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ABC To Offer Full Shows Online 316

vitaly.friedman writes to mention an Ars Technica story on the ABC's newest bid to stay relevant in the Information Age. As of the end of this month the network will be airing certain popular television shows on the ABC website, starting the morning after their first broadcast. From the article: "All programs will be shown in their entirety, including commercials which cannot be avoided. That's a smart move on ABC's part, as it ensures that advertisers will get another shot at hawking their wares to an audience that might otherwise change channels during commercial breaks or fast-forward through them if recorded. Aside from being unable to avoid commercials, watching the programs will be similar to watching timeshifted content in that viewers will be able to pause, fast forward, and rewind."
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ABC To Offer Full Shows Online

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  • by RunFatBoy.net ( 960072 ) * on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:12PM (#15100387)
    If ABC is really looking to make a splash, maybe they should offer some of these episodes the day *before* they air. Given how quickly buzz becomes stale after the fact, people would jump at a chance to get a preview of their favorite show.

    Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net] -- A workout plan that doesn't feel like homework.
    • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:23PM (#15100478)
      This way more people are likely to watch it twice.

      Also, this way they aren't stepping on revenue streams for their local affliates. (Who may be able to show some local ads during the regular broadcast. Or at least share revenue.)

      What you are talking about is a whole different business model. It could well work, but I wouldn't want to give up a currently working business model to try it.
      • by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:01PM (#15101294)
        What you are talking about is a whole different business model.

        How is this a whole new business model? Sounds like the same old same old to me...

        Now I'll admit I'm not much of a TV watcher anyway, but I'm not particularly interested in web-content that turns my PC into a small, lo-res television complete with 16 minutes of ads per hour. What's new about that???

        What would be cool is if the site remembers exactly where I was when I last watched. Dynamically generate a short recap of my last session to remind me of the highlights of what I last watched. Allow me to link to excerpts from previous episodes when they're alluded to. Maybe even have a writer's forum where they can go deeper into background and get feedback from the audience as the show unfolds.

        Just using TCP/IP instead of cable or radio waves doesn't begin to constitute a new business model.
        • Downloading for free over the internet (even with commercials) is a different business model then offering via local affliates over television. If you release the episiode first on the internet you are relying on that as the business model, and the TV is just an added bonus. If they found they couldn't make money doing it, but that people switched to watching it that way instead of via their old business model it would at the very least kill the show.

          This way they can test to see if they can actually make
          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @05:32PM (#15101536) Journal
            I live in the UK, so I am used to about half as many adverts as you (a 42 minute program takes 42 minutes on the BBC, 50-55 minutes on the other channels and 60 minutes in the USA). Last year, I pretty much stopped watching broadcast TV because there were too many adverts. There are many other forms of entertainment where I don't have to waste 20% of the time watching advertisements, and so TV could not compete. The only series I watch are those which are released for rental on DVD (I have a subscription to a NetFlix-like service).

            If any TV provider wants to re-gain my custom, then they will have to provide an ad-free delivery system. I don't mind paying for what I watch (although I do prefer a fixed fee, watch whatever you like system), but I do object to wasting my time.

            • I built a mythtv system over a year ago and have rarely watched live tv since. The commercial skip feature on mythtv works pretty well. :)

              As to the article, if they allow you to "fast forward" doesn't that let you avoid most of the commercials? Or have they figured out how to block the fast forward when a commercial is playing?
    • maybe they should offer some of these episodes the day *before* they air

      I have seen this being done with some regular shows (such as "Thief") as a PPV event, 2 or 3 days before the normal airing time. Can't say there is any show I'm that anxious to see that I would actually pay money to see it early. Maybe some TF'ers would.

      • They are doing it for "Black. White." -- showing it on DirecTV PPV three days ahead of the actual showing. Personally I think that it was a poor show choice to try this model on because the contect of "Black. White." (IMHO) sucks.

        They should have done it with Rescue Me or Nip/Tuck. Even Thief, being new, doesn't have the viewership to warrant a test like that. On a personal note, I'm trying to like Thief, I really am -- but it's too much drama and not enough action.
      • Something like that would likely work, or another popular show.

