The new media

Further to my last post, I actually found something interesting being done by a Canadian broadcaster CTV. Now, for the last two years, they have been releasing the previous season of DVD’s for a show around the time new episodes are airing over broadcast. Not a bad idea, you get into a show that’s in it’s nth season, and you can get caught up, without gaps, right to the current episode. I’m guessing this is the model for a lot of shows out there right now, from what little I know of other programming. It’s a good thing – it always sucked to get drawn into a show and not know how it started.

Well, now CTV is doing something new* out there (*new to me). You can go and watch shows from the current season, online. Even the current weeks episode, one day after it’s broadcast. I just used this service over the last two nights to catch up on the one new fiction show I still watch on TV, Corner Gas. This is a wonderful thing. I can now watch when I want to watch, and not remember to watch, which I’m out of the habit of doing these days anyways. On top if it, commercials are blissfully absent, barring a few CTV plugs for other shows. We’re talking 90% fewer commercials here people. I don’t expect this (almost) commercial free bliss to last though. Suck them in and jack up the price, y’know.

Now, as far as the actual interface goes, it’s definitely a “1.0” deal. It’s a flash plugin that needs some TLC. For one, it doesn’t work under Firefox 1.5 right now. It does work under IE 6. {Bleach} I’d give you a link, but you can’t link to it directly. Goto¬† and you’ll see “CTV Broadband Network” on the front page if you want to try this out. It has problems with popup blocking, even though you clicked to open the popup window in the first place. You can go back and forth in the video, sometimes.¬† You can play/pause, assuming you can actually bring up the play/pause. For that matter, play/pause isn’t linked to the standard play/pause most keyboards have or, the space bar, you have to use the interface, which sucks when you’re full screen and you don’t have an interface to work with. You need to just know that ‘Esc’ gets you back to a window, mouse click won’t work. The full screen is nice quality though – I’d say VCD level. I will give them high marks for providing a scene selector, similar to what you’d see on a DVD. If you missed the last half of a show, you can click right to the 3 of 4 acts and go. Here’s hoping they deem ondemand worth putting the effort into a 2.0 version.

One thing of note: CTV doesn’t have all it’s programs on here right now. It looks like there trying to hit the younger appeal stuff, so you can watch “Canadian Idol”, “Corner Gas”, “Degrassi:…”, “Instant Star”, and “Whistler”. I really hope they expand the lineup over time to cover all their shows, particulary Robson Arms, which is the first program in a long time I’ve seen that I would say deserves a wider audience.

It’s good to see that somebody out there gets it – on demand is the future of media – I look forward in a few years to scrapping my cable connection in favor of sitting down when I want to watch my “TV”.

About ralph

Just another blog to share some thoughts with the world.
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