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The Almighty Buck Media Television The Internet

TV Torrents — When Piracy Is Easier Than Purchase 474

Posted by Zonk
from the wow-guess-i'll-just-not-pay-you-then dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NBC's recent withdrawal from the iTunes store leaves the millions of Apple's customers who have Macs or iPods without a legitimate way to purchase and watch NBC's content. Online media stores such as iTunes, Amazon and Walmart have never been able to compete with the pirates on price, or freedom and flexibility — as the content they sell is typically wrapped in restrictive DRM. The one advantage that legal purchase offered was ease of use. CNET looks into the issue, and discovers that with mature open-source media players such as Miro supporting BitTorrent RSS feeds, it is actually trivially easy for users to subscribe to their favorite shows. Want to wake up to the latest episode of The Colbert Report, Top Gear or any of hundreds of TV shows automatically downloaded and waiting for you? CNET offers an easy three step guide."
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TV Torrents — When Piracy Is Easier Than Purchase

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  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:30PM (#20593113) Homepage Journal
    I simply use EZTV [eztvefnet.org] to find the torrents and RSS feeds, uTorrent [utorrent.com] to download them automatically with its built in RSS reader, and XBMC [xboxmediacenter.com] on my Xbox to watch them comfortably in my living room.
    • by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@[ ].hn ['hoe' in gap]> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:45PM (#20594591) Homepage
      This is a pretty excellent system, I used it myself for quite a while. In my personal setup I've cut out XBMC by running an HDTV as my computer monitor. With the addition of OTA HDTV broadcasts it's a pretty nifty and affordable setup. The only downfall is the inability to watch live sporting events that are broadcast only on Cable, e.g. Monday Night Football.

      The obvious way for the cable company to battle back against this is A La Carte Cable. All the programs I want to watch are on 4-5 channels, but to get those channels in HD I'd have to pay at least $60/mo with with 70 other channels that I'll never watch. Add affordable A La Carte programming and the Cable providers have essentially eliminated any reason for me to pirate shows.

      Now to the question of what's affordable: Right now Time Warner Cable offers A La Carte packages in San Antonio [timewarnercable.com] that work out to be about $0.80 per channel per month. Say more than double that for the ability to choose exactly what channels you want, and my 5 cable channels cost me $10 / mo. Piracy problem solved. I get to watch what I want and the Cable company gets my money.

      I'm sure there wouldn't be subsidized DVR's and the like under a system like this, but I'd want a cable card in my PC anyway. Though I suppose a fully functional cable card is another pipe-dream.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:30PM (#20593141)
    Fox has there shows online with less ad's then on tv and it download a lot faster then an torrent.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    CNET is accused of secondary copyright infringement and sued for $486785498557474566 due to allowing people easy access to copyrighted tv shows.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'll watch the torrent in the morning.

  • by greenguy (162630) <estebandidoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:33PM (#20593187) Homepage Journal
    ...there are cases where piracy is not easier than purchase?
    • by Deadplant (212273) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:45PM (#20593453)
      Usenet binaries?
    • by Tatarize (682683)
      This torrent is passworded.

      Find the fifth word on the fourth page of this website:
      signup.spywarecrap.com/~9393032/leadidiotshere.htm
    • by Kjella (173770)
      If you compare kazaa and the iTunes store, yes. Smart people have found high-quality sources for many years, but the general public hasn't. Also most people don't have a HTPC setup, they want a nice pressed disc to put in their DVD player. Preferably a Chinese one which disobeys the use restrictions, but beyond that they don't feel the DRM and the prices are quite fine. And if you extend "purchase" to record shows instead of downloading them over the Internet, it probably is if you happen to live in the cov
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Smart people have found high-quality sources for many years,

        This is Slashdot. We tend to be those sources.
    • by Tatarize (682683) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:53PM (#20593617) Homepage
      Easier is one thing, faster is another. Honestly if the networks want to stay ahead, they should host their own torrents of the shows, in good quality, with the commercials built into the file and release them before they air. You could have the episode before it comes out on TV and thus many hours before the episode is released by other groups. Though, the folks are just going to download your ep and clip the commercials out. So you might want to imbed them in the show, or do quick ten second flashes of stuff from time to time.

