Secret Torrent Downloads are Like an Online Tivo Home Theater

SOooooooo I’ve just spent the last half hour reading over Adsense policy pages to try and figure out if I can write about this topic or not. I think I can, as long as I don’t “promote illegal activity.” Having said that I am going to talk about a thing that I don’t use and I don’t advise you to use. But it IS a part of internet life and I do want to discuss it. It’s called Bit Torrent. The Bit Torrent format , commonly just called a torrent is a file sharing protocol. It’s technologically very cool. The creator is a called named Bram Cohen, and in only a few years it has pretty much become THE standard to move large media (and thus small media too) around. I mean if you’re trying to distribute a 200-1000mb file somewhere the torrent format is great for downloading to lots of people. There are some legal and illegal usage of the format. Today I’d like to talk about its use in the TV arena. Not online TV like AdultSwim, where I was watching Dethklok today.

Listen if you’ve got a Tivo or a Tivo 2, or some kind of home theater system that includes a TV digital recorder then you’re familiar with the idea of recording to a hard drive instead of a VCR tape. Most people still have a VCR around for old times sake but most people just have a Tivo type device. Or they don’t even bother recording anymore. The price of DVD (legit and otherwise) has come down so low in prices that most people will just buy whatever they missed. But a Tivo type device, a digital recorder of some kind, is really crucial to people like me. I do not have enough hours in the day but I LOVE TV ! So what’s to be done? And yeah, I know most people are reluctant to say something like that, it’s much cooler to say how “bad” TV is, but it’s not! I mean you can always find half a dozen shows that are enjoyable to you. Always. And if you haven’t –you’re just not trying hard enough. Hahahaa.

But I need a recorder. Last night is a perfect example. I’ve been watching the PBS series Carrier , and last night was the finale. Meanwhile, since the strike is over my Thursday shows are back; Scrubs, My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office . ANNNNNNND Smallville and Lost came on. I mean, Damn! Damn! What can you do on a night like that? Even you TV snobs can find something in that offering that you like. But I don’t even HAVE a Tivo. First of all I watch TV on my computer monitor. Yeah, years ago I was an early adopter and bought a home theater out in Los Angeles that included a giant High Definition TV set, but all my real crap is out there and I’m in Chicago. So an easy solution is to get a TV capture card. You can get an internal one like I use on my desktop or and external USB model like I use on my laptop. You can get standard definition or High Definition (capital letters and all). In addition to watching TV, you can record to your computer’s hard drive just like a Tivo. My device even lets you do all the tricks like go back an hour or 2 and replay a scene-whatever you want to do.

Meanwhile these…let’s call them dirty rats…are taking THEIR Tivo’s and uploading TV programs and making them available for others to download. The nerve! I wouldn’t dream of providing a link to one of those sites, but I mean just look at all the stuff that was available last night.

You can even see the file sizes. An hour show is about 350mb and a half hour show is about 175mb. If the show was recorded with some kind of home theater HDTV then an hour show might be 1100mb. I mean the nerve. It’s like an online TV for people who don’t record all their shows at home like myself .

7 thoughts on “Secret Torrent Downloads are Like an Online Tivo Home Theater

  1. Hi Kathy that is my second TAG in 2 weeks from 2 of my favorite blogfriends, but

  2. s’ok! I completely understand. I don’t typically do tags either, but I decided to play along today for some reason. Sooooo…I used up about 30 minutes of my EC droppin’ time doing the tag instead. Let’s just say…it won’t be a habit for me either!

  3. Ahhh, Torrents. My brother uses them to get all his latest anime fixes. But, since I’m a member of SAG and work in the film industry, I have stayed away from it. There’s just too much I’m aware of in terms of ‘illegal downloading.’ I know too many people who want to download movies and music because they don’t want to pay for it. This is a sad thing in that sense. For me, and I’m sure for you, since we are both in the business, it could mean our paycheck. And, it’s also the biggest issue for the WGA awhile ago. Now SAG is supposed to have early discussions to negotiate the whole money making machine that is the world wide web. It’s a complicated thing we’ve created.

    At the same time, if it’s not used in that way, I can see it being useful without being harmful to the industry or our jobs. I’ve always been of the opinion that, if you missed something on TV or theater, and it’s awhile before you can catch it on repeat or home video, why not watch it that way? And I still go out and buy the DVDs when they come out because that’s how much love I have for my films. But, I never download anything only because I hate watching digital quality videos. I like my movies and such in excellent quality. That’s the quality I’m given and that’s the quality I want.

    I think that’s the hardcore film/audio/quality control geek in me talking.

  4. Hi K
    Yes I do belong to those unions also. And this piece is not a recommendation for illegal activity. The are many legal downloading options and if you go to any of the major TV networks you might discovery that some are using this format or just online watching of a LOT of their programing content. You should stop by the Conan O’Brien or ABC site. Even programs that got canceled.

    As for torrent use for TV it’s not drastically different than digital recording at home. In fact it is the exact same quality and in many cases HD. Additionally many people screen out the commercials at home. Movies Music I think are a slightly different case.

    And if makes you feel better you can watch the programs now and but the DVD when they become available.:)

  5. I’ve missed out on a lot of Conan’s show. So, I think I’ll check that out. These days, I’ve only been catching up with anime on those torrent sites. Mainly, ahem, Naruto. Sounds a bit lame but, my girl got me into Naruto.

  6. Yeah many people thought I would really be into anime, because i liked cartoons, spoke Japanese and like ninja stuff-but none of it ever caught my attention until Full Metal Alchemist. That one I love.

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