Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another Reason to Love the Internet

Since we got our Tivo we never think about when shows air. We just know that when we want to watch them they are waiting for us. The intelligence built into Tivo is amazing and only rarely does it miss something.

Sunday night was one of those rare occasions.

Our Tivo knows that one of our favorite shows is the West Wing. It also knows that it should record anything to do with Duke and Basketball. It has the ability to record 2 shows simultaneously, so conflicts are infrequent; when they happen, Tivo respects our rankings. On our list, Duke Basketball is on the top. (Isn’t it on everyone’s?) Both ESPN and ESPNU aired the Duke women’s basketball game Sunday night. Although it was the same game on each channel, the title in the schedule was different and it led Tivo to believe they were different shows and should both take priority over the West Wing.

So, no West Wing. Now before you get to worried that I’m jonesin’ for an unhealthy TV fix, remember that this was to be the show where they wrote out Leo, my favorite character.

One of many Leo moments:
Listen, I don't have time to make people comfortable. If a change has to be made, it has to be made. Jerry, Cal, Mack, Steve -- you're fired.



No kidding. It's moving day. I want Toby. The rest of you-- thanks very much.

They all stare at Leo.

Fellas. Look at my face. You're done.

Everyone except Leo and Toby leaves.

[to Toby] Don't screw up.
End Leo moment

So you can imagine my mild panic when we learned, too late, that the West Wing was not recorded.
Remembering what my friend Darren is always telling me about this cool internet thingy, I take a gamble and search for a BitTorrent of my missing episode. Within moments I was connected and downloading an HD version of a show that had just aired a few hours ago. BitTorrents being what they are, it took a few hours to complete, but we only had to wait until Monday to watch it.

NBC would tell me this activity is illegal—and they could win such an argument in court. I justify it because I have already paid DirecTV for the show, I just didn’t happen to watch it when they aired it. I could have easily been watching it from my Tivo or a tape. This reminds me of a time when downloading illegal music was all the rage.

The music companies never wanted iTunes or Rhapsody to deliver single song offerings to consumers. They were much happier when they forced us to buy entire CDs. Once they realized the music download phenomenon wasn’t going anywhere, however; they decided to legalize it to get their hands around whatever revenue they could.

I think the same will happen with video. To my observation, the pattern is the same, people want what they want and if they have to download it illegally to get it, well, they will. It won’t be long before every show aired will be available for purchase online. All it will take is the networks to wise up and Apple to make a device sexy enough for the masses--iTV. (Yes I know you can already get some shows from iTunes, but this won't really take off until people can watch them in their living rooms.) (And don't tell Apple, but Microsoft is already positioned to be the killer device for this content with their latest X-box.)


Blogger Johnny said...

Tape didn't work for us either, so was this the episode that Leo died? Any other important events happen?

Wed Apr 05, 11:29:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Johnny said...

Speaking of video go to this site
See where your joggling could have taken you?

Wed Apr 05, 11:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Well, we don't know that Leo is dead, but at the end they called for the ambulance.

Wed Apr 05, 12:16:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Blake said...

Leo: "You lost me at muffin"

Wed Apr 05, 12:27:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Steven said...

I hate to bring up cable, because I know how much you love DirecTV. However, Comcast offers TV On Demand. It's kind of like Tivo, only outsourced to the cable company. You're not limited to tivo's little hard drive because Comcast has big servers that can stream down tons of shows. In fact, it looks like they have a screen shot from "The West Wing" on the Comcast On Demand website. I think VOD (Video On Demand) is the future of TV.

Wed Apr 05, 03:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...


It's not so much that I love DTV, it just gives me what I want. In fact I would love to switch to Comcast TV; bundling it with my internet would save me some money. So, I check every couple of months for some channels that we watch to see if I can switch. So far, ESPU (ESPN university), CSTV (college sports TV), the Florida Sports network, and ironically Comcast Sports network are not available from Comcast cable here. It used to be a deal breaker that their DVR was not dual-tuner, but they have one now, (it is decent--no where near the level of Tivo). Although, they have a deal in the works to start offering Tivo in their DVRs.

That aside, I failed to think about VOD when I posted. Probably because from a Network Prime-time offering it is lame. I looked at their line up and they only offer 4 shows from CBS and not in our city. When all of that gets worked out it will be the bomb.

For now I'm happy with my Tivo and can use the 'net as a backup.

Wed Apr 05, 05:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger KMiV said...

We have the Dish and I love DVR (Dish's TiVo). When we were at Lori's folks in Missouri this week I kept telling her dad to pause or rewind if I missed a scene. They have basic cable. Funny how we get accustomed to things we feel we can't live without.

Thu Apr 06, 08:36:00 AM PDT  
Blogger dodyb said...

I don't know how we manage...we have barely entered the 21st Century..

Fri Apr 07, 02:56:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Allan W. said...

Man, if I didn't have BitTorrent to download episodes of Lost or The Unit I'd never get to watch TV. Well, except Kristi's cop shows before bed.

I just want to watch it, and I'm not around when they air (or the kids are still up). At some point, I want to build a Media Center PC or Linux HTPC so I can see my shows on my LCD HDTV.

Sat Apr 08, 11:15:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Chris Smith said...

Hmmm. Well, if it weren't for iTunes carrying The Office, I never would have been able to get caught up on that show without waiting for them to release some DVD box set of the first two seasons. As it is, I downloaded every episode from iTunes, watched them during lunch until i was all out of episodes. Now, because I don't have cable The Office comes in on the "crappy station" so I still don't watch it when it airs. I download it a day or two later, without commercials from iTunes. YEA!

Wed May 31, 02:34:00 PM PDT  

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