      I think they can stay ahead of the curve if they really need to. However, I don't think they will.

    • Bauble du Jour: $49
      Time to make $49: 1 hour
      ________________________

      = Stealing more expensive than purchasing
      • Cost $49
        Time to make $49 < 1 hour
        Time to steal > 1 hour

        = cheaper to buy than steal
        • by glwtta (532858)
          Eh? Time to "steal" is expressed in minutes (if that).
        • by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:18PM (#20594105)
          Let me just correct your math there:

          Buy:
          Money Cost = $49.00
          Time Cost = ~ 1-2 hours of working time
          Misc Cost = Loss of ability to spend or invest that $49.00 in something else
          Benefit = DVD box set or other "digital" item.

          Steal:
          Money Cost = $0.00
          Time Cost = 0 as torrents are automated and can be downloaded while sleeping or at work earning $49.00.
          Misc Cost = none
          Benefit = DVD box set or other "digital" item, $49.00 saved, no productive time wasted, able to invest or spend that $49.00 on something else.

          Result:

          Buy Cost > Steal Cost

          Sorry, Piracy wins again. YARR!
          • by Chineseyes (691744) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @04:00PM (#20594871)
            You've got it right. you just forgot to add to the time cost of having to watch previews, fbi warnings, and other nonsense you can't skip through on the BUY side.
          • Steal:

            For the 1,000,000,000,000th time, that is copy, thank you. The number of thefts in the history of Napster/gnutella/Azures/etc: zero.

            And you forgot something: downloading from p2p is only free if your time is worthless. With p2p, you have to deal with poorly encoded/incomplete/fake files and crappy connections. If you make decent money, it makes far more sense to get a subscription on iTunes: fast, reasonable quality, guaranteed downloads. If you don't make decent money, you are unlikely to buy the
    • by mewsenews (251487)
      Steam.

      People who had paid for Half-Life 2 were playing the game a full day before the pirates, which was a landmark in my estimation because usually pirated versions of games are flooding the internet a full week before the discs arrive on store shelves.

      My regard has changed a little bit with the Steam version of Bioshock arriving with Securom (this mystifies me).
  • TV shows have been available on bittorrent since it came about and before that they were (and still are) on newsgroups and irc.
  • by baez (873590) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:34PM (#20593215)
    If you go to www.nbc.com there's a big ol' link right there at the top: Watch Episodes. Why would you pay for or "steal" something that they're giving away for free anyway? Works great in Firefox/Kubuntu for me as well...
    • by Lev13than (581686) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:40PM (#20593331) Homepage
      If you go to www.nbc.com there's a big ol' link right there at the top: Watch Episodes. Why would you pay for or "steal" something that they're giving away for free anyway? Works great in Firefox/Kubuntu for me as well...

      Because NBC won't stream videos to foreign IP addresses, and running through an open proxy is rarely fast enough for video.
    • by prockcore (543967)
      Not only that, but last night I used Amazon's Unbox to download a bunch of NBC pilots to my tivo. It was painless and free.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kelson (129150) *
      Well, the image quality on the video at NBC's website isn't as good as what I've seen on the few random episodes of shows that I've watched on iTunes. And they do take stuff down over time. I remember there was something like a 1-month gap between NBC dropping the season 1 Heroes episodes from their website and the release of the first season DVD set.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Deadplant (212273)
      "We're sorry, but the clip you selected isn't available from your location.
      Please select another clip." -NBC

      Also their decent shows are not available at all. They only seem to be posting full episodes of their crap shows. (no Heroes for you!)
      They also seem to take longer to get their new episodes online than do the torrenting pirates. ...Also... it seems to be one of these crap flash player things. I'm not sure how easy it would be to get that to display full-screen on my TV.
      • They also seem to take longer to get their new episodes online than do the torrenting pirates

        No kidding. I made it home too late one wednesday night to catch Lost, but I had it ready to watch less than two hours after the show ended.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      With my favorite torrent site, all the shows I want are available in one place with an easy RSS feed. I don't have to open a web browser, or look for anything. They all just automatically appear on my hard drive. Until they can match the same ease of use, piracy wins hands down.
  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:35PM (#20593223)
    ... to be a TV executive? Is there some kind of test you have to fail, or something?

