The revolution will not be televised, well not exclusively.
The revolution will have a limited run on a cable network then if the ratings are high enough it will have a second window on the network sister station of said cable network. Then the revolution which was televised will be now be available on iTunes for $1.99, but now that iTunes and iPods code has been cracked the revolution will find its way on YouTube which you’ll learn about when Tila Tequila sends out a Myspace bulletin linking to it from her page. Of course the networks will have the revolution taken down from Youtube and put a two minute replay of it on their own website filled with Ford ads, cause lets face it, what’s a revolution without a solid advertisement for a nice American made car. Eventually, the full revolution which was once televised, then sold, then stolen, then re-owned scaled to 120 seconds filled with ads, will eventually find its way to a full length webovision.
What the hell am I talking about? It’s happening. Not only does primetime no longer start at 8/7central and end at 11/10 central, but its doesn’t have to be confined to the tiny little box of yesteryear that only takes up 72″ flat panel inches of your wall. Now you can watch it on the sexy and magestic 13″ you stare at while the boss is in a meeting.
Find my network reviews and rankings of the best and worst places to watch TV online, after the jump. #6) – Don’t even bother. They haven’t yet gotten around to figuring out what people want to see. The CW video page is filled with commercials for their shows and “previously on” clips from the top of new episodes. If you take the time to visit specific shows pages, you may find a minute or two of a new episode, but no complete shows and nothing really of interest unless the rest of the internet simultaneously crashes and you are left with working on your TPS report, or watching exclusive interviews with the cast of ALL OF US. Even then, seriously, those TPS reports need to get done. Not worth visiting, and hardly worth mentioning, but it is one of the networks so I felt compelled.
#5) – For free online television viewing, NBC has a long ways to go. Finding a video you want to see on their site isn’t terribly easy. Once you think you have found the video you want, your stuck watching the 2 minute replay, which someone at NBC new media has people convinced is something viewers would actually want to watch. The 2 minute replays are a total waste and serve no point. For an hour long drama, it doesn’t tell enough of what happens to be worth watching when you can get it all in 30 seconds on the “previously on” section when the show airs the following week, and who needs a 2 minutes replay of 20 Good Years? The 30 minute “play” is bad enough, a 2 minute replay is like reopening a paper cut just because. Obviously NBC is trying to point people to iTunes and pay the $1.99 to watch a show. I swore I would never pay for free TV, until I missed a few episodes of The Office and had jury duty this week and figured 6 bucks and my video ipod will save me a aboiut 66 minutes of boredom. It was incredibly easy to download from iTunes, very easy to watch…..but not sure why I want to pay money for an NBC show when the other networks will give it for free. Portability? NBC has much to learn.
#4) – While not one of the top four, MTV.com is worth mentioning because they are soooo close to doing cool things. They recently redesigned their page so the OVERDRIVE stuff (their made for internet online programming) immediately pops up and you no longer need to dig through tons of pages to find it. Unfortunately, MTV.com is so riddled with Ads and too much stuff on their main page even running a brand new computer (both my macbook and my new PC) the page stalls, stutters and takes forever to load. Then once everything does load, there are pop ups banner ads, talking ads, its like times square only not fun. I remember last season they had full episodes of The Real World online, I can’t find those anymore. All I could find with 5 or so minutes of searching were the Aftershows hosted by Blair and a few other silly made for internet shows. I’d watch them if they weren’t so ad filled. Suggestion to MTV, put less on the main page configure an easily navigatable video page and ease up on the ads, seriously. I get you need to sell ad space, but maybe you can sell ads that don’t talk or sing while I’m trying to watch your original online programming. You’re sooooo close to having a cool site, just chillax with the ads a little. You’re MTV not QVC.
#3)- Finally we are getting to completely watchable television online. CBS launched its Innertube a while ago, and at the time it posted mostly failed pilots and craptacular made for internet shows. The navigation was awkward and froze an awful lot. Now about a year-ish later and Innertube has come along way and now is one of three online networks that are watchable. Once you find your way to the main Innertube page, you may have to click through a few pages to find the show you want but once you do, all the hard stuff is done. The show features an ad at the top and a nice quick load. throughout the show, they do take commercial breaks that you can’t skip through, but they average about 15 seconds which I consider completely fair for the online video on demand service. One fairly large complaint to innertube…I’m using Firefox rather than Safari or Explorer to view Innertube and the window controls don’t work properly. I can’t pause, fast forward or rewind so when the boss comes around I either miss a few minutes of the show or have to start all over. Also, I can’t jump to full screen so I’m stuck with 1/5 screen size which while watchable, isn’t nearly as good as full. That aside, Innertube does provide a very quick load. Also, here’s a tip, be sure to look for the Innertube logo and click on that to jump to the shows you want to see otherwise you may get stuck watching the terrible original content cbs is putting on while they try to figure out what to do with online programming.
#2) - abc online viewing comes oh so close to perfection, particularly considering the relatively newness of the complete-show-available-online-service thingy. The very top of the main abc.com page clearly marks “watch last nights episode online now.” Brilliant! Unlike other places such as MTV or even CBS which requires a little digging to find it, ABC is one click away from the video section. It’s also super easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for. When I clicked on THE NINE on the main page, it took me to some page with their 7 one hour drama’s they offer clearly labeled by name and photo. abc.com has a relatively easy to navigate scroll menu. Simply, click on the show you want, sit through a 5 second ad for Verizon and then watch a nice 16:9 scale viewing of your fav show. It takes up about 1/8 screen. Easy to fast forward and rewind using a flash scroll bar. This episode of The Nine has 3 commercial interruptions of about 15 seconds each (though they take a little long to load into and out of) and you are prompted to “Click to continue” so if you walk away during the lame ad, you control when you return to the program and don’t miss anything. Nice little feature. Once you sit through a commercial once, if you scroll back to a part before the commercial, when the commercial break SHOULD come it doesn’t. My advice is fast forward to the commercials right away, watch them all right off the bat, then go back to the beginning and enjoy the show commercial free. They get eyeballs on their ads, and you get to watch the show you like with out a commercial interruption. It’s a fair trade. Also, you can blow up the size of viewing to about 1/3 the screen size with total ease, good resolution, no sticking or pausing.
#1) – Fox uses Myspace to host their video and just edges out abc for the top spot for online viewing. To find the show I wanted to get caught up with this week, I just went to myspace.com and kept hitting refresh until the little ad came up that read “JUSTICE : catch the all new series online now.” I clicked on that BAM I’m watching Justice. Better yet, I’m watching it nearly commercial free. One 20 – 30 second ad at the top of the show, then nothing for the rest of the clear crisp viewing. The size was about 1/9 screen which was such that the Myspace ads were on the page through out the screening but by clicking the “screen size” button, it quickly jumped to about ½ the screen incredible resolution, no ads sans one tiny Burger King logo atop the screen which I didn’t even notice until I went back to look at it again for the sake of this article and no lagging (unless someone sends me an AIM then it does freeze up a little bit) Note to self: turn off AIM while watching TV…you don’t want interruptions during the intimacy of TV watching anyway.
So there it is. 2006 best and worst places for online TV viewing. I’m hoping by this time 2007 it’ll all be a wash and each major network and hopefully some cable ones will all have free, limited commercials, quick loads, large picture, great resolution internet television video on demand. Here’s to hoping.