        I also wonder if the streaming media will be sufficently available for people to watch on their microsoft mce or myth/freevo boxes.

  • Cannot? (Score:2, Informative)

    What exactly does "Cannot be avoided" mean? do they actually think they can prevent people from skipping the commercials?
    • Re:Cannot? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:16PM (#15100411)
      They tie you to the chair and wire your eyelids open.

      After all the customer is always right, and with all media (google included) you have to remember that the advertiser is the customer t and you the viewer is the product being sold.

      • Consider too that failing to watch every minute of every commercial means you're "stealing" content. Jack Valenti said so. That's the mindset of the studios -- they, not you, are in charge and you will obey. Can't you almost hear them muttering "damn customers" under their breath?
        • Consider too that failing to watch every minute of every commercial means you're "stealing" content. Jack Valenti said so
          Be that as it may, no one can honestly think that any network will, or should be expected to, offer their content ad free in the net. I think what ABC is doing is awesome....
          I think the RIAA etc go overboard on some stuff, but this isn't an example of that.
          Honestly- anyone who thinks that a network should produce a super expensive show and then give it away has no understanding of th
      • They tie you to the chair and wire your eyelids open.

        Remember you're under an NDA!
    • Re:Cannot? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zendar ( 578450 )
      What exactly does "Cannot be avoided" mean? do they actually think they can prevent people from skipping the commercials?

      That's what I'd like to know! The article doesn't state the technology used to view the programs. My guess is it's embedded Windows Media. Maybe they allow you to fast forward through the program, but when the commercials air, you cann ff/rw? Most news Web sites that offer video content make you watch a 30s spot that you cannot ff though. Then the "free" video airs.

      I wonder if the com

    • Windows media.
    • Re:Cannot? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:23PM (#15100480)
      What exactly does "Cannot be avoided" mean? do they actually think they can prevent people from skipping the commercials?

      Um, yes?

      It's very easy. Encode the video in Flash and do a php call so the file name is never revealed - not even the url to the directory where the file *is* is revealed. Can't be downloaded (even by workaround methods), and controls can be set in the embedded player so you can't fast-forward (my guess is the last part of the article submission is wrong - you can maybe rewind and then ff to the last point you were at in the video, but you won't be able to skip ahead).

      The big video sites don't do this right now, but it is possible, and a lot of smaller sites do do it. We'll see if ABC is smart enough, but judging by the way they describe this, it sounds like they've figured it out.

      I've been saying TV stations should do this exact thing for years. You want to stop "piracy" of your shows? Put them online for free. Show the ads; we know you've gotta make money. But don't force me to pay 2 bucks just because I wasn't home at the time the show was on and presumably don't have (or can't afford?) TiVo.

      Now you've got a choice, at least with the bigger shows. Pay 2 bucks and watch them ad-free, or pay nothing and watch with ads. Pretty much the way it should be, if you ask me.

      The only question left is what sort of quality we'll get. I mean considering HDTV is free, then ideally the online version should match that quality - but no way it will for reasons of bandwidth. Hopefully it'll at least match what you can find on file sharing sites, though... if they really are serious about doing away with that sort of thing, especially.
      • Re:Cannot? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Not a chance they'll use this method. You can still easily find where the file is located simply by sniffing your network traffic. Security through obscurity is not the way they'll go.

        More than likely they'll simply use Windows Media with it's built in DRM protections. I don't believe anyone has broken the lastest DRM from Windows Media.

        • Well, I already see that I am wrong. They are using Flash for the video :-)

          I guess we'll see how they go about locking the content. I don't know anything about the DRM features of Flash 8 video.

      • Re:Cannot? (Score:3, Insightful)

        The only question left is what sort of quality we'll get. I mean considering HDTV is free, then ideally the online version should match that quality - but no way it will for reasons of bandwidth. Hopefully it'll at least match what you can find on file sharing sites

        Hell, just put up a torrent and leave the commercials in. Most people will just download and watch the thing and then delete it. They'll pay no more and no less attention to commercials than they already do. Why make it so damn hard on peopl

        • Re:Cannot? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by timholman ( 71886 )
          Hell, just put up a torrent and leave the commercials in. Most people will just download and watch the thing and then delete it. They'll pay no more and no less attention to commercials than they already do. Why make it so damn hard on people to watch a friggin TV show?

