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The Future of Television – BitTorrent

Written By: Gary on October 9, 2006 No Comment

The TV industry needs to catch up with reality and the Internet (the ‘net is real). They’ve tried a few things like elling shows on iTunes (for $1.99 an episode!) and other sites and free downloads at their websites (really it’s sitting at your computer and watching).

Here’s the thing, people (not me) can download it faster and cheaper from the ‘net. Oh yeah, it’s higher quality and there isn’t any ads (but illegal). Over at MiniNova they list an approximation of downloaders (there are dozens of sites like this, some are private). Here’s some numbers (and info):

  • 15,000 people are grabbing last nights “Desperate Housewives”. And let’s be clear that’s this particular copy, there are probably dozen’s of others (some ultra high-def and some iPod versions).
  • 5,000 are grabbing “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” which for some reason showed up around dinnertime instead of after the 10 PM (EST) showing.
  • This isn’t counting the people who are going on and off line (“leechers” who take and disconnect without “seeding”). I’m not going to get into a technical discussion on this, but it’s not that hard to set up something to grab your shows automatically every night (and it’s getting easier every day).

    If they supplied these shows with ads they could control what the people are seeing, many people will fast forward but at least the ads are in it. Currently people are using BitTorrent technology and supplying the bandwidth for them. Heck, if the cable companies would provide a seed, it wouldn’t even use up much internet bandwidth (which would be a complaint they’d make), they could get a cut of the money or insert in their own ads!


    I’d rather pay for a higher quality version directly from the studio networks than have to download it illegally. Think about it, what people pay for cable, for channels. I personally would pay (for no ads of course) $15 a year directly to the SciFi channel for shows (I’d probably do the same for USA). That’s got to be way more than the cable company is giving them for me. Maybe a sliding scale makes more sense $5 for one show (for a season) $10 for 3?

    But let’s pretend they give it to me for free with ads. They make a dozen different versions of the show laced with ads. One for sports fans, one for geeks, one for teenagers, etc. I might actually watch the ads! Imagine that, ads targeted for me! Do you think they could charge more for that? A box like the TiVo should just be pulling these down and storing them and pushing them down to whatever device you want to watch them on.

    When this many people are stealing shows that are on broadcast network television there is something wrong with the way the system is set up. They (the networks) are totally missing the ball on this.

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