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January 04, 2005

Videora BitTorrent Software

Via PVRBlog, there's an interesting new piece of software called Videora for finding and downloading television shows off the Internet. It scans RSS feeds and will track what television shows are available for download over the Internet.

Over the holidays, I had a chance to do some trial downloads using BitTorrent (although not using Videora) and it's becoming increasingly easy to find and download television shows. A trial case for me was the show Desperate Housewives, which my wife and I missed while it was getting a lot of buzz around town. With a simple DSL connection, I was able to download the first 6 episodes, recorded in HDTV format, overnight. The remaining issue is getting those downloads to play on a television, and while that is difficult to do for a Tivo-only household, it's trivial to do if you already have a MCE2005 or home built DVR.

Just for kicks (and because my wife was a fan), I tried doing another test of episodes of Northern Exposure, which I don't think is broadcast as re-runs anymore. Finding episodes of old shows turned out to be problematic via BitTorrent (although another package eMule, was able to find some episodes online).

My take on the technology is that at the moment, this solution is pretty good for catching a show that you forgot to record, but the group memory of older shows is lacking. With MP3 downloading, people keep content virtually forever, but the same can't be said for television programming.

Of course, there are legal considerations about this technology and undoubtedly there will be a lot of litigation. It's hard for me to consider downloading a show that was broadcast on a channel that I pay to receive any different than having it directly recorded on my Tivo. It gets a little less ethical to download a show like the Sopranos when one doesn't pay for HBO, and downloading a DVD movie seems a clear violation of copyright law.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Additional Info:

Om Malik Has More on Videora

Posted on January 04, 2005

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