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TV On Your PC

For this week's column, I used the world's most open, democratic communications medium to watch some televised drivel.

I'm not proud of that. But after a day or so of feeling guilty, I realized something: I was stuck at home with a cold, I was tired, and if I wasn't watching TV shows online I'd be reading one random blog or another. So bring on the tired old sitcoms and derivative dramas!

True, my brain feels a little mushy after this overdose of TV. I also now believe that all of the good-looking, photogenic twentysomethings in America are confined to New York, L.A., Chicago, Miami and San Francisco. But those are small sacrifices to make for the cause of research.

Astute readers may recall the column I wrote in May of 2006, in which I applauded ABC's then-pioneering venture into free Web streaming of TV shows. Back then, I wasn't sure if anybody would follow that example. Today, I'm delighted to see that all the networks--save, oddly enough, PBS--have put the bulk of their programming on the Web.

You can pick my brain about this topic at today's Web chat, starting at 2 p.m. today.

Before then, let's talk about the question that Web availability of TV show raises: What kind of programming is good enough to watch only on TV? (It's the video equivalent of pondering whether a new album is worth getting on CD or just as a download... or, two decades ago, on CD versus on tape.)

Live sports events are the obvious answer there, not least since you generally can't watch a game for free online. But what other shows would you decline to watch online in favor of viewing them on a nice big screen in the living room?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 4, 2007; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  Video  
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Comments

Anyone know where there is a list of shows that can viewed on the Internet? I found out after the fact that ER is not one of them.

Posted by: msp | October 4, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

to msp -- abc.com has a list of *their* shows that're online, but I don't know about a comprehensive sort of one.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 4, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

w/ so much new in the past 2 weeks-new season premieres, new shows & "The War"in competeing time slots it's impossible to watch everything so i made very arbitrarty decisions as to what i'd watch on-line. i watched "Chuck", Bionic Woman", "Life", "Journeyman" & a few others i can't recall. i like that i can watch things i miss-due to work, scheduling conflicts, or just when i have the time. sometimes i move the player window from my Mac & put it on a larger screen TV & have it play louder/sound better as well. i've been doing this time-shift for a couple of years & i like the new HD streaming on ABC, their player is the best, crisp no stutters.

Posted by: dk jones | October 4, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I live in Canada, and NBC, ABC et al have yet to allow us to watch shows online. Believe me, I'm looking forward to it. But one of our national sports channels (TSN) allows you to stream certain live sports events, and I use this fairly often when something I really want to see is on when I'm not at home. Usually I have it on in the background while I'm at work.

Posted by: jp | October 4, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Here in Europe (and also in Asia), where nearly 50 percent of Internet users have broadband, watching the latest episodes of the latest TV series is huge. Because these shows come to our TV channels a year after the US (were always a season or two behind), we watch them online. We find links to the latest TV series on sites such as www.sidereel.com.

See also www.watchingtvonline.net

Posted by: Emily Turrettini | October 5, 2007 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Wheeaah!
As JP and Emily have mentioned, the Networks' websites block foreign IP addresses from streaming their shows. For Americans abroad like me, it is a huge slap in the face! I understand that it comes down to advertising (no Taco Bell here, so they're not gonna make any € from me after I view their commercial watching "Lost" online), but come on, take the hit and enjoy the good will guys! Please! Please allow worldwide access to your streaming online TV!!

Posted by: Machew | October 5, 2007 4:45 AM | Report abuse

"Live sports events are the obvious answer there, not least since you generally can't watch a game for free online. But what other shows would you decline to watch online in favor of viewing them on a nice big screen in the living room?"

Say What??? I couldn't find these two statements more off base.

First, for those of us living well outside of our favorite teams' main market, watching live sports on-line becomes practically the only way to catch a game. Yes you have to pay for most of them, though CBS has stopped charging for online access the NCAA Basketball tourney. Given that ESPN seems more interested in showing poker and commentary than live sporting events, and the local network affiliates are down to sometimes only 2 NFL games on Sundays, the web is becoming the only place to catch any game that doesn't involve the local teams.

Second, I've had a computer hooked up to the "nice big screen" in the den for a couple of years. Sure I'm a geek, but these days even cheaper video cards come with video out ports that will connect to most modern TVs, so it's not like a lack of knowledge should preclude anyone from accessing web based video content from the comfy confides of the couch as opposed to the office chair.

Posted by: Norm | October 5, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

ESPN360 shows plenty of online sports for free currently and CBS has had the NCAA Tourney online for a few years now. Also Yahoo has been doing SEC football and basketball video since 2005 at least.

The Vandy-Auburn game's on Yahoo this Saturday.
http://sports.yahoo.com/top/collegebroadcast/teams/jps

I've used all of these providers for sports and been very satisfied with the content and quality.

Posted by: Online Sports | October 5, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: steve Ballmer | October 8, 2007 2:50 AM | Report abuse

run a simple splitter from your cable box into computer or order a second and record or watch anything on cable. I watch non scrambled signals on computer. I have HP media center desktop.

Posted by: Al Reiner | October 10, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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