Though the studios just enlisted AT&T to go after their file-sharing customers and Azureus is being sued in France, I wonder if BitTorrent has some legitimate value for the content owners/creators. (Sure, BT can be used to share non-copyrighted media – but let’s be serious.)
Here’s the situation: My buddy Jason told me to check out Traveler, so I set up a Season Pass on TiVo. Only problem was, the third episode was airing and TiVo didn’t find any repeats of the earlier shows. Now what? I visit ABC.com and discover they have the first and third episode available for web streaming, but they’re missing the second (and now the fourth). Considering Traveler is a serial, I can’t miss any episodes. So off I go to pay the iTunes tax of $2/show only to discover they don’t offer it. Xbox 360 Video Marketplace? Microsoft doesn’t have a deal with ABC. All I (and ABC) am left with is BitTorrent – I downloaded the still-buggy FoxTorrent and headed off to The Pirate Bay. And guess what… BitTorrent helped make me into a live ABC television viewer. Not to mention I’m now pitching their show to others. Will it be enough to save Traveler?
In order, here’s how I watched the first four episodes:
- ABC.com – The interface can be a bit tedious at times, but hey it’s free and works on Macs.
- Xbox Media Center (XBMC) – The Xvid download looked nice on my HDTV.
- TiVo Series3 – Timeshifted HD.
- ABC – The series is so good, I’ll watch it live going forward.
I’m still a year behind in shows like Deadwood and Entourage because I wait for the DVDs to be released. However, I’m not alone in being willing to pay for timely content. The studios are improving/modernizing, but probably not fast enough. Jackson West of NewTeeVee has an interesting BitTorrent proposal:
I’m proposing I’ll send HBO a check every month in exchange for immunity from prosecution. I would pay the monthly subscription just to be able to watch their original programming in a timely way without ethical qualms or fear of retribution.
Of course we’ll never see that happen, but these guys can help themselves by making their content more readily available online. Heck, many of us are even willing to pay.