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Battlestar Galactica Available for Download 357

blankgm writes "The SciFi channel has made Episode '33' (Season 1 Episode 1) of Battlestar Galactica available for free, uncut and commercial free, online at SciFi.com. Also available are deleted scenes from the series. Is this a ploy by the SciFi channel to grow a viewer base as well as loyalty, or an extremely bold move since the series isn't even out on DVD yet? Hopefully it's both. In either case, I believe this is unprecedented, especially since season 1 hasn't even concluded here in the states. Bravo SciFi. Keep 'em coming!"
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Battlestar Galactica Available for Download

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  • For download? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:04PM (#11787218)
    Looks awfully like streaming to me...
    • Re:For download? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:10PM (#11787268)
      Seriously. BG doesn't air where i live, and i keep hearing about how good the show is - so the idea of watching it for free and legally appealed to me a lot. I hate RealMedia with passion though.

      This is still a remarkable thing - i just hoped it was something i could watch outside a tiny window.
      • Re:For download? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by luna69 ( 529007 ) *
        Perhaps I'm confused, but it's my understanding that it's NOT specifically illegal to record, and trade, television shows, provided that no money changes hands. There is a difference between selling TV shows (which would clearly be illegal) and sharing recordings (which is akin to recording a show on your VCR and letting a friend borrow/copy the tape).

        I managed to grab the whole series, through ep.13, from a torrent sharing site. Watched every single one of them on a single sunday several weeks back.

        And p
        • Ohh, goodie! I really liked Firefly...

          I'll download it off BT if that's the case - i'm no saint, and i have downloaded/download my fair share off BT/P2P, but i end up buying what i like. What i've seen / readed about BG so far sounds extremely promising.
        • Re:For download? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:53PM (#11787550)
          Perhaps I'm confused, but it's my understanding that it's NOT specifically illegal to record, and trade, television shows, provided that no money changes hands.

          Yes, you are confused. It's not specifically illegal, but dipping babies in vats of liquid mercury isn't specifically illegal either. One is a kind of copyright infringement, and the other is a kind of murder, and those two things are illegal.

          Whether you earn money directly is irrelevant, theoretically. (Exchanging cash money isn't really a factor for many definitions of criminality- besides prostitution). Practically, the exchange of money creates further legal jeopardy, because it leaves an undeniable trail of evidence, and the appearance of greed will make a jury less sympathetic to you.

          Even recording for your own use is a copyright infringement, except that it has been found to be a permissible Fair Use. However, if you watch it more than once, that's illegal again.

          and sharing recordings (which is akin to recording a show on your VCR and letting a friend borrow/copy the tape).

          Lending a VHS tape to a friend is illegal too, although it's such a minor offense that no one would bother to press charges. Because it's a slow process of physical transmission, you are unable to commit nearly as many illegal acts as a megabit P2P operation can. Digital data transmission renders the infringement fast enough to endanger the TV-advertising revenue model.
          • Re:For download? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by luna69 ( 529007 ) * on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:06PM (#11787647)
            Well, provided that you are correct, then I'm going to have to say that I don't give a rat's ass.

            My recording/watching/sharing of media that has already been shown publicly is NOT the same thing as "dipping babies in vats of liquid mercury", as is abundantly clear. These shows are offered to anyone with the hardware to view them. If my recording of a television show is "fair use", then watching a downloaded copy and recording the original myself and then watching it are the same thing with the exception of who did the recording. And regardless of what the law specifically says, I say it's entirely fair and will act accordingly.

            And before you go talking about avoiding commercials, let me ask you: if the downloaded copies of these retained the original commercials, would it matter to you (or the law)? No? Then it's a bogus issue.

            I'm not going into a movie theatre and taping a movie, I'm watching shows recorded from what are essentially freely available transmissions. And copyright lawyers aside, I'll keep doing so, with a clean conscience.
          • Re:For download? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rbanffy ( 584143 )

            dipping babies in vats of liquid mercury isn't specifically illegal either

            They will probably float. It should be quite impossible to drown in liquid mercury. I am not sure what other side effects may arise ;-)

            • Re:For download? (Score:2, Informative)

              by MindStalker ( 22827 )
              The problem with liquid mercury is that even a quick dip fills up your skin pours and this your skin can't breath. Death quickly follows this.
              • The problem with liquid mercury is that even a quick dip fills up your skin pours and this your skin can't breath. Death quickly follows this.

                Um, no. Your skin does not need to breathe. Only insects get oxygen through their skin. (For lack of a better term.) If this were true, you'd die any time you went swimming.

