Australia, like the US, is tech-savvy, and we really want to watch television shows online. However, since we live in Australia, and most of our favourite shows are either produced in the US or the UK, we don’t really have an option to watch shows online. Or do we?
TECHGEEK has produce a list of several sites that we think might help. Let’s start of the list:
The ABC has decided to follow its British counterpart, the BBC, in making content available online. While it has been doing it since 2005, it was only limited to news and current affairs programming (and Media Watch). With the iView, it allows users to watch shows for 14 days after transmission, longer than what the BBC allows.
However, unlike the BBC’s iPlayer, its content is limited – with not everything on the ABC’s two channels being put up. But you will be able to watch The Bill and Doctor Who, both not produced by the ABC. The interface is entirely in Flash, and it has four “channels”, with different content in all of them. One is dedicated to catching up to shows, one is dedicated to documentaries, one is dedicated to news programming and another is for the kids.
While the video claims to be in high quality, which it is, Australians will see their internet sucked up pretty quickly – since Australians don’t have unlimited internet usage. The good thing is that the ABC is negotiating with the ISPs to have it unmetered, but only one has signed up – iiNet.
Channel Ten has decided to offer up some of its shows online, from 90210 to Good News Week. The interface is sort-of ugly, but it is understandable, but choosing a video gets a bit confusing, but there are links at the bottom that will take you straight there. But, some of them are a bit misleading, like the Rove link will just show clips of a previous episode.
Ten has put in limited commercials, with some having no commercials at all, in the videos; and it offers the entire back catalogue of the show (that I know of), but we think that it will take them down after 2008. But like the iView, it’s interface is made up of Flash, but it does not take up the full screen of your computer.
The great thing is that you can share the video, but we wish they expand the options to include other social bookmarking sites. As well, you can keep up to date by subscribing to the RSS feeds, so once a new episode is posted, you can see it in your RSS reader.
SBS started to provide full episodes online a year back with Newstopia; and after that became a success, it has slowly adding more content. All the episodes last for a week. The interface is clean, and you can tell if it has finished progressively download (meaning to download the show while you are watching it, similar to YouTube).
Content, however, is limited to Newstopia, Bogan Pride (a new SBS comedy), RockWiz and a couple of documentaries, like the one you see above. However, since SBS is a “niche” channel owned by the Government, you can expect the quality of the programming to be high.
But you can also blame SBS for not letting us watch South Park episodes online.
The Daily Show/The Colbert Report
Funny enough, Comedy Central has allowed full episodes of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report available to Australian users, even though Foxtel/The Comedy Channel has the rights to air the show. The interface combines Flash and HTML, so it won’t take long to load the page. Like Channel Ten, you can add it to many social bookmarking sites, and you can share your opinions on a certain episode by commenting.
Since both shows are partnered up with each other, you can watch the episode of its sister show right after watching the episode, by clicking on the link that shows up. However, the video is not in widescreen, but this is because the show is recorded using the 3:4 aspect ratio.
Videos are available for four weeks after transmission, and the interface is pretty clean. The video is at the very top, and does not have any distracting graphics or images on the sides of the player, except for the logo and the two buttons. However, since the interface is in HTML, every time you play a episode, it will send you to a new page containing the episode.
But that is just the full episodes page for both their sites. Their main pages include almost every moment from the previous episodes, and when we mean previous episodes, we mean their entire length. All the videos from the main site are embeddable, so you can put it up on your blog.
Got any other suggestions? Why not comment below and tell us, so we can add it to this list.