Thursday, October 20, 2005

Downloading Television.

I've recently began downloading the first few episodes of the second series of LOST off a torrent website and began thinking about whether or not it really is illegal. Firstly, when most television shows screen on New Zealand television they are usually on free-to-air channels and therefore we do not have to pay to watch them. Secondly, we are able to record these programmes off TV (e.g. VCR, DVD recorder) without breaking any copyright laws (to my knowledge).
What I plan to do is keep downloading the latest LOST episodes as they become available and then convert about 4 or so onto a single DVD to watch on my TV. Aside from the fact that I do not have to wait several months to see the series, there are also many other positives. Such as no commercials (which for LOST there always seems to be many!), the ability to watch them any time I want and have the ability to control playback, and (depending on the chosen file downloaded) superior image and sound quality than a free-to-air broadcast.

The only real negative aspect from this that I can see is the fact that it may detract from sales of actual retail versions of television series box sets, which usually become available within six months of a show's broadcast in any given global location. As New Zealand free-to-air networks broadcast TV series quite a while after their 'initial' broadcast (e.g. in USA, UK etc) the box sets will consequently take a lot longer to arrive here. So one could either wait about a year to get their favourite TV shows on DVD; order the sets as they are released overseas; or do what I find myself doing at the moment and download and convert episodes onto DVD maybe a couple of days (at the most!) after their 'initial' broadcast.

As with the shift for music CDs to contain extra materials (e.g. posters, music videos etc) to battle music downloading, I believe that the type of television downloading that I have been discussing may eventually lead to TV box sets to contain even "specialer" special features to make them worth the wait.


At 8:41 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I don't think the download of TV shows is any sort of issue in say america because most of these copys on the internet are taken from the TV screenings of the shows, in New Zealand however this can have a BIG impact, I've also seen some new episodes of LOST and will not be watching them when they come on TV here, at least not as religously as I was watching the first season (barely missed an ep, except for the last one lol) this does effect free to air channels as they require audiences to attract advertisers.
As for DVDs I've also seen all of Desperate Housewives, not from downloading but because I bough region 1 dvds from - these dvds still retail quite well in America and the release of TV shows on DVDs has become a much more recent phenomenon, mostly cashing in on 'Extra Texts' of recent series I would imagine. The release of DVDs into a region four formatt will be of course be somewhat later and I think new technologies of downloading and sites like Amazon will have an impact on sales in New Zealand.
I don't think we really hear much on the issue because of course the compainies in America aren't really loosing any money to downloads, the shows have already been screened in the states and DVD sales rely on the extra features.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Mana-E said...

Well , it must because . if the person download them then they would not need to buy the DVD. so this would effec the sales of DVD in the states ??

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Mana-E said...

what the name of the site ?

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Ben said...

I see your point Jennifer. The only reason I download episodes is because I feel that putting aside the time to watch a show every week can be a bit disruptive to more important tasks. Also if I feel that I like a show enough I will by the DVD set even if I already have it downloaded to DVD.


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