          Exactly. 99% of the general public will always do what's most convenient, and will trade off money for convenience. People pay $1.99 for an iTunes TV show because it's convenient. Forget the fact that they could download it or record it th
          • Re:Cannot? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Elladan ( 17598 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:02PM (#15102104)
            This is a good point, but I think you're failing to see the incredible horribleness of corporate video offerings from an ease of use standpoint.

            For example, I won't even consider touching the video on commercial web sites (except google). Why? Well, it's not because I'm morally opposed to downloading a video from ABC or CNN. No... it's because their video always sucks to an unbelievable degree, to the point where watching it is a nightmare. Let's consider:

            • Video is invariably hidden in some retarded web site which opens a window to try to force me to play the video in a thumbnail. Thus, I have to use firefox to tear their HTML apart to find a real link to the video. This is an extreme hassle - I hate having to debug other peoples' web sites just to use them.
            • Must have Microsoft Winfuck XP SP3 XXX mega pr0n MAX version 10 to install the player. Therefore, there is no chance I will ever consider watching this video. Use a generic video format + player, or game over.
            • Must install their software. BZZZT forget it. Too hard. Won't work. Will have a virus.
            • Must watch the video live on the network. I used to work at a company that wrote software to do this. It never worked well. Still doesn't. If I can't download it first, forget it.
            • Their software has a 100% chance of sucking. Case in point: Quicktime. My girlfriend has a Mac iBook with Quicktime on it. Does it suck? Yes, unbelievably so. The video is crappy and jittery, and the full screen button (get this) is greyed out and has a buy a non-crippled player ad next to it.
            • I can't skip commercials? That means the player doesn't work right. Hello, fast-forward? This thing is inferior to a VCR from 1982. Forget it.

            ... etc. The point is, the reason Bittorrent is so incredibly popular isn't because people are so excited that they can get an episode of Lost without commercials for free. They could already do that -- VCRs are old hat. The great thing about Bittorrent is that it's incredibly convenient compared to any of these pile-of-garbage corporate offerings.

            And that's the problem with this ABC thing. It, like all the garbage before it, sucks. The network that created the show is going to offer a vastly inferior experience, with more hassle, than some random guys using bittorrent.

            If they wanted to do something innovative, and better, they would simply have placed MPEG4 files (or torrents to keep their costs down) on their web site, with the commercials. This would have been much cheaper and easier to develop for them, and would be a better experience for their users. But of course, they never will do this, because the industry is insane.

      • Re:Cannot? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ichimunki ( 194887 )
        Encode the video in Flash and do a php call so the file name is never revealed - not even the url to the directory where the file *is* is revealed.

        How does this stop someone from using a proxy to capture the URL of the request? Even if the source of the stream is capable of being obscured... wouldn't a user simply be able to capture the video stream data at the client and modify it to his heart's content?

      • I've been saying TV stations should do this exact thing for years. You want to stop "piracy" of your shows? Put them online for free. Show the ads; we know you've gotta make money.

        I'm sure they've wanted to do it for years. The problem has always been the local affiliates. The advertising on a primetime network show consists of two parts; national advertising (sold by the network), and local advertising (sold by the affiliates). Streaming it over the web essentially cuts out the local affiliates. I gue

    • Re:Cannot? (Score:2, Funny)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      What exactly does "Cannot be avoided" mean?

      Your bathroom, fridge and microwave, each with their own ip, will autolock their doors whenever the commercials come on.

      Oh, yeah, your fridge will also autoorder everything adverstised on your credit card, for "your convenience."

      Welcome to the future, brother. Enjoy.

      KFG
      • Oddly, that vision of the future is remarkably similar to that portrayed in the old Max Headroom series, where it was a felony to install an "off" switch in a TV, and credit fraud was considered more heinous than murder.
  • by JonTurner ( 178845 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:17PM (#15100422) Journal
    >>viewers will be able to pause, fast forward, and rewind

    What's this about not being able to skip commercials? Any commercials?