    Clue stick to head of NBC: Jobs knows what he's doing. Trust him. Give him your content, tell him to do whatever he wants with it, and go play golf or something.

    Why don't NBC's stockholders revolt against the kind of mismanagement that throws away free money and turns content-distribution power over to pirates?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yincrash (854885)

      Jobs knows what he's doing. Trust him. Give him your content, tell him to do whatever he wants with it, and go play golf or something.
      Um. I don't know about you, but if I was an executive, I'm not sure I would agree with that at all. "Shareholders, I'm going to trust our content to another corporate executive in another company, how does that sound?"
    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Narcissistic personalities. Got to be in control.
       
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by levork (160540)
      Why don't NBC's stockholders revolt against the kind of mismanagement that throws away free money and turns content-distribution power over to pirates?

      NBC's stockholders have other, perhaps more compelling reasons besides this to revolt. NBC's Nielsen ratings have been terrible for at least two years. There have been entire weeks in 2006-2007 where NBC doesn't even have a top-ten show in the ratings - not exactly great for attracting advertisers, which is really what the whole business model is based on

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Jobs knows what he's doing to help APPLE. Why the hell should he have NBC's best interests at heart?
  • Not the issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) * on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:35PM (#20593237) Homepage
    I don't think most people WANT to illegally download things rather than purchasing them. However, I do think everyone has a threshold at which they'll download illegally rather than deal with the pain of buying something legitimately. For most, that pain is provided by unreasonable prices. For others, it's by formats (DRM) that force you to jump through hoops to be able to watch something you legitimately paid for. So they don't have to make it as easy as the free alternatives, because that's impossible. They only need to make it easy enough that most people will decide that their process is better than breaking the law.

    Content providers need to make these downloads as cheap and easy as possible, and they will make money. The more painful it is, the more people will turn to free alternatives out of frustration. Most people that are not generally criminals will only break laws if complying with them becomes too onerous.

    Right now, the providers seem to be trying to crack down on free providers and make the legitimate versions ever more restrictive. This is counterproductive, and will only push more people away.
    • by Bartab (233395)
      I want to illegally download television rather than purchasing it. Particularly at the price points offered. I'd pay a grand total of absolutely nothing to watch Daily Show/Colbert report, for example.

      On the other hand, I wouldn't bother stripping out starting/ending commercials either. Of course, I don't promise to pay attention to them, and commercials in the middle of the show would definitely get me moving the slider past them.
    • by Artifakt (700173)
      Right. One of the first posts to this thread mentioned the difficulties of getting certain TV shows for someone with a good, heavy work schedule. Let's put that thought together with the claim that the average amount of TV watched in the USA is about 4 hours/day.
      That average comes from several groups. There are some people who watch TV Zero hours a day, some 12 hours, and so on. By and large, the ones who watch most are unemployed or under employed. They aren't much inconvenienced by f
    • Re:Not the issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garett_spencley (193892) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:11PM (#20593985) Journal
      As a musician (and one who encourages people to "pirate" my music and shareit etc.) I've often thought about this. I've come to the realization that the price factor is a "problem" that is going to grow exponentially as time moves forward.

      A while ago I did some math and realized that for someone to legally acquire 20GB worth of music at $1 / song it would cost over $5,000. What I've realized is that as hard drive space gets bigger and cheaper / GB, as broadband access spreads and gets faster and as more and more means of illegally downloading media which can be trivially copied and reproduced come to be, the price factor eventually dwindles into obvlivion.

