The way we watch TV is changing. Satellite and cable networks have given us a huge choice in programs, and now we’re getting a bigger choice in how we view them. There’s the old fashioned way of watching it: ‘live’, but that puts us in the hands of the schedulers; why do that when you can create your own schedule? Video recording has been around for a few decades, but the DVD recorder and particularly the PVR (Personal Video Recorder) have made saving what we want to watch that much easier. PVRs will even record a whole season without the need to program for every episode. Of course, you still need to record the show while it's being broadcast, and you’ll need to make sure you have enough space for everything.
Video on demand is obviously the way forward and cable and satellite broadcasters have been offering this for a while, albeit mostly for movies and sports events. But thanks to high speed internet access it’s the net that is looking like the real future of video on demand. Ready to watch the next episode of Lost? Just download it. There are several companies already using this new way to grab viewers. iTunes offers the likes of Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes for $2 an episode with the option of buying a season pass, and amazon.com now have their Unbox Video Downloads service where you’ll find C.S.I. and a variety of classic shows ranging from Have Gun Will Travel to the British sit-com Porridge. The real problem is finding out where you can get the show you want, and it’s a problem that a new site is hoping to solve.
TIOTO’s (it stands for Tape It Off The Internet) aim is to point you in the direction of the series you want. Simply type the name of the show in the search box and you’re presented with a list of matching results. Pick the one you’re after and you’ll find links to sites that offer episodes for download, plus links to available DVDs at Amazon.com. But while the site acts as a search engine, that’s not its sole purpose. TIOTI also provides a detailed description of the TV shows, plus an (at the moment) basic episode guide. There’s also the chance to discuss your favourite shows with like minded individuals and you’ll even get recommendations for future viewing based on your favourite preferences.