any of the other current high-compression video codecs.
    • If the quality is poor, blame the developer, not the tool.

      The format is probably from a single supplier, undocumented, with a closed license and patent and DRM encumbered.

      Any one of those would make it of poor quality as a video standard.

      It's not just the technical details that matter. It's the entire featureset, though vendor marketing 'droids try to pretend otherwise.

      Blame the tool, not the developer.

      ---

      DRM'ed content breaks the copyright bargain, the first sale doctrine and fair use provis

    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, it's probably in comparison to other flash video sites. Well, it would be, except this is better. When trying to switch to their "full screen" version, it warns me that I don't have an 850 kbps connection. (I was using download gandwidth elsewhere.) By the way, the "fullscreen" option just makes the video a bit bigger, and presumably higher quality. This isn't even like Google Video's "fullscreen" option, which stretches to window size. The size is fixed either way. That's the thing I hate about flash
    • Re:Quality (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bastian (66383) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:26PM (#15240602)
      I'll grant, my computer is three years old so it's not state-of-the-art, but it's certainly not ancient, and it was a pretty decent machine when I got it. Flash video sucks something fierce on it. I honestly don't care too much about the picture quality. What gets me is that for whatever reason the player is so inefficient that I can't keep the audio even remotely synced up. After playing something for about 30 seconds the video will trail the audio a good three or four seconds. Maybe when the player starts dropping frames to keep up I'll be interested in anything that uses Flash Video, but not before.
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Informative)

      by azav (469988)
      Flash uses a version of the On vp2 codec to the best of my knowledge.

      Other codecs can produce better if not as good quality at the same file sizes.
      Sorenson, (I'm not kidding)
      3ivx for creating platform independent MP4
      Apple's H.264
      And MPEG1 - for the size that the Flash movies were encoded

      Some of the above codecs are also VBR where you set your desired quality level and each frame is only as big as it needs to be. But alas, Flash is on most browsers. What I haven't seen are DVD sized flash videos or any of
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)
      Flash 8 video is in fact a modified version of On2 technology's VP6 encoder. You may know about On2 because their previous-generation VP3 encoder was "donated" to the open-source community and became what we now know as Ogg Theora.

      VP6 is roghly on par with Windows Media 9, H.264, or XVID - definitely a step above MPEG2 or other older codecs.
  • Unrated Editions? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:55PM (#15240341) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure many of you have noticed that movies now get edited down to PG-13 ratings for theatres and then get bumped back to R levels on the unrated DVD releases. I wonder how long it will be before a network (Fox?) does the same thing. See our shows free on TV, or pay a little for the streaming unrated version of American Dad. Or, better yet, Trippin' the Rift.
  • by antdude (79039) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:57PM (#15240365) Homepage Journal
    ... you can get around that with proxies according to Digg [digg.com] (also here [digg.com]). This project is only up for at least a two-month trial period. Full screen is not possible, but there are two different sizes and the quality is excellent (not HDTV quality) on a fast Internet connection at my workplace.

    Don't forget to leave feedbacks [go.com] for ABC on this project! Let them know what you think of it! It is also missing two of my other TV shows (Invasion [go.com] and Grey's Anatomy [go.com]). So, I left a request and a positive comment for ABC via its feedback.

    I wonder if there is a way to set the Flash video to fullscreen onto my TV as a video overlay? I do this with Windows' Media Players, VideoLAN Client Media Player [videolan.org], DVD players, etc. I don't have to set the players to fullscreen, just the video out.
  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:59PM (#15240390)
    Now, all they need is something good to watch.
    • If you're a geek... (Score:3, Informative)

      by antdude (79039)
      ... then watch Alias [go.com]. Marshall rocks as a computer/technical geek and is funny. :) He even uses Linux, KDE, XMMS, and xmame in the show as shown here [sd-1.net] and here [manyhighways.com] (screen captures!). ;)
      • "Marshall rocks as a computer/technical geek and is funny."

        Jack Bauer used his PDA to set off a suicide bomber's jacket bomb. It doesn't get more awesome than that. And Jack Bauer doesn't need the crutch of humor to hide his ineptitude. While this Marshall guy is customizing the side margin in his xterm, Jack Buer is kicking in terrorist skull. Need I say more?
      • Marshall rocks as a computer/technical geek and is funny. :) He even uses Linux, KDE, XMMS, and xmame. . .

