I happen to like some television shows. I also love my DVR. This makes for a wonderfully easy way for me to enjoy the shows I like at a time that is convenient to me. However my current Comcast DVR is less than reliable. I’ve had to delete and recreate my season recordings (that’s a Season Pass for you Tivo users) because they randomly just stop working. Which I of course do not discover until the latest episode of Chuck has already come and gone.
Living where I do, I also don’t have the luxury of OnDemand. Which would supplant my DVR fetish when it comes to watching TV. I mean think about it. With OnDemand you wouldn’t have to configure all those pesky recording options and worry about what to do if you want to watch a live show while two others are being recorded. That is, if your DVR comes with dual tuners. If it doesn’t…then you should retire the device and spare the poor hamster that powers the archaic thing.
It was a situation just like I described when I happened to hear about Hulu. This is a site(still in beta) where you can watch both old and new television shows with surprisingly little commercial interruption. The interface is clean and the show selection is getting better every day. They already have my current new show selection up and running (Chuck, Heroes, Bionic Woman). They also have a lot of old favorites like Airwolf, The A-Team, and the original Twilight Zone. It’s as simple as logging in, clicking the episode you want, and watching the show.
I spent the last day and a half watching Tin Man, Chuck, and Airwolf. I have literally been at my laptop for many many hours watching TV. For a 15.4 inch widescreen monitor and my wireless network connection, the strain was very light. I was able to watch the shows with no discernable stutter or degradation in video quality. The commercial breaks number about the same as they do on the air, but the breaks are only a single commercial between 15 and 30 seconds. How’s that for nice? No, you cannot fast forward or pause during a commercial…but for the mildness of the marketing incursions, I’ll gladly replace my DVR with my laptop for my TV fix….assuming I can get everything happily showing over my 50″ plasma and running through my home theater sound system.
If I manage to get all of that working, I’ll let you know how it sounds and looks over equipment a little more tuned to video playback than my Dell Inspiron. But everything I’ve seen up until now is how I think Internet Television should be done. Now if I can just find out where they hid episode 3 of Chuck….