    Say I want to watch just the final ten minutes of something, does that mean I must sit through SEVENTEEN minutes of commercials first before I'm "allowed" to view the ending?

    No thanks. I (and everyone else, I suspect) will just wait for the Torrent.

    • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#15100453) Homepage Journal
      You can skip chapters, but each chapter includes advertising in the middle. There are also lots of product placements that, with the help of Google, will dynamically place products you want to buy into key scenes.

      "Say, Denise, would you pick up that Lite-On 8X dual-layer DVD burner with Linux drivers? I say, I don't feel like myself without a nice Lite-On 8X dual-layer DVD burner with Linux drivers any more."
    • Torrents are hard to beat in terms of convenience. They're typically HDTV, commercial free, and can be downloaded the next day. The catch, of course, is that they're inconvenient for non-technical people. They have to find a site that has them, click a link, wait for a download, and so on.

      I think it's very smart for ABC to offer up a very easy way to watch shows via their website. The catch is that they'll likely be somewhat poor quality and you have commercials. People live with commercials now. I
      • Consider this, however....

        When you have alt-tab'd out and have something else covering up the bud lite girls, you are still listening and therefore having your subconscious subverted.

        As far as I'm concerned, there's no real reason why the stations need to be screwed over. Just make an approximate guess as to your geographical location via your IP address and splice in the local used car dealership threatening to club a baby seal if you don't buy a car from him.
      • The next day? I missed last week's episode of Lost (actually came home at 9:30, and didn't want to watch halfway through). Lurked at the torrent sites after 10PM, and by midnight I had the ep on my HD. That's less than 2 hours from show end to me watching it. If ABC were smart, they'd make episodes available online the minute they ended, not the next day. Talk about replay value.
  • no brainer indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by farker haiku ( 883529 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:20PM (#15100439) Journal
    In many ways, it's a no-brainer, as viewers have demonstrated by their viewing habits that they want more control over where, when, and how they watch programming. ....
    All programs will be shown in their entirety, including commercials which cannot be avoided.


    So, basically I should still use netflix if I don't want to see commercials.
    • So, basically if I have to wait until the next day to view a free broadcast TV program I missed when it aired live the night before, I should still use my favorite TV torrent site, where I can get a commercial-free copy that I can keep indefinitely.
      • by voorko02 ( 847122 )
        It is a free TV program that was paid for by the commercials that air durring it. I don't understand why anyone could have any complaints about this. I didn't see what resolution the shows would be at and I'd like for a full HD resolution when possible, but as a first step I think this is excellent.

        I don't think commercials are going anywhere, nor should they. If you don't want to watch commercials then buy the episode off iTunes or wait and rent the season from Netflix, but if you want them for free, cer
        • "Is the hope that an open source entertainment industry will sprout up?"

          Absolutely. Someone will donate a back lot. Others will donate their used $250 Hi-8 camcorders and some table lamps. The local weekend actors troop will donate their time... and from that, we'll get enough free content to fill several hundred channels 365/24/7, plus feature films.

          I mean, which part don't you understand?
    • Yep...well except for all the previews/commericals at the beginning of the DVD (assuming non hacked player and/or user re-authored DVD)

  • Commercial Skipping (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lax-goalie ( 730970 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#15100454)
    Maybe if advertisers stopped making commercials that are crap, they wouldn't need to lock us out of fast forward during commercials.

    It can be done. How many Super Bowls have had commercials better than the game?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      How many Super Bowls have had commercials better than the game?

      I don't know. I use my TiVo to fast forward through them. The Superbowls that is.

    • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:36PM (#15100588) Journal
      It can be done. How many Super Bowls have had commercials better than the game?

      There ya go! Reunite the '85 Patriots and the '92 Bills, give them sitcoms and suddenly the commercials will look a lot better!

      I'm thinking Everybody Loves Thurman Thomas...

