May 22, 2007

BitTorrent Bails Me Out on TiVo's Simpsons Miss

This evening, after work, I settled down in front of the TiVo, expecting to find last night's season finale of The Simpsons. Long anticipated, knowing the finale was to feature Keifer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" in a mashup of the two popular Fox shows, I was shocked to find The Simpsons nowhere on my TiVo listings at all.

Due to an unfortunate season pass error, a rerun of Gilmore Girls (not my idea, trust me) had overtaken Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa and Maggie's would-be dual offering. Lucky for me, the Internet was there to back me up. Though I typically steer clear of the peer to peer sharing networks, I believe that if every intent is made to obtain media through mainstream means, they do offer an acceptable alternative, especially for free media like broadcast television. (Side note: If The Simpsons were available on iTunes, I'd have gone there instead)

Sure enough, both episodes of The Simpsons from Sunday were available in crystal clear quality. Clocking in around 174 megabytes apiece , the two AVI files opened up in QuickTime, and delivered the amusement I was seeking. Despite the fact I watched both episodes on my 15-inch PowerBook instead of on the 42-inch plasma TV, the viewing experience was excellent. While The Simpsons can vary from week to week, both shows were very solid, including the excellent 24 mashup parody involving the "Counter Truancy Unit" or... CTU.

Click Either Image to Enlarge and View Higher Quality

As you can see in the inline snapshots, the quality of online video is nearing that of DVDs. Thanks to easy access and high speed broadband, the delay to download didn't make much of an impact. While I'd prefer to have gotten the shows off TiVo or iTunes, BitTorrent sure did come in handy.