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Today's "Must-See" Programming Not Just on TV




By D.K. Schrute

Miss last week's episode of "Grey's Anatomy"? Been hearing about a hysterical homemade Star Wars parody? Catch yourself trying to remember a jingle you last heard in a commercial fifteen years ago? Odds are, then, that you've found yourself searching the internet for a solution. From movie trailers, to the latest episodes of network TV shows, to the endless – and constantly growing – collections of amateur cinema, internet-based video has seen a surge in popularity during the past year, and there's no end to the growth in sight.

Where music companies once tried to resist the mounting popularity of the internet as a means of distributing their product – and suffered the financial consequences of that resistance – TV networks are embracing the format's possibilities. All four major networks are making much of their prime-time schedules available, complete with non-avoidable commercials, on their Web pages free of charge. The Wall Street Journal, in a recent article, reported that "ad revenue from online programming is small…but viewership is growing – mostly among tech-savvy young people." As hectic schedules and increasingly abundant entertainment options make missing our favorite shows a routine event, viewers are finding relief in the ability to watch shows at their convenience.

The availability of TV shows online doesn't break new ground, so much as it marks a response to the soaring popularity of the Web's independent video-hosting sites. The two most famous faces within the trend remain, of course, Youtube and its recent purchaser, Google, both of which feature collections of home videos, obscure recordings, and original commercial content reaching into the millions of files. Commentators have heaped breathless praise on the sites, and have heralded them as the fulfillment of the internet's promise of a free creative exchange. For most of the sites' users, though, the appeal is simpler: an almost endless selection of videos to suit any taste, all available at the click of a mouse.

As Youtube's and Google Video's audiences have increased, sites designed to help people wade through the often intimidating flood of content that each offers have sprung into being. Webmasters devoted to browsing the archives at each site post the best of their discoveries to viewers eager to see what the internet has to offer, but less eager to spend the hours often necessary to find it. Internet video continues to pick up steam, and from the Playstation 3's and the Wii's internet capabilities, to Apple's much vaunted internet-video-playing Apple TV, its presence is set to grow.
 
 
About the Author
D.K. Schrute is a freelance writer dedicated to monitoring trends in the entertainment and internet worlds.

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