    • What I'd love to see, which they could easily do now that this is on the web would be to have a rating system for the commercials. This could provide good info to advertisers to realize when their commercials suck balls or when they are good. Similar to what Tivo has.

    • u mean like those GoDaddy.com commercials.. :p
    • Maybe if advertisers stopped making commercials that are crap, they wouldn't need to lock us out of fast forward during commercials.

      Impossible. Commercials are crap, no matter how you try to dress them up. If they were something worth watching, they'd be called "content" and they'd have crappy commercials inserted into them.

      It can be done. How many Super Bowls have had commercials better than the game?

      That doesn't mean the commercials aren't crap. Just that the super bowl is even worse crap.
    • In Britain the commercials are often quite creative. I used to watch them. Often they were better than the programmes. But some time back, they started upping the volume on the commercials. That's just annoying, so now I mute them (too much trouble to adjust the volume). Stupid really - half decent commercials, but not watched anymore. Or alternatively, it provokes me into channel-skipping. When will they realise that subtle ads work best among the high-earning audience they want to reach?
    • Maybe if advertisers stopped making commercials that are crap, they wouldn't need to lock us out of fast forward during commercials.

      I have no problem with commercials, per se. It's just that I can't stand being interrupted from a program to watch them. I'd rather the program start late and end early for the commercials to air, than to be subjected to constant interruption. FWIW, I have a Tivo and so it's not really a problem for me now, but I don't mind the commercials when aired before and after a show li

    • please. stfu (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aixou ( 756713 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:41PM (#15101109)
      Maybe if advertisers stopped making commercials that are crap, they wouldn't need to lock us out of fast forward during commercials.

      You whiny bastard. Seriously. These companies can't do anything right, can they?
      All I see here is people complaining and getting modded up for it. As far as I'm concerned this is a great step in a great direction.

      I think what it boils down to is that most people here just want shit for free, and will say anything to pretend that they have some valid objection with the system and that it warrants theft (or "copyright infringement" for the pedants).

      Free/opensource software falls victim to the same tripe -- people pretend that they stand by the ideologies but really just want stuff for free -- and use the ideology as a guise to pirate non-free software like photoshop or Windows.

      bleh.
  • It's a start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fatcatman ( 800350 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#15100456)
    Before we jump all over ABC here - "What?! Only 4 shows?! And they all suck!" - this is a huge step forward. I hope this program is successful, as it would mean people like myself without a clear OTA signal will be able to legally download broadcast television.

    The bigger concern here is what will the laws say about my ripping the forced commercials out? Given the industry's history in developing copy protection schemes, this will likely be a trivial matter. Now, it's perfectly legal for me to do this with the OTA signal - will the DMCA be invoked against people who do this with the downloads?

    Anyway, let's congratulate ABC on this leap of faith. I am appreciative of it, and may sit through a few of those awful shows just to support their new distribution model.
  • Like the constant ads we see in every tv show and movie? Want a COKE? It's the taste of the new generation! No Thanks, I'll just have a water,but have you seen my new Timex watch and Converse All stars? Or, do they mean little flashes of "buy crap now,buy crap now" in the fast forwarded ads. I wonder what subliminal brokerage ads or 90's style jeans ads would be like. You have this irresistable urge to go do...something or wear maybe pants? Unavoidable ads! Yeah!
  • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:24PM (#15100492) Homepage Journal
    Forget the morons above when they complain about "oh, it's the day after? WAH WAH WAH" or "Can't skip the commercials WAH WAH WAH".

    They're trying to embrace a new delivery medium and you these idiots are fricken complaining about it. Come on, ABC should be congratulated for thinking outside the standard line that RIAA and the MPAA have been harping on. The net will make a great delivery service and they're heading out into it full steam ahead.

    But no, months ago people were saying this is what they should do, and now that they're doing it, it's not enough. Give them what they want, and you get a big "fuck you" in return.

    I welcome this.
    • by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:54PM (#15100722) Homepage Journal
      They're not quite doing what we said they should do. Here's what we said they should do:

      - Offer television programs as downloadable files (e.g. a nice XviD or something) with no restrictions that can be archived, traded, and/or watched at your leisure.

