VOD over Broadband…

Well – not exactly, but pretty damn close. With the help of a high speed connection and some handy applications it is very possible to download tv programs and movies. Sure this is not new news to many technical users, but in the past week or so, I’ve been experimenting and the results are quite excellent.

I use Poisoned, which beats the pants off most P2P apps I’ve tried as it lets you use giftd, FastTrack, Gnutella and OpenFT all at the same time. I have not heard of a few of these but searching them all at once in one app is great. I’ve grabbed episodes of The Simpsons, South Park and Larry David, Curb your Enthusiasm and am pulling down a bunch of the more recent episodes of Alias as well. I actually forgot to record last nights key episode and am currently searching it out…

I’ve been trying to use Bit Torrent now as another source which is great if you can figure it out. Bit Torrent seems to be intentionally complex which makes it less desirable to use, though the content that seems to be available is amazing. The way it works is you search on google for Torrents – there are sites with trackers for these as well as single files. These are like bookmarks to the real files on the network. By opening them with Bit Torrent, you then connect to a few sources like in a usual P2P manner and download the file or files.

While Quicktime can handle the usual .Mov or .Mpg files I highly recommend VLC which will more easily play .Avi files encoded in Divx which many of these files are. VLC works like more like the Apple DVD Player than Quicktime, with a floating controller and a playlist manager. You can easily load up a few episodes in succession and watch them all in a sitting. VLC is a very slick free piece of software…

The more I’ve used this system, if you can call it that, the more I’ve realized how much a video iPod would be a killer unit. Sure, you don’t get the instant gratification like you on iTunes since the files usually take a fair bit of time to download, the end result is the same.

I should add, that what I am doing is a bit gray legally speaking. In my mind, however, I could capture the video myself with a DVR or a VCR and transfer things to my computer. I could even use a computer based DVR top make the transfer process much faster. The point is that I don’t need to since many others have already taken the steps for me. I can focus my time on searching for the files instead, which suits me just fine.

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