                Urban legends page: http://www.snopes.com/movies/films/goldfing.htm

              • Re:For download? (Score:2, Informative)

                by TheGuano ( 851573 )
                Bullshit. While direct exposure to Merc is not good for you in any sense, old issues of NatGeo have pictures of people handling liquid mercury (and even a photo of an ore miner sitting on top of a pool of liquid mercury - it's that dense). Mercury doesn't "fill your pores" - it's very cohesive and your hand is dry when you lift it out of a pool.
          • Re:For download? (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by Tassach ( 137772 )
            Lending a VHS tape to a friend is illegal too,
            Bullshit. It's fair use.

            In your twisted view of reality, libraries would be illegal.

          • Re:For download? (Score:3, Informative)

            Even recording for your own use is a copyright infringement, except that it has been found to be a permissible Fair Use. However, if you watch it more than once, that's illegal again.

            No. Where the hell are you getting this, anyway? Private performance is not part of copyright; you can do it as much as you want.

            So if you lawfully record it, i.e. if the infringing recording is noninfringing per fair use, then watch it all you like. (Of course, watching it a lot might indicate that it was a commercial subst
          • Re:For download? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by neurojab ( 15737 )
            Even recording for your own use is a copyright infringement, except that it has been found to be a permissible Fair Use.

            Copyright is about restricting the right to copy works of art. Recording telivision shows for home use was judged to NOT infringe on copyright by the supreme court in 1984 (sony vs Universal Studios).

            However, if you watch it more than once, that's illegal again.

            What? If I have a copy that I legally obtained, where in copyright law does it state that I can't view it multiple times?
      • Re:For download? (Score:5, Informative)

        by chronicon ( 625367 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:45PM (#11787504) Homepage
        If you hate RealPlayer for the ads, get the "crap-free" BBC version. This blog entry [oreillynet.com] has the details.

        Or just jump over to the BBC now and get it:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/audiohelp_install.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

        Available for Linux, Mac, Solaris, and Windows. Enjoy ad-free RealPlayer today! ;-)

      • I strongly dislike Real Player too. Especially after accidently installing that Google toolbar I think. So I finally uninstalled it.

        http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/06/153525 0&from=rss [slashdot.org] concerning MXF would be nice. How that would work with current players, I don't know, but maybe someone could explain it to me.
      • at least Real works on linux (most of the time). compare that to Windows Media, iTunes protected AAC, Quicktime, liquid audio, or a host of other formats for which there is no (and will never be any) official linux support.

        i find it interesting that its been over 1 year since the annoucement that Microsoft would support WMA on Linux, and nothing has come of it since. To quote Shakespeare, "and lastly, they are lying knaves.".
        • I have never had a problem playing windows media, aac, or quicktime files in Linux.

          In fact, most the trouble I've had has come from Real Media files.
    • Could have sworn that this was posted here at Slashdot a few days ago.

      Nah, couldn't have been. Must have read that somewhere else. The crack squad of editors here at Slashdot wouldn't let something slip through the cracks and be posted twice...right?

    • Re:For download? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ecloud ( 3022 )
      Well has anybody ripped and mirrored this yet?
    • Re:For download? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Linuxathome ( 242573 )
      In linux, download with:
      mplayer -dumpstream <.rm file>
      File will be saved as "stream.dump".

      I believe you can also install mplayer-plugin [sourceforge.net] for mozilla and have a setting to save all temporary file streams...here it is, use the option "keep-download=1" [sourceforge.net].
  • Dupe (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    CowboyNeal? More like CowboyDupe! [slashdot.org]
  • Nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:05PM (#11787233)
    Way to go SciFi Channel!

    Now just go ahead and buy Enterprise and I will love you!
    • Re:Nice (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheKidWho ( 705796 )
      Too bad its only 15fps... Otherwise it would be perfect.
    • Please, let Enterprise die an honorable death, and I will love you more!

      The worst thing I felt was wrong with Enterprise was the unneccessary trip down time-travel lane... SciFi just can't seem to leave that plot device alone, and it corrupts many more stories than it helps. You start out Enterprise with this great start to a story (human kind just learning warp travel, the universe is open!), and years of canon material, and what do they do? Introduce a time-travelling war between two factions barely m
      • by minairia ( 608427 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @04:57PM (#11789059)
        (If you haven't seen this season's episodes of BSG or Enterprise up until last week, SPOILER ALERT ... )

        I agree, I love how the writers on BSG have done things. I felt a cold fear when they loaded that Boxy kid on the ship during the initial mini-series. However, when he turned up again as Starbuck's sidekick, instead of sugary cute and vulnerable he was a greasy, angry, pissed off cynical asshole. Nice. His best line was when Commander Ty asked where is mother and father were, and Boxy answers, "Dead." Also so far, and I pray never, no stupid robot dog.