      Here's what they did do:

      - Offer televesion programs in a restricted format watchable online only as streaming videos with no opportunity to record or, apparently, skip commercials (or so it would seem from the article).

      You, like the TV studios, still apparently don't "get it".

      Currently the P2P networks are providing exactly what we want. That's the target the networks need to aim for. Nothing less will succeed to any significant degree.

      The networks need to provide the shows (with or without commercials) at varying levels of quality (for higher or lower bandwidth users) for download (preferably as torrents) with no strings attached before they air. That would work. Anything less is like aiming for failure.

      They have to take a psychological approach to this one. People like shiny and official. Package the TV shows as something you'll want to collect and archive. That will get people downloading them.

      And they need to ignore the fact that there are some people who would strip out the commercials and re-share them. This is unavoidable and proven not to have a significant negative impact (e.g. music, movies).

      As for commercials, here's an idea: maybe they'll have to start making commercials with the actors in the show hawking the wares. You could make mini, thirty second skits that advertize big name products like they used to do when TV was in its infancy. It could be presented as a little "slice of life" of the characters in the show. "OMG! Jack Bauer uses Crest! I should, too!"

      You probably couldn't do all commercials on a network like that, but maybe for certain downloadable shows you could. People would want to watch and re-watch that because it is entertaining.

      • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:16PM (#15100896)
        They're not quite doing what we said they should do. Here's what we said they should do:

        Offer television programs as downloadable files (e.g. a nice XviD or something) with no restrictions that can be archived, traded, and/or watched at your leisure.


        Who the hell was saying that? That would be suicide for them if they did that.
        • I don't think so. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Belial6 ( 794905 )
          Honestly, as with all security, this needs a cost benifit analysis. I suspect that if ABC were to offer all of their shows WITH commercials in an unrestricted free fashion, the majority of people would not bother spending the time and effort to look for illegal copies of shows on p2p networks. I suspect that most people would not even bother to keep a copy of the shows if they knew that they could always go get it again directly from the source. You also would see very few people downloading and cutting
      • They're not quite doing what we said they should do. Here's what we said they should do: - Offer television programs as downloadable files (e.g. a nice XviD or something) with no restrictions that can be archived, traded, and/or watched at your leisure. Here's what they did do: - Offer television programs in a restricted format watchable online only as streaming videos with no opportunity to record or, apparently, skip commercials (or so it would seem from the article). You, like the TV studios, still a

    • by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:00PM (#15100772) Homepage Journal
      Forget the morons above when they complain about "oh, it's the day after? WAH WAH WAH" or "Can't skip the commercials WAH WAH WAH".

      Proof positive that you can always drive your point home by inserting Eddie Van Halen guitar licks into your conversations.
    • It may be a (small) step forward in thinking, but why on earth would I put up with lame-brain commercials when I already have it on tivo? Getting it early is not much help either, as I usually run several days behind anyhow just finding time to watch all the good shows. Even before tivo, I muted commercials and ignored them as much as I could. I'd rather pay money to subscribe to shows and do without the commercials entirely.

      One thing they *could* do however is this:

      1. Make the commercials interesting t
      • 2. Give you show credits towards your subscribed shows for watching them as a separate batch.

        Sounds like a good idea to me! I start the commercials downloading, take a bathroom break while they play, and come back to free show credits! :)

    • I mean, so what if we don't want what they are selling? It's using new (10 year old) streaming technology! We're supposed to be happy about that, right?

    • You people drive me crazy. Guess what, TV is not free! What do you want them to do, offer commerical free shows too? I'm fine with sitting through a couple of commericals. That is not why I download torrents. I download torrents because I don't have cable, just basic channels. So I can't watch The Shield, Sopranos, South Park, etc. If I were able to hop on the next day and watch the shows I missed I would do it in a heart beat.

      The point that they have been "missing" is that people want to time shift
  • Free on iTMS, too? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:26PM (#15100507)
    I wonder if Apple will still be charging a couple bucks an episode when viewers now have the choice of getting a commercial-loaded copy for free instead.

