The New Frontier: Watching TV Online

It’s Thursday night and you’re sitting at home ready to watch “Bones” at 9 p.m. Right when a superintendent barges into an apartment room demanding rent and finds the renter being eaten by mice, you remember! “Grey’s Anatomy” is on at the same time and you’re about to find out if Henry will even be able to survive his “marriage” to Teddy.

TiVo and a DVR may be life savers in this scenario, however, what if you don’t own one of these greatest of mankind creations? What if you’re scheduled a late shift that day or your mother refuses to allow you to skip out on Aunt Bertha’s birthday for the second year in a row?

It has been said that you can do and find anything on the Internet, including watching your favorite TV shows. Major networks are now posting full episodes for viewers to watch online at anytime. However, some networks come with strings attached.

According to tv.com, The CW, ABC, FOX, Showtime, AMC and CBS had the top 10 popular shows. So let’s take a look at what they offer fans on their shows.

The Networks

The CW, ABC and CBS allow viewers to watch full episodes of the five most recent episodes as well as interviews and previews, with CBS being the exception; they only offer four of the most recent episodes. No downloads are required to watch on either of the sites. The CW also differs in that ABC and CBS post new episodes one day after the air date while the CW waits several days after to post their episodes online.

If you are wanting to watch shows that air on FOX, viewers can watch episodes eight days after the air date. Only those with passwords provided by participating cable providers can access new episodes one day after the air date, after signing into their accounts. A download is not required to watch the shows and they also show previews and behind-the-scene clips for the viewers enjoyment.

AMC and Showtime do not offer their shows online. AMC offers summary reviews for all episodes and Showtime allows anyone, whether you are subscribed to Showtime or not, to sign up and discuss shows with other fans.

Independent Sites

Hulu.com has long been a provider of old and current TV shows and movies. They show full episodes as well as behind-the-scenes clips and interviews with the cast. While guests are only allowed up to five episodes of current hit shows, they are allowed to watch all episodes from classic shows. Viewers do not have to pay for these services, however if you sign up for Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month, you have access to all episodes of current shows as well as all of the classic shows, with minimal advertisements. There is no set schedule for when new episodes get posted on the site.

Apple fans can enjoy watching their favorite shows on their iPad, computer/laptop, iPhone, iPod touch or on the TV, via Apple TV, after purchasing the episode, commercial free, one day after it’s air date. They have 100 TV shows to choose from, so if they aren’t offering your favorite show you’re out of luck.

Tvshow7.com and tvfull.com are very similar. They offer a wide range of TV shows to choose from and allow you to watch every episode from every season. Tvshow7.com does require the viewer to download the application Graboid before watching any show. Tvfull.com requires viewers to register with them before watching a show.

While watching popular shows online may be more convenient for viewers and their schedules, one thing remains the same. Expect the same commercials between the breaks. Hey, at least they don’t last as long.

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