        I like the humanistic way the characters do things, as when Starbuck was lost and Ademna just refused to move the the fleet or stop the search. As utterly wrong a command decision as that was, his character had obviously decided that at that point, there would be no more retreats, surrrenders or fallbacks. It was completely real (and would have gotten him relieved of duty during normal times, of course).

        When Archer did the same kind of thing to help attempt to recover the son of the transporter inventor re-materialize after the scam was revealed (and the half materialized son had melted off one guy's face and done major damage to the ship) it was just stupid. A commander of warship would just never do something like that or if he did, it would be the last thing he'd do as commander. (I don't know how it works in the real Navy if the captain starts giving crazy orders, if people on the crew just wait till the ship docks and report it or if the XO takes over right away.)

        I think because The SciFi Channel is shooting for a smaller, specific audience (us) and doesn't have to care about reaching out to all demographics, being family conscious, etc. they can really let loose. Another really funny scene you'd NEVER see on Enterprise was when Baltar was trying to talk to the to other guy taking a dump in the john. Even more funny was when the Cylon chick came in to use the toilet. You wonder if she's crapping out machine oil or something. Do StarFleet ships even have toilets? And what about the femdom scene on the roof of the building on Caprica, where the Boomer cyclon gets its ass kicked by the blond one? Wow.

        StarTrek is also caught in the complexity of its universe. With the history, mentalities, etc. of all the aliens worked out, it comes off more like a history channel documentary. If they diverge too far (and they've really pushed it as it is ... ) away from the established canon, the show isn't acceptable to hardcore fans. But, at the same time, to someone channel surfing, Enterprise would be very hard to get into because of so many things assumed to be known. BSG is much simpler: evil robots want to kill everyone. (And some of the robots are hot fembots who hold sexy parties ... lol)

  • This rules (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nnnneedles ( 216864 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:07PM (#11787239)
    No, wait. Streaming only?

    This sucks.
    • Re:This rules (Score:4, Insightful)

      by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:08PM (#11787252) Homepage
      If it can be streamed, then it can be downloaded. Someone will quickly point out the way to do this.
    • Re:This rules (Score:5, Informative)

      by haluness ( 219661 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:11PM (#11787269)
      mplayer -dumpstream STREAM_URL
    • Yeah streaming seems foolish to me - just cost them more bandwidth I would think as opposed to people sharing it from their own servers.

      But other than that I think this is a brilliant marketing move. People who wanted to get it "illegally" probably could do so anyway - but by doing this they will in fact grow their viewer base - and probably sell more DVD sets as well.

      Very smart move in my opinion.

      • Re:This rules (Score:3, Insightful)

        They also get to gauge the response better.
        By letting them see every time its watched (for now forgetting about the few stream ripper ppl around), they can go back to their bosses with some hard figures about demand.

        Fingers crossed that this is the start of subscribing (yes I would pay) to entire series direct from the web legally :)
        • I'm all for an online subscription system for HQ video. As I mentioned in another thread, our cable company will not sell individual channels even when all we want is Discovery and SciFi. They want way too much for the bulk worthless junk that comes with it.

          Getting the feed directly from the provider would be great as long as they didn't force MS DRM or some other viewing restrictions.

      • The point behind streaming isn't "they can measure how much it gets watched" or anything of the like, the point is control over distribution.

        They think that we can't get a copy of it (which we can) and therefore they can control the release of the video by taking it away whenever they feel like it (yes, it's a fallacy, but that's how people think, they want control over you, and this is the one way they comfortably feel like they have it)
    • Watched the whole thing, wont spoil it.. resolution was ok just below what my 14" tv gives at full screen, contrast was dubious, no serious glitches, no bugffering delays.

      The 5 years it'll take till its on terestial brittish TV - Unacceptable.
  • Dupe! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This was already covered in the announcement for the 2nd season of BSG...
  • Geez (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:08PM (#11787253)
    Kinda takes the fun out of pirating when you can download stuff legitimately. Way to go, SciFi. Thanks a lot.
    • I'd never gotten around to watching the series, but now that my interest is piqued, I've decided to hit up bittorrent to continue watching this fantastic show.

