I have finally freed myself from the arcane concept of the television schedule. After reading about the wonders of televisual bittorrents for several months, I finally decided to dip my toes into the font, and I have to say the water is great.
The dromedary back-breaking straw that caused me to enter the world of TV-on-demand was the revelation that series 10 of Survivor had started in the US, barely seconds after series 9 finished here in NZ. Notwithstanding any arguments about the merits of ‘reality’ television1, this of course meant the choice was either to wait months until the local stations deigned to show the program to us, or jump on the bittorrent riverboat.
Sites like this and this provide a veritable Amazon river of recorded and compressed television shows. Simply select your poison, grab the torrent, wait for several hours, then immerse yourself in an hour of fresh television. Unfortunately New Zealand’s anemic broadband situation means a 6-odd hour wait at 256kbps for the show to be assembled by thousands of tiny bittorrent elves, but running the download overnight is the simplest way to pass time.
Of course having a hacked (or fixed as I prefer to call it) XBox also makes watching these shows a very pleasurable experience. Rather than crowding around a laptop screen, or tethering the computer to the television, I can simply plonk the files onto the XBox, and view them on the regular television at leisure.
If you have more than a passing interest in television, and you haven’t yet sampled this style of access, I could not recommend it more highly.
1. Of course I realise that Survivor is about as ‘reality’ as the cheese in a McDonalds burger, but I still believe it is an interesting study in human interaction. Often people get ‘voted out’ because they piss someone off, meaning that the unassuming person who doesn’t piss anyone off will get surprisingly far in the game. By gods if I’m ever on Survivor I’ll be voting off that boring fucker on the first day!