The era of à la carte content experimentation continues. This week Time Warner jumps into the fray announcing free Internet streaming of select television shows. The catch is shows will contain advertising which can’t be bypassed and episodes don’t appear to be scheduled in a predictable manner.
Shows will optionally be offered in higher definition format using a new AOL software and service called Hi-Q (as in high quality or haiku – boy they’re clever). To save on bandwidth Hi-Q will utilize a P2P file sharing cloud.
One to two minutes of commercials per episode is a reasonable trade off for free content. Though, as with MovieLink and CinemaNow, you’re theoretically tethered to the computer. However, free thirty minute shows may be more conducive to PC viewing.
NYTimes says: Programs on In2TV will range from recently canceled series like “La Femme Nikita” to vintage shows like “Maverick” from the early 1960′s . Other series that will be available include “Chico and the Man,” “Wonder Woman” and “Babylon 5.” The company will offer a changing selection of several hundred episodes each month, rather than providing continuous access to all the episodes in a series, Mr. Frankel said, so as not to cannibalize potential DVD sales of old TV shows. Programs on In2TV will have one to two minutes of commercials for each half-hour episode, compared with eight minutes in a standard broadcast. The Internet commercials cannot be skipped.