      What is a tv show worth to the average user ? What is a song ? Today it might be $0.99 but as people get the means to acquire more and more media with the same investment of hard drive space and time that number is going to keep decreasing. People want more and more as their iPods and hard drives can handle more. And no one is going to spend $5,000 on an mp3 collection. Perhaps I shouldn't say "no one". But no one that I know personally would ever consider spending that much on something that can be had easily for free. $1 for a song, sure that's quite reasonable. But oh wait, I've got a 20GB iPod that I need to fill with these things. $5,000 !? Think of what $5,000 means to me. No more credit card debt. No more dying engine in my car. A new bathroom etc.

      So I think we are WELL past the threshold of 'worth paying for'. The minute someone pirates their first song they have just crossed that invisible line where they become someone who "pirates" media. And once you do it once it becomes so easy to do it again. I'm making it sound like a drug, lol. But it's true. If you download a song for free why would you ever go and pay for one ? The only reason I can think to pay for something that you can get very easily for free is if there's a lot of added value for paying for it. And in cases like that people become very selective about what they pay for and what they download for free ... and the media itself is still dirt cheap (meaning you might pay $20 for a HUGE collection of songs when each song costs a fraction of cent when you do the math etc.).

      If media companies ever hope to sell what they produce directly to the consumer eventually a single copy of a song or a tv show are going to have to cost fractions of a cent and they're going to have to be very innovative in terms of how they offer it to the consumer. It's going to have to be easier than downloading each song/show/whatever independently and it's going to have to have a lot of other added value.

      I'm thinking maybe with regards to tv shows, companies should be experimenting (assuming they're not already, and I'm sure many are) with traditional tv broadcast models that are "upgraded" for the Internet. Meaning broadcast shows over the Internet and make money via ads. As for music, artists should probably look to selling to distributors who distribute their music in huge packages. Then offer their music for free to download to their casual fans while also selling cds/dvds with added value to their loyal fans who will gladly shell out a few bucks to support them directly etc. There's lots of ways to be creative and make money off of media still ... but the per unit / per copy model is dead. The single song or tv show just keeps getting devalued more and more as technology progresses and there's not really any end in sight.
      • by imgod2u (812837)
        There is a flaw in the first part of the argument. You're assuming that the amount of content a consumer consumes is limited by the storage capacity he/she has. I don't think this has been true for quite a few years now. Consumers consume what they like and I don't think that the majority of consumers eat up every TV show or ever music album release. I know that I currently have more than enough space on my iPod and removable HD's to exhaust all of the shows that I get weekly that I'd like to watch. I
        • Re:Not the issue (Score:4, Insightful)

          by garett_spencley (193892) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:19PM (#20597395) Journal
          Hell, I'm only up to 50GB and that's with all the stuff I've gathered (and not a one I paid a cent to those greedy a-holes for) long before I got the iPod.

          Would you spend $12,000 - $13,000 on your 50GB collection ? Wait you already answered that.

          10 years ago, would you have even conceived that you'd have a 50GB mp3 collection ?

          I mean, I remember when 4GB - 8GB drives were "freakin' massive!" and that was well into the "Napster era".

          Granted, people buy larger storage devices because they don't have much of a choice (I can't count the number of times I only *needed* a small drive but ended up getting something way overkill because it was the smallest drive I could find), but people still find ways to use them. Also, storage capacity and price / GB has improved far faster than bandwidth and other technology. So we are hitting that point where people have more hard drive space then they intend to use. That doesn't mean people will never find a way to use it. Remember 640k is enough memory for anyone and all that jazz...

          I mean, do you *really* think that the value of media per unit is ever going to *increase* ? My only point is that the value of an individual song or video continues to decrease as people consume more. And people consume more as technology progresses. Bigger hard drives, faster burning devices, more bandwidth, streaming flash videos etc. have all given people access to more material. And whether or not they were ever going to pay for that media and whether or not media companies are losing money because of it is irrelevant. The point is that the value to the consumer keep decreasing and it will continue to do so for the forseeable future. The Internet is a content delivery platform and with that comes media delivery. The more media someone is exposed to the less value each individual "unit of media" has.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Yes they do.
      1. TV in the US is traditionally "free" if you get it over the air. Why pay for it.
      2. DRM and ease of use. I want to put the shows on my media player no matter what it is. I want to store them on my HD or Burn them to a DVD. Just like I can do with any show I capture with my VCR, DVD-R or capture card on my PC.