        Call me back when we get a bash script and cdplay. Until then he's just poser.

        KFG
  • by Se7enLC (714730) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:59PM (#15240391) Homepage Journal

    Didn't Apple make a big deal about offering episodes of Lost on their iTunes Video/Music store?

    I can't imagine they will be very happy with ABC direct-releasing similarly-poor-quality videos for free. I smell another frivolous lawsuit...
    • by saddino (183491) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:07PM (#15240457)
      Apple is likely aware of it, and probably not concerned a whit:

      The versions on iTMS are pay once, own forever (not streaming).
      The versions on iTMS are ad free.

      For $1.99, I'd rather get Lost on iTMS and pipe it to my TV from my iPod.

      • For $1.99 x Large Number of Episodes, wouldn't you rather buy the DVD?

        I'm imagining that the people who want to pay money for tiny-resolution video are doing it because they either lack the technology to just record it themselves (since ABC is free over-the-air and available on US cable/satellite) or missed an episode accidentally. Why pay $1.99 for a poor-quality video when you can pay $Free? I find it hard to believe that there are very many people who use iTMS exclusively instead of their television or c
    • Didn't Apple make a big deal about offering episodes of Lost on their iTunes Video/Music store?
      I can't imagine they will be very happy with ABC direct-releasing similarly-poor-quality videos for free. I smell another frivolous lawsuit...

      Well, that'd be an interesting lawsuit, since Apple's CEO is on the board of ABC's parent company now.

  • Is there something I'm missing or is there no full screen for these shows? There's a higher resolution image option but it doesn't go very full at all. I'm really trying to be good and not download the "other" versions of these shows but if I can't even watch the show at a decent size on my TV, these streams are near useless to me. I guess I'll just stick to my Head of the Class reruns on IN2TV. At least their full screen is bareable.
    • Digg users and I didn't see an option. I would like a way to put this fullscreen on my TV as a video overlay, but Flash doesn't allow that. :(
      • I Dunno what you mean about video overlay, you mean the hardware video overlay? But you can bring up your web browser in fullscreen mode displaying a SWF, which will (in the absence of controls to prevent it) automatically resize itself to fill your browser window. If that fills the screen, then bingo! You've got fullscreen.
        • I wasn't able to find the SWF URL. Did you?
          • No, I haven't looked, for two reasons.

            First, I only have broadband at work, so I can't watch this stuff there anyway. (The only broadband I might be able to get where I live is Satellite.)

            Second, if I had broadband at home, I'd just bittorrent this stuff anyway. At least, anything I wanted to watch. About the only things on American television today that I'm even interested in watching are the world rally championship, the JGTC, the FIA GT, 24, and Lost. All of those are torrentable.

            Everything els

      • What graphics card do you have? I know with nvidia card+recent drivers, the ability to send overlay to second monitor/tv fullscreen can be set in it's own control panel to apply automatically, whether the player has options for it or not (as long as the player outputs to an overlay - I don't know if this is the case for Flash).

    • Well, you could always use Opera and Zoom. ;) But that seems to be too resource intensive for me.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:02PM (#15240417)

    ABC.com has launched their free online episode streaming service earlier today. Shows available include Lost and Alias among others, and are available to watch for free, albeit with ad's and commercials.

    I've always wondered about sites like this, or YouTube, or Google Video, or any of the other seriously massive media streaming sites.

    How the hell do they do it?

    Seems to me like you'd have to have Bandwidth Of The Gods(tm) in order to pull it off. Multicast isn't really working on the internet proper. So how the hell does a site like this manage it? If you have thousands upon thousands of people hooking up...a lot of them at cablemodem speeds, how does the pipe deliver?

    I know that these sites do, in fact have massive bandwidth. But it just seems to me that hundreds of thousands of people wanting hours of video thorough mutliple unicast would be enough to choke pretty much anything that's not on Internet2.

    How the hell do they manage it? Is there some sort of Voodoo that I'm missing?