    It'd be nice if the ad-supported version were available for free through iTMS, but that would probably require ABC to actually pay APPLE per download to cover bandwidth costs and overhead, which might be problematic.

    Anyway, if Apple doesn't work out SOME kind of new deal, it seems safe to say their $2 iTMS episodes aren't gonna be selling very well anymore, except among the video iPod loyalists.
    • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:35PM (#15100576)
      But the versions on iTunes don't have commercials, and can be played away from the computer. Depending on quality and useablity, it may well be true that both versions have value to consumers. I'd guess they may well be able to co-exist, serving different consumers.
    • by mgoren ( 73073 )
      I, for one, would much rather pay the $2 to download an ad-free episode that I can watch whenever and wherever I want, rather than yet another way to watch a streamed(?) version with ads.
    • iTMS TV shows can be downloaded and played, instead of streamed. This allows you to watch them while commuting, or on an iPod, and it lets you watch them again without clogging up your internet pipe several times, which may or may not have bandwidth limits.
  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by Sludge ( 1234 ) <slashdot.tossed@org> on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:26PM (#15100513) Homepage
    This is an excellent step. I, for one, will be watching Lost in this manner. I cancelled cable TV earlier this year, because I'm a busy person who doesn't need the cost overhead in my day. However, this will rope me back in, guaranteed.
    • I cancelled cable TV earlier this year, because I'm a busy person who doesn't need the cost overhead in my day. However, this will rope me back in, guaranteed.

      I call shenanigans. Lost is on ABC which doesn't even need cable. If you're so "busy" and don't need the "cost overhead", it would seem silly to pay for broadband then have to wait around for it to download.
  • I wonder how this will affect sales of the iTunes versions that Apple sells? They sell DH & Lost through the music store. I wonder if they had to get Steve's blessing before they did this, since he's now on Disney's board.
  • Sometimes the adverts are the best part of the shows. Now, *some* people can rewind and rewatch those Victoria Secret, KY Warming Gel, exercise infomercials, and similar commercials over and over and over.

    I just hope this doesn't include those lame locally-produced commercials, such as furniture, auto dealers, and the like.

    --

    New Face Found on Mars [suvalleynews.com]

  • by crabpeople ( 720852 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:32PM (#15100550) Journal
    I was going to say yay! I can watch lost when it airs instead of the next day off of the torrents! Ill definately use this even with commercials!

    Then i read:
    "will allow web surfers to watch full episodes of programs such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, and others starting the morning after they air on ABC"

    Hmm, so my high quality HDTV rips finish downloading at the same time their low quality flash/rm/wmv video files are "available" for streaming*, and they have commercials?

    Sorry abc, your not quite there yet. good try though.

    *i would never believe they would let me download and archive the copies. if thats true ill eat my hat.
    • Depending on your timezone, I have a hard time believing that you can get a high-def rip of a TV show much sooner than the morning after.

      After a show finishes:

      - Someone has to rip the show to whatever format necessary
      - Upload that show somewhere fast. How big are these rips? Almost a gig I would imagine.
      - You have to find said site and download the show or wait for it to get spread around p2p networks.


      All in all, I think you're looking at either a couple of hours of sitting at your computer in
      • His point was that they will both be out at the same time, but the torrent will be a high-quality HDTV rip while ABC will likely only have a lower quality streaming version.

        ABC had the chance to be better than the pirates and they blew it. If all they did was make it available in DVD-R format at the same time the show was aired, people could begin downloading it that night and have it ready to watch later or the next day at their leisure. It would effectively kill P2P versions of those shows since you could
      • Everything you have described could easily be scripted.
  • Perhaps it's been taken out of context completely and what they actually meant is that *including* commercials as part of the download is unavoidable, not that you'll be prevented from skipping them.
  • Vs. MythTv (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is probably ok for those whe don't get good TV signal over the air. For everyone else, there is MythTv. More functionality, no commercials.
  • Its Free! (Score:2, Informative)

    by trogdor8667 ( 817114 ) *
    One thing no one has touched on is the fact that this is free. The article mentions that viewers can order the same shows via iTunes for $1.99 (no commercials), via OnDemand for $1 with no commericials, or for free via their website with commercials. Personally, I'd still go for the free version; I pay enough per month for my cable and DVR as it is.

