Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Forced Into a Life Of Crime

As of last night, the rubber hit the road, DTV-wise. Readers may recall that I live alone and watch little television, therefore I refuse to pay for cable. I see it as the equivalent of buying 8 movies tickets a month and only going out to see one matinee.

However, there is one show I am still hooked on and that's Fox's House. Maybe it's the thrill of seeing Sherlock Holmes Americanized and turned back into a doctor, just like the guy he was based on; maybe it's the wish fulfillment. I want to be an insufferable jerk who everybody tolerates because he's always right. I'm halfway there now, except for the people tolerating me part.

Problem is the switch in early summer to digital transmission knocked a couple of channels off my lineup. I can watch Telemundo and Korean sitcoms in crystal clarity, but I ain't got no FoxTV. So broadcast House is out.

This leaves with two options, and I'm taking the illegal one. I can watch House on Hulu but the quality is poor and no matter when I choose to view it, I'm at the mercy of Hulu's servers and tricky bandwidth. I also can't watch the show live, but then it's not really live when it airs either. Hulu in my place is at least viewable on the real television instead of a computer monitor, but let's be realistic and admit that the only difference is the TV is bigger.

Other option? The industry-despised Bittorrent. In this system, you wait an hour after the show airs, fire up the client (mine is Vuze) and it starts grabbing pieces of House from a swarm of other users. The more popular it is, the quicker it comes. This is why I woke up this morning with a complete 720p copy of the two-hour season premiere, yet I've been waiting for two weeks to get THE BEST OF THE FREE DESIGN, an album by a group who made the Partridge Family sound like the Fuggs.

My point here is that the industry is making it difficult for me to get their a-list property legally, while their sad, unsalable back-catalog items are what I'll probably end up paying for. What kind of business model is that? Let's fix that, mmm? I want to come in from the cold.

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