      A little ironic, to be sure, but it's mindshare - now when it comes out on DVD, I might buy it and watch it again, instead of just downloading DVD rips and watching for the first time.
    • Bah, it's still not as good as what you can get off Bittorrent. 15fps in a propriatary format? No thanks, I'll take something which I can burn to VCD and watch on my TV, thanks.

      Of course, converting a PAL .avi into an NTSC .mpg in (S)VCD format took time as well as some playing around with transcode [transcoding.org]. I'd have paid a buck or two per episode to be able to just download an iso I could burn directly to disk.

  • direct link (Score:5, Informative)

    by castlec ( 546341 ) <castlec AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:08PM (#11787254)
    the show [rbn.com]
  • Already covered. (Score:3, Informative)

    by zmarty ( 850185 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:12PM (#11787279) Homepage
    Oh come on guys... Don't you read the older news before you post ? http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/24/155722 8&tid=214&tid=1
  • Easiest and Best way (Score:5, Informative)

    by hardcoredreamer ( 551324 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:13PM (#11787285) Homepage
    If you're on windows, Real Alternative [google.com] and MPC Media Player Classic [sourceforge.net] will do the job without having to install evil realplayer.
  • For this 'demo' it is unlikely to hurt eventual dvd sales, there'll probably be 2-3 special feature dvd's over the life of the product anyway. The show has enough hooks that it could very well give a big boost to the ratings.

    Ah, but ohhh that evil red dress robot!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Will "corporation+internet" ALWAYS = the SUCK?
    RealMedia my ass -nothing Real about it.
  • Having Episode 33 on their uncut and comercial free (whether it be Streaming Real Adio or otherwise) is a good way to expand the fan base.

    Most of you who hate real audio, and won't download/stream it/view it, are probably the same people who have already seen a few episodes of the series already, so I don't think that you fit into the target that they are aiming for.

    But then again, there are probably a few, like myself, who won't download/install Real Audio, and haven't seen any epeisodes, let alone any c
  • A better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:16PM (#11787314) Homepage Journal
    Come up with a bittorrent-based streaming client, and just put them ALL up, with commercials. It's probably the only way you'll get people to actually watch the commercials anyway, in this PVR-laden age. Especially sci-fi fans.
    • Re:A better idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by ThisNukes4u ( 752508 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ippoct'> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:45PM (#11787497) Homepage
      That would be pretty difficult, as bittorrent sends data to the downloader in whatever order it feels like, so it would be pretty inapporpriate for streaming.
      • There are bittorrent implementations which prioritize blocks at the beginning of the file. Even if there weren't it would be [relatively] trivial (and necessary) to create one.
      • With bittorrent and 6,4 MB down, I actually would not care for streaming. Now I know most people are not that lucky, but we are quickly getting there.
    • Re:A better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Minna Kirai ( 624281 )
      It's probably the only way you'll get people to actually watch the commercials anyway, in this PVR-laden age.

      What you propose is yet another example of "security through obscurity". The commericals viewed this way would be secured against skipping only as long as very few sci-fi movies are distributed in this manner. Once they become common, someone will publish a modified video-player application including the same commerical detection+avoidance techniques as in any set-top PVR.
      • Re:A better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
        You are quite right. However, if you just give away a good client (perhaps by making it small and embedded into the webpage) then most people won't use it, and most of them will watch (or at least sit and try to ignore) the commercials. While you are 100% correct that it will not stop people from downloading and trading it will get most people to just watch the damn thing the way they want. It's only when it's a pain in the ass to do things your way that most people start looking for another way to do it.
  • ...or an extremely bold move since the series isn't even out on DVD yet?

    Then WTF did I buy last week at Suncoast?

    Would this not be the "first" (+ others) episode? : 2003 Miniseries [amazon.com]

  • by CypherXero ( 798440 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:28PM (#11787394) Homepage
    I'm watching the streaming video, and for a Season 1, Episode 1 show, it's lost me. Was there a Season 0 or something?
    • Yes, there was the 3 hour miniseries that came out end of 2003. Its out on DVD now if you feel like catching up.
    • What you missed... (Score:3, Informative)

      by sammy baby ( 14909 )
      What you missed in the pilot.

      Humans build Cylons. They rebel, fight to a standstill, then they leave. Now they're back, and they're bad, and they can look like humans, and they essentially wiped out humanity except for this little fleet. Plus, the brilliant scientist (Gaius Baltar) who is supposed to be figuring out how to defeat them is also the guy who enabled them to wipe out our heroes' defenses, and is sorta seeing one of them. Like, a really hot one. In his head, all the time.