      Frankly the producers of the TV shows must have mixed feelings. They would probably love to cut out the networks, local stations, and cable companies. They could have all the lovely ad mo
  • $5/episode (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamacat (583406) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:36PM (#20593253)
    Sure Apple, will not be able to maintain complete control of online store pricing or terms of use. Still, five bucks per episode [macworld.co.uk] is insane for a product of lesser quality than full movies and that is also available for free with ads. It's better for Apple to drop NBC altogether than offer something that will be ridiculed by customers.

    "Flexible pricing" would be more appropriate as offering some combination of episodes and movies as a bundle, at a discount compared to everything bought separately.
  • Legitimate media download:

    1) Get out your credit card and enter in all those pesky details
    2) Enter your address and phone number and then wait for it to verify
    3) Download it and watch it in the DRM-rich environment.

    Illegitimate media download:

    1) Search for what you want on your favorite torrent site
    2) Download the torrent
    3) ?????????????
    4) Profit!! (by not having to pay)
    • by kailoran (887304) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:43PM (#20593401)
      You fogot step 0, that is "Find out that the show you're looking for is unavailable for legal download. Half a year later, after it gets realeased on dvd, realize it's only in US/UK/whatever and not in your country. Enjoy the fact that ordering the dvd from overseas will take 2 weeks and cost twice the already outrageous price"
    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:57PM (#20593711) Journal
      You have this all wrong.

      Legitimate media download:
      1) Get out your credit card and enter in all those pesky details
      2) Enter your address and phone number and then wait for it to verify
      3) Card Declined. "Bill Address Does not Match". Call Bank.
      4) Bank says "You forgot to change your billing address when you had it delivered here."
      5) Change Billing Address, Hang up from Bank. Try again.
      6) Card "Accepted". Take Screenshot. Media does not download. Call Bank.
      7) Bank says, "The charge is on hold, waiting for the vendor to verify".
      8) Tell Bank "Let's do a 3-way call". Bank says "We cannot start it."
      9) Call NBC. "Let's do a 3-way call". NBC: "It's not our policy to do that."
      10) ... Give up in despair because Good Citizens Don't Download. Suffer and LIKE IT!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PitaBred (632671)
      Legitimate media is more like:

      1) Figure out which media company has what media you want
      2) Go to their site, figure out where it is
      3) Enter your credit card details
      4) Download content
      5) Install protected media player, drivers, reboot system
      6) On reboot, system crashes due to shoddy DRM implementation. Reboot again.
      7) Start video, nothing happens. Try to get in touch with tech support.
      8) Celebrate birthday and New Years while on hold
      9) Get told that you need to reinstall your operating system, as it can't b
  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:36PM (#20593265)
    What a fucking non-article. "Content provider decides not to allow iTMS (or indeed any, but hey, iTMS is all that's important, right?) users to buy their content online. Solution: Spin. Find ways to justify copyright infringement (look, I didn't call it piracy, I didn't call it theft. Go ahead, deny that it's copyright infringement. You lose if you say "information wants to be free" - information is sick of being anthropomorphized). Apparently it's okay to torrent things from ThePirateBay if you can't get what you want, in the way you want.

    Perhaps it's a protest. "Show content owners how much you value what they have to offer - by finding ways of avoiding compensating them for their endeavors!".