    • by iammaxus (683241) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:25PM (#15240590)

      The answer is probably that it just isn't as it seems. Even using some big numbers and assumptions, its not as bad as it seems. If the site sends 10 million users 50 MB of data each and spreads it out over a whole day, it comes to about 5.5 GBps continuously. Taking a look at this map [nthelp.com], there are plenty of cities that offer that kind of bandwidth, and this is only one network (admittedly, the largest), and of course, the servers could (and almost certainly are) spread out over several locations. Further, the number of servers required is not great considering it is not unreasonable for a high end server to achieve 100's of MBps when serving static data like this. Of course, all these numbers are probably pretty far off (in reality, I'm sure the number of servers required scales terribly as you start to spend a lot of resources on load balancing and the fact that some sites serve huge libraries of content), but my point is that it is certainly reasonable.

      That said, you do still bring up an interesting issue: even though these sites are certainly technically feasible, they are certainly extremely expensive (Go ask Worldcom how much they'd like to buy all of there connections to Los Angeles...). Unless we are reentering dot com days, Google, YouTube and there ilk must be expecting to make some serious ROI soon.

      • hmm load balancing at this level (ie, static content) isn't actually too tricky. Simplest is doing it using standard DNS rotation, although you get no "from server nearest you" bias when having a server picked for you. Next up is a DNS server which keeps track of bandwidth used by each of the servers, uses this along with knowledge of which is closest to you, to decide which one to send you to. Even without DNS this can be done using subdomains, where, for example, the file which points to the video is crea
      • by bizard (691544) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:27PM (#15241810)
        Actually, that is just a good example of people being very sloppy with their notation. You are correct in your calculations, but hide the units in GBps...GigaBYTES per second. Multiplying your number by 8 results in 48Gbps...GigaBits, which is far beyond even the fattest pipe between NY and Chicago on that map (at 10Gbps).

        Additionally, you are assuming that people would all watch at discreet intervals without overlapping too much and that nobody else would be using the Internet for any other purpose. In reality, there will already be a high traffic load and people will want the video in clumps. It is why people like Apple are offering downloadable video and not streaming. That way if it takes 2 hours to download a 1 hour show, at least you didn't have to sit through all of the pauses

        Finally, a 45 minute show off of iTunes currently runs about 200MB at about 670Kbps. That 10Gb pipe would max out at far fewer than 20,000 streams.

    • by ameoba (173803) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:30PM (#15240640)
      They probably use something like Akamai [akamai.com]'s network of distributed content servers. I'm fuzzy on the exact details but they basically set up caches/mirrors at 'edge' points of the network and use DNS voodoo to make sure you connect to the 'closest' server, transparent to the end user.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      From what I understand (inside source), Limelight Networks (www.llnw.net) is carrying this. When starting a stream, one or more connections were created to IP's on their network. It seems they're in the CDN (content delivery network) business.
    • Akamai (or something simular).

      Basically, the content is distributed across MANY servers and the content is accessed by DNS to reference the server "pool".
    • There are two major components that make ABC's video offering possible:

      1) Adobe Flash Media Server [adobe.com], aka FMS. Streams Flash movies over HTTP, but does so in a "smart" manner so that video degrades based on the performance of the client and of the pipe.

      2) Akamai [akamai.com], which hosts thousands of geographically dispersed servers across the world. Akamai licenses Flash Media Server and hosts it on thousands of "edge" servers, which basically cache the most popular videos and stream them out from the most efficient lo
  • US only (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mike Peel (885855) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:05PM (#15240435) Homepage
    "Only viewers within the United States can watch these full-length episodes"

    I'm being discriminated against, just because I'm in a different country! That's geographicist, that is! Can I sue?
  • by iammaxus (683241) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:06PM (#15240448)
    Is anyone else surprised at how Flash has become the new standard for video distribution? Google Video, YouTube, etc all use Flash for displaying video, mainly, i think, to reach the widest segment of the population. I wonder if Macromedia itself ever predicted that Flash's wide availability would become its selling point for streaming video. I think this is a bad trend because it is hiding more and more of the content from the browser. I would have liked to see W3C specify some formats and controls for video that browsers should support. Instead, multimedia on the web is taking browsers towards just being an extra frame around a Flash frame. W3C: We all like focus on the semantic web stuff, but you gotta get with times and get multimedia standardized too. SVG is just a small step in that direction.
    • mainly, i think, to reach the widest segment of the population.