      Oh, and Adama had anoth
  • by scotty1024 ( 584849 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:32PM (#11787412)

    I will happily PayPal $1 per episode to download HDTV LOL XVID of Battlestar, Stargate SG-1/Atlantis. Which is far more than DirectTV is giving them on my behalf right now.

    Please note that's download, not stream you ignorant broadcasters! And content in a real format, not Real format. Real is a bigger sell out than even Microsoft when it comes to hurting the consumer in order to brown nose the MPAA/RIAA.

    And why PayPal? Because I wouldn't trust any broadcaster with my credit card. They're technical idiots and would be handing all my info out to any 13 year old script kiddie.

    As it stands, this is just one more sad pitiful example of how broadcasters really really really just don't get it!

    If they keep blowing it like this, when the revolution comes, Sci Fi is going to be standing there with their back against the wall along with NBC et al. I really don't think the current broadcasters know how to adapt, even to save their corporate existence.

  • I have a funny feeling that they noticed that people downloading the series before it premiered in the US created a word of mouth that resulted in better ratings.
    • Absolutely. I probably wouldn't have watched it myself, but for that. Contrast this with their own marketing efforts, which had actually turned me away from wanting to see the show. (I mean, there was Olmos himself, saying that fans of original shouldn't watch it! He was wrong, BTW.) It was only the fans who brought me around.
  • too late.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheHawke ( 237817 ) <rchapin@[ ].rr.com ['stx' in gap]> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:54PM (#11787558)
    I already got a copy off of the usenet feeds that is 1000X better than the joke of a media format that they call real.
  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattr@telebCOUGARody.com minus cat> on Saturday February 26, 2005 @12:57PM (#11787586) Homepage Journal
    If someone succeeds please post about it!

    mplayer couldn't read it, and the url has an asterisk in it, anyway it wants realplayer.

    Well I tried my old copy of Helix Player 0.4.0 and it gave an error (can't handle type x-pn-imagemap), so I updated the rpm to the latest 1.0.2 Gold. That didn't work, it said it was available only in RealPlayer not HelixPlayer. Okay, I buckle under and install the linux RealPlayer rpm 10.0.2 Gold. Same problem! I google and it seems that they have been waiting since October for Real to give them some information which is why they didn't get it into the code, and it has now been postponed?!?!

    So nobody involved in the website or production uses linux, and no slashdot people have viewed it on linux? Or is there a secret I don't know about (hope so).

    I would really like to view it as an open format file as I neither wish to use pay to use windows in a cafe, nor view it with what I perceive as a lossy protocol over an international connection. This is the broadband age, and bittorrent or a fiber (like I finally got) beats rtsp! Just give me the file! In the end we are done in by a clickable menu? Sheesh!

    Can somebody record it to a file and post it?

    • I had no trouble opening it under Linux just now in my old Mozilla 1.0 / RealPlayer 8.0 setup. But I agree, streaming sucks.

      As far as the asterisk in the URL, just put quotes around the URL if you're typing it on a command line.
  • It has been available since the very first episode...Oh, this one is legal? That's news :-)
  • by __aailob1448 ( 541069 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @01:00PM (#11787604) Journal
    Low quality, streamable only real media? This isn't 1997 you know...

    I believe the people want something of comparable quality to what's available in torrent sites. Non-proprietary 2-pass high quality mpg4 files.

    If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
  • The series has already played out in Australia and UK back in 2003... the DVDs will be released on March 1st and 28th. Just go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/ and search for "battlestar" in the DVD section.

    If you go to the US Amazon store, it probably won't be released until the SciFI series has ended.
  • I would so pay a monthly subscription to download my TV shows off the respective channels.

    Like $5 a month or something per channel/show would be fine for me and would allow me to finally get rid of my "traditional" TV subscription for satellite, AND it would get me exactly what I want.

  • Since I don't have HDTV, big screen, and cable/satellite for clear picture, it the streaming feed video quality is decent. It is almost like a VCD quality.
  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Saturday February 26, 2005 @06:52PM (#11789866) Homepage Journal
    I have never watched the show. Sorry, have more important things to do.

    But, when I saw this article and knowing the reputation of the show I was willing to try since I could transport a file on my laptop or media player.

    And what do I get? The aberration of streaming media. No wonder, they are are a TV channel, they still think in broadcasting terms.

    The first "TV" company that realizes the potential of giving stuff away for free (unencumbered, without lousy stupid formats) as an enticement for paid for services, will make loads of money and lead the industry during the nes couple of decades.

BLISS is ignorance.