    Then again, ABC doesn't really have any shows that I'd actually be interested in this feature for. I do hope that NBC and CBS follow this lead, as well as Fox (f
    • Re:Its Free! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      or you can watch the top 20 shows in HD quality and without DRM for free from your favorite bittorrent tracker site.

      Until they give me high quality I have zero interest.

      Cue the people claiming I am STEALING from them by watching the bittorrents
  • So I can go to their website, which will doubtless be full of paid banner ads, and sit through a show with other unskippable ads. If I call to complain, will they put me on hold where I can listen to a recording of more ads?

    I've never used Google Video's paid service or iTunes, but unless I miss my guess the TV shows for sale there are commercial-free, with iTunes even letting you download it to your iPod.

    Seems like ABC is straggling a bit when they should be playing catch-up. After all, the first legal
  • Enough with the whining about not being able to skip commercials. Can you skip commercials when you watch television? It's just a nice legal way to watch a show you missed. Of course they are going to try and make money on it!
  • Watch at work? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brit_in_the_USA ( 936704 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:07PM (#15100836)
    I see a huge backlash from companies when they start catching their employees watching these shows at work.

    An easy to use access system (a web page) will mean anyone will be able to find and watch them with no software install (p2p etc.). This could be hard for IT administrators to stamp out.

    I gaze into my crystal ball....
    ....and see Slashdot headlines of "Study claims Billions of lost revenue weekly from staff watching streaming TV at work"
  • I mean really, it has been how many years since the sued the canadian company for broadcasting their stuff on the internet?
  • Geeze louise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:10PM (#15100857)
    I don't know how many times I have heard people complaining about iTunes selling television shows. How many people are in an uproar because ABC is making money first from commericals aired during their shows on television AND by selling the show on iTMS. Guess what, they also sell their shows on DVD AND make money off syndication.

    What is the purpose of your complaining?

    First, you don't have to buy the shows on iTMS, most of you complaining probably don't even own an iPod let alone the iPod that works with this service.

    Second, many people actually enjoy the shows that are being sold on iTMS, that is, they want to watch it more then once. I would jump on the bandwagon with you if iTMS sold shows for $1.99 per view, but you are buying a video file you can watch over again. It may not be within the same month, or year, but many people do enjoy watching a full season of TV over a few days or weeks.

    Why is it that some people are so jealous or fanatical about companies that make money? Why bother to complain. If a company or entity forced you to contribute to their profit, then that is reason for complaining (i.e. the government and taxes or gas companies). But some corporation that sells television shows is really no target for the kind of criticism and whining people are doing. Your just wasting your breath and straining your fingers.

    When someone complains about a product or service they have no intention of buying or participating in, then that is just moronic. It is a classic definition of an idiot.

  • I have really embraced the iTunes TV shows and their $1.99 model to feed my iPod before a long flight or catch the episode I didn't Tivo because I stopped having cable because I could buy the limited TV I watch for just $1.99 an episode.

    So I have to say, I like 22 minute episodes of The Office and Battle Star Galactica at 45 minutes. What I don't like? Commercials. What I HATE? Commercials I can't skip or do anything but wait through.

    I'd much rather pay for a non-commercial version I can watch on my iPod (a
  • DETAILS...DETAILS....DETAILS

    If it's another offering at 320x200 I could care less. The vendor that starts airing shows at DECENT resolutions (above 640x480) will have my $$$.
  • So far I haven't had any luck though:

    "wget http://www.abc.com/ [abc.com]"

    I'm just getting a lot of junk, no shows so far.

    I hope they get this fixed soon!
  • While there are many here who use legal methods of watching TV shows...up until now it has basically been considered a grey area when it comes to downloading TV shows. Yes, you are skipping the commercials...but if you receive the channel normally, you're timeshifting.

    Now that their online site will compete directly with .torrent sites, I wonder if we will start to see lawsuits and some serious crackdowns on the available TV torrent sites.

    All I know is that this will not affect me downloading the show. T

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