      I disagree.

      The priorities are:
      #1: Control use of content.
      #2: Reach the widest possible audience given #1.

      There are already plenty of available formats and players both free (common) and DRM (controlled). Having a client that is both common *and* controlled (at least to the degree of not allowing local storage) is new. Other formats (like Real) have failed more because they've completely ignored all customer concerns (by becoming adware/spywar
    • by calstraycat (320736) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:19PM (#15242696)
      Is anyone else surprised at how Flash has become the new standard for video distribution?

      For ten years MS, Apple and Real have been fighting to make their proprietary streaming solutions the default for the internet. They have failed and I'm glad.

      I'm no fan of Flash, but I'm sick to death of having to have all three of these media players installed. I'm sick of having to update them all time. I'm sick of browser plugins that don't work. I'm sick of content that will only work with WMP on Windows. I'm sick of having to "choose a player" when I visit a site, asking my connection speed, asking me to register for premium content and on and on.

      And I'm not alone. You're average user doesn't want to and often doesn't know how to download, update and install this stuff. They don't know what number to type when it asks them about connection speed. Content providers are sick of it, too. They are inundated with constant complaints and support emails from people who can't see the video. So, the said "screw you Apple, screw you MS, screw you Real, were gonna use Flash".

      And the kids love it. They type "YouTube" into Yahoo search and click the Play button on their favorite video. No fuss. No muss. Nothing to download. Instant gratification. The kids don't give two shits about the quality. It's simple and it works.

      That's why Flash is the new standard in video streaming.
  • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:08PM (#15240474) Journal
    The submitted text:
    "it requires Flash 8"

    Cmdr Taco's value-add comment:
    "The quality is approximately what you would expect from flash video."

    It's actually exactly what you'd expect from Flash video, because it is Flash video. That being said, what quality would you expect? I bet it differs quite a bit based on the datarate you encode it at... Perhaps he's saying it's similar in quality to YouTube or Google Video? (We only give you a hard time because we imagine that you have one of the best jobs in the world, so don't take it personally, Taco.)

    For people asking about Linux versions of Flash 8 - they've had a separate team working on Flash 9 for quite a while and it's set to be released later this year (it includes significant changes for performance improvement, was in development to some extent in parallel with Flash 8) - and from what I understand as a casual obsverver they're going to release a Flash 9 player for Linux and just skip 8 entirely. This is in part because it's only relativly recently that they've added dedicated Linux staff, and in part beacuse this is the fastest switch between versions (8 to 9) that I can recall, anyway.

      The hope is that Linux release will be simultaneous with the Mac/Windows launch, but I don't know if anyone's commited to that yet - or if it's just idle hope.

  • When I try to stream, I get a message that I may have problems because my bandwidth appears to be below 500kbps.

    That's news to me, and would probably be news to Comcast. And considering the last torrent I downloaded (last night) came in at closer to 500KBps(4000kbps), I'd be willing to make a bet whose bandwidth is less than 500kbps.
  • interactive ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by athena_wiles (967508) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:13PM (#15240505)
    Hm. Nobody's mentioned this yet, but the flash format enables them to put interactive ads into the episodes. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm much more likely to respond to an ad if I can click on things & choose what extra information I want instead of having an ad lecture at me... When things are interactive I find I invariably spend more time playing with them, too :-)

    Think this could make a difference in the overall effectiveness of their ads? Just curious...
  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:16PM (#15240522)
    People wouldn't be so adverse to the commercials if they weren't so god damn annoying.. and depressing, and all of those commercials that try to make the viewer feel guilty about something ie. Losing your hair you sad old man? too much fat around your waist fatso?? can't get your penis standing tall??? all the anti-smoking ads showing old and dying people talking like robots, drunk driving ads to make you feel ashamed about havin a little fun, anti-drug ads to make parents feel guilty about their teenage sons smoking some pot (you're an irresponsible parent! gimme a break eh)...

    then all those god damn pharma-ads with warnings about the side-effects that cause erectile dysfunction/bladder control issues/possibility of stroke and heart attack.. nursing mothers shouldn't inhale this stuff/etc etc ..