    I'm serious. I've downloaded movies in the past. TV shows too. But enough with the ridiculous fucking denial, the self righteous indignation of "they took away our 'right' to see their content". You want to break the law to get it, do so. But let's not pretend it's oh-so-evil-NBC's fault.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuasiEvil (74356) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:59PM (#20593745)
      Yup, won't argue it's copyright infringement. Never said it was alright, it's still illegal. Morally, well, that's up to you. However, this past weekend I wanted to watch some old TV shows I remembered from years ago. Nowhere to be found through legit channels (DVD releases, DRM-afflicted downloads, etc), so I loaded up good ol' uTorrent and went to town. It's called, "Hey moron, I want to watch this, and you're not interested enough to try to make money off of it." I personally would rather support the content creators, but if they don't provide what I'm looking for, I'll seek other channels. This is one place that I can't really sympathize with the music pirates - nearly all the content they can get, they could acquire legally on a non-DRM CD. I legitimately own all my music - for each MP3, there's either a corresponding CD or iTunes download.

      That argument doesn't hold up when looking for obscure 1970s/80s/90s TV shows. While it's copyright infringement in the eyes of the law regardless, I personally find it non-objectionable it if there is no *legal* way to acquire the content I'm looking for. After all, if nobody's providing it, there's no sale being lost and you can't argue I'm "screwing" the content providers out of their cash.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

      by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:01PM (#20593781)
      Oddly, as a Pirate, that's the way I look at it.

      I want it and I can get it for free easily as long as I am willing to break with my otherwise sterling principles to get it. I know perfectly well I'm "infringing" and I don't care. I want it, I don't want to pay for it, and I can get it. So I do. End of story.

      Strangely, I would NEVER consider physically stealing something from the company I work for or anyone else. When I left my last job I even returned the PENS because they weren't mine. Hell, I WROTE their corporate security policy, with an emphasis on corporate IP. So I'm not a thief or a dishonest person by nature. But when it comes to TV, Movie and Music torrents I'm a complete Pirate. Go figure.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:40PM (#20594505)
        what would make sense is if the network bigwigs used Bittorrent to trade around their network shows.

        They could seed them in that they would have paid ads in them. Who would set up a anti-nbc BT client just to remove ads? I'd gather that the pirates (arr matey) are too lazy to rip out a few seconds here and there.

        NBC would get their ad revenue, and pirates would get high quality goods. Win-Win.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TubeSteak (669689)

          Who would set up a anti-nbc BT client just to remove ads? I'd gather that the pirates (arr matey) are too lazy to rip out a few seconds here and there.
          That's a highly naive thing to say.

          Someone would do it... just because they can.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nephilium (684559) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:35PM (#20594429) Homepage

      So... If I'm downloading a torrent of a show that is broadcast on standard television... that's infringement, but if I hook up a Tivo or VCR, record it, and then transfer it over to my computer... that's not infringement?

      Mind explaining the difference?

      Nephilium

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:38PM (#20593305) Homepage
    That article reminds me of the dehydrated grape bricks my dad told me about. They were sold during prohibition, and they came with a packet of yeast, and a detailed warning explaining exactly how not to add the yeast to the rehydrated grape juice.
  • by Creamsickle (792801) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:41PM (#20593359)
    No way I could otherwise watch unsynchronized TV shows (I live in Austria), there isn't even the option of e.g. watching the Simpsons in English here (except waiting a few years for the DVD release). So much subtle nuance is lost and so many glaring errors are made in translation it's not even funny. Very frustrating. My thanks to all Americans making their TV shows available via Bittorrent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Poromenos1 (830658)
      Here in Greece all shows are subtitled, so at least someone that speaks English can watch them. It's not that they make mistakes in translation, it's that the text is effectively untranslatable. Puns, cultural references, all the stuff that makes Family Guy, Futurama, etc great can't be translated into any other language. Plus, not only do you have to speak English, you need to have a rather extensive knowledge of American pop culture in order to understand the jokes (especially with Family Guy)...
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:42PM (#20593379)
    Not because it's "free" (the beer kind). But because it's free (the OSS kind).

    Do I mind paying a sensible price for content? No. Do I mind the restrictions imposed? Yes. Simple as that. Yes, I can afford it. Yes, I do afford it, if the supply matches my demand. Unfortunately, usually it does not. If I cannot store it on my content providing machine and display it on my TV-enabled machine, the content is of no use for me. Simply because I cannot use it. What? Oh, I could store it directly on the machine that connects to the TV? Sure I could. I don't want. You don't provide it the way I want, I don't buy. Simple as that.

