I don’t know whether I’ve really talked about it before, but I’m largely unemployed at the moment. I have a few bits and pieces of freelance floating my way now and then, as well as a few odd jobs to get a little cash. However with so much free time and boredom quickly setting in I have to find things to do. I’ve found myself turning to on demand TV more and more to end my despair. Gaming is fine, but if I need to do other things at the same time gaming is out of the question. As for music, well I’ve found I’m just not in the right mood for some reason.
So why not daytime TV, rather than going straight to on demand? Well mostly because we have a terrible signal so can’t get Freeview. Have you tried watching daytime terrestrial TV? It’s absolutely terrible. The utter rubbish that they put on to try and fill the hours between breakfast television and prime time is almost inconceivably bad. I’m not sure how they can actually put out TV of such low quality, their all as bad as each other really.
So rather than watching the same recycled rubbish that they pump out and rerun over and over again on actual TV, I dip into the banks of shows that the various channels are now starting to put online. Obviously the BBC’s iPlayer kicked all of this off in the UK, but for me it’s the least advanced of the options. Yes it has all of the BBCs current content, but with only a few exceptions they only keep the last weeks worth of shows. A few shows do get ‘series catchup’ but even then it’s only the current season of the show.
By contrast Channel 4’s offering, 4oD, seems much more comprehensive. They don’t have everything that’s ever been feature on the Channel, but at the very least they keep shows up for a month and keep a vast variety of the channel’s classic shows. I’ve watched the whole of Spaced through the service, shocking people with the knowledge I’d never seen the comedy before. The fact that Channel 4 are adding a back catalogue, probably achievable as they’re ad supported unlike the BBC, really sets it above iPlayer.
Finally I’ve been playing about with the newcomer to the scene, SeeSaw. Not explicitly associated with any channel, SeeSaw has content from the BBC, Channel 4 and Five. It actually goes beyond the BBC’s own offering, as it uses content from BBC Worldwide they can put advertising on the BBC’s content and show the corporations back catalogue of shows. Right now I’m watching episodes of Alistair McGowan’s big impression from 2001. However unlike the services from the involved channels it doesn’t seem to have as much content from recent broadcasts, although Channel 5 does seem to be the most up to date.
To be honest I think internet TV really is the way we’re all going to go. Being able to watch what you want when you want, ad supported or not, seems like the logical way to go. The growth of PVRs out of the TiVo seems to hint that people want to be able to control how they consume they’re TV, rather than having it scheduled for them. With the upcoming Project Canvas aiming to create an open standard for online TV that can easily be implemented in both web browsers and set top boxes, hopefully we’ll see everyone agree on a single standard and TV will really start to migrate from broadcast to on demand. The age of control is here! Man that sounds cheesy…