    TV is a fucking mess lol.

    Try this for a commercial you network bitches, I might even watch it.

    "Hi, I'm Jake and I'd like you to try our new shampoo. it works well and controls dandruff" -> camera closeup on shampoo bottle.

    End of commercial. thank you very fucking much.
  • by j2crux (969051)
    Is this a trial period? Or did I miss the disclaimer?
  • Doh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by fm6 (162816) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:44PM (#15240763) Homepage Journal
    So when is Fox going to get with it? There seems to be a hill or something between me and the local Fox station, and I'm not going to get cable just to watch the Simpsons.
  • Quality (Score:3, Informative)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:49PM (#15240795)
    "The quality is approximately what you would expect from flash video."

    That's actually very misleading. Flash 8 includes a new codec which is considered among the best for online video streaming (and video in general): On2's VP6. It's a fully featured decoder also with deringing, deblocking and so on filters that enhance the quality of the decoded image.

    If the quality is crappy it was a deliberate choice of ABC to keep the bitrate low for whatever reasons, or using bad encoders (which I doubt, but how can I know).

    If there's one thing, Flash doesn't have a native full screen mode, which for a streaming TV show is kinda a bummer...
  • It works on linux just fine, I just watched a bit of this week's episode of Alias. Install wine, install the windows version firefox under wine, and then install the flash 8.5 beta [adobe.com] also under wine. It runs perfectly after that.
  • Wow. Smooth, fast, works on OSX, little to complain about.
    Beats Google video by a mile. Well done.
    This is hands down the best no-direct-cost online video experience to date.
    Maybe now I can comprehend Lost, which I didn't find out about until it was too late to backfill.
  • I was excited when I first heard about this. I have heard great things about Lost and have wanted to start watching. Of course, being a netflix subscribe I completely reject the idea of starting a TV show in the middle. I was hoping that this would mean that I could watch Lost from episode 1 onwards. I don't mind sitting through commercials, I just want to see the story in order. Perhaps I am simply missing the right button, but as far as I can tell I can only watch last weeks episode.

    WTF is wrong with
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday May 01, 2006 @05:43PM (#15241148)
    Aw, count me out then - I can handle one or the other, but not both!
  • by mbius (890083) on Monday May 01, 2006 @05:52PM (#15241216) Journal
    I fired up LOST just to see how they'd handle the advertising...first 30-second Tylenol plug is 9 minutes in. Then you click to keep watching.

    The blue stripes on the progress bar tell you where the commercials are. The others are at 15:25, 24:15 (in a 43 minute program, and you aren't goosed with another one at the end!). You can seek anywhere that's been "unlocked."

    Having to click "resume show" after every commercial is a feature I'd like to see "LOST." By clicking in unlocked sections, you can watch all 3 commercials in succession , then have an uninterrupted show.

    You aren't forced to sit through more than 30 seconds of an ad if it runs over.
    Compared to the 7-min-on, 3-off network standard, it's kind of pleasant. And seeking *works*, seamlessly, in contrast to what I've come to expect with flash video.

    • You've got 17-18 minutes of commercials to fill up in an hour of television.

      For hour long network shows, the commercial segments are 3:30 on the quarter hours and 4:30 on the half hour nowadays. You also get a 3:30 after the bumper. Pad all of those with 5-seconds of "Stay tuned for news at 9!" The remaining ~3:00 minutes gets you previews, network notifications (Stay tuned for a new Episode of FOOBAR!) and between-show commercials.

      A few shows have some liberties with this. The Sheild, which in first ru
  • by Quash (793610) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:26PM (#15242717)
    It's easy. 1) install Wine 2) install Windows 32 Firefox via Wine 3) install Flash 8 and Java plugins via Win32 Firefox. Hell, install Shockwave while you're at it, too. Watch the ABC Stream. If you're outside the U.S., simply go through a U.S. Proxy (see other posts on this thread or do a quick Google search). So, Linux users outside the U.S., like me, can access these streams. Enjoy! Quash

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