    What manufacturers (not only in the content business) today fail to see is that you cannot sell things to people that they do not want. At least some people will rather abstain from having something before they are forced into unfavorable contracts or conditions. You provide it the way I want it and I will buy. You don't, I won't.

    Free market at its finest.
    • I agree with everything you say, but in my opinion the prices for these downloads are just insane, and that's at least as off putting as the DRM. itunes sell episodes of, say, Greys Anatomy (hate that show) for £1.89. So, a twenty two episode season will cost £41.58. Well, for £34 I can have the same twenty two episodes delivered to my door. [play.com]

      So, for less money I can get a better product (nice box, extra features, physical copies, I can rip it to any format I want.). Why the hell would I
  • by timholman (71886) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:43PM (#20593403)
    Given the number of TV shows that can now be streamed directly from the networks' own web sites, why don't they take the next logical step and seed their own torrents complete with embedded commercials?

    They wouldn't even have to make the torrents particularly high in quality. I suspect that most viewers would be perfectly happy with 352x480 pixel (DVD-lo) quality if it was free and legal. They're not looking for full DVD quality for archival purposes. They just want to see the episodes they missed. And yes, although the commercials could be stripped out, most people simply wouldn't bother.

    Sell the higher-quality commercial-free episodes on DVD or iTunes, and everyone is happy. You're no worse off than now, bandwidth requirements would actually go down (TV torrents are invariably HD quality, with corresponding larger file sizes), and advertisers would still reach viewers. The networks could even reseed old torrents with new commercials on a periodic basis.
    • A legitimate site with actual content - preferably high quality - that I could download and watch? Ads...bfd - if I'm going to watch it a bunch of times I might go to the effort of stripping them out, but I'll probably just tivo-skip with the player instead. One issue I have with torrents is that the older stuff never gets seeded, and it I want to find anything that's not hot, it can be days to get it, if at all. A content-owner seed would always be available, while the high-traffic seeds wouldn't overwhelm
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imgod2u (812837)
      It's difficult to prove to advertisers that a show distributed through torrents is reaching a certain number of people. It's easy to track IP's who visit your website. In the end, it's about the money and advertisers simply aren't creative and/or imaginative enough to get past the Nelson-era broadcasting model.
  • "Totally Illegal" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:49PM (#20593521) Homepage Journal
    Really?

    If these are shows that are broadcast over the airwaves, don't you have the legal right to receive them? If you _download_ a show that you already have rights to watch as an OTA broadcast, how is it copyright infringement?

    Has this been tested in court?

    • by glwtta (532858)
      You are "copying" the show when you download it, that's why copyrights are involved (the waves have nothing to do with it).
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:42PM (#20594547)
      If these are shows that are broadcast over the airwaves, don't you have the legal right to receive them? If you _download_ a show that you already have rights to watch as an OTA broadcast, how is it copyright infringement?

      It doesn't need to be tested in court: bittorrent means you also broadcast as you download.

      You definitely have no license to broadcast.
  • tv feeds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Deanalator (806515) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:50PM (#20593557) Homepage
    I use azureus and some custom mininova queries to make sure that my TV shows are always delivered in a prompt manner.

    That is the problem though. You never know when the new daily show will come out. Sometimes they are released around 9pm (pacific) and sometimes as late as 4am. There are also issues when multiple groups release, or someone does a crappy job with the encoding. Groups also change filenames, making it annoying to maintain a good regex that isnt going to accidentally try to download some new 1.2 TB pack of simpsons rips or something.

    I make enough money to pay for a good service, but I have not seen anything (and I am not going to duel boot or something every time I want to watch a tv show). Some sort of DVR style thing would be nice, without having to pay to get a cable line installed. Hell, you could even distribute over bit torrent so the service provider wouldn't need to pay as much to keep the bandwidth up. All that and simultaneous releases with the actual content, and I would be totally sold. I am sure that it will happen eventually, but until then I think my system works fine.

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