Friday, September 05, 2008

Finally, a Mac-friendly legal way to buy BSG episodes

[Amazon's Top TV Sellers]


Lost in the manic newsrush of the TCAs and Comic-Con earlier this summer, was the E3 announcement that Amazon was beta-testing a new online On Demand service to sell TV show episodes that would work with PC's, Macs, Tivos, and other media boxes in a way that Amazon Unbox did not.

This new service has just opened for business, offering tons of TV shows and films for rent or purchase via both streaming and downloading. You can access it via a Mac, PC, Tivo, Sony Bravia TV, Windows Media Center, or XBOX 360. (source)

Mac-using BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fans looking for a way to purchase episodes online have been out of luck since NBCU and iTunes parted ways last fall and all the eps were removed from the iTunes Store.

You can see a free 2-minute sample stream of BSG ep 401, "He That Believeth In Me" on the BSG page. It started to instantly stream onto my Mac when I selected it. The full-screen mode looks pretty darned nice on my iMac 20". Eps are priced at $1.99 each, with a season pass costing $1.89 per ep. Amazon provides info here on how to connect a computer to a TV monitor if you are interested. Here is their SciFi & Fantasy TV page.

The only downside is that they still haven't created a way for Mac users to download these episodes; as of now, you can only stream it. Here is the fine print:
When you buy a video, your viewing rights do not expire (except as provided in our Terms of Use). You can watch a video you own online and download it to 2 locations (TiVo DVRs and Windows PCs). You can also transfer a video you own to 2 portable devices. Note: Some new release movies will become unavailable for viewing or downloading for an unspecified period of time due to licensing restrictions. You will be notified about this before we process your order.

OK that is a bummer, sure...but a Mac user seeking a way to legally purchase season 4 episodes now has an option, at least.

I didn't check the Amazon international sites outside of the US to see if this works in other countries besides America...anybody out there getting results?

15 comments:

Taylor said...

So, will you be able to see them as they air, or will there be a lag?

Jay said...

Hi there, UK Mac user and BSG fan here. Sadly the Amazon link would not work outside of the US (though this was to be expected).

Sky TV, the UK broadcasting company here in the UK who provides us with BSG, has a Sky Player which allows the downloading of subscribed channels to your computer so long as you're running Windows XP. However, one could install a virtualisation app such as Parallels or VMware Fusion (provided you have a Macintel) to obtain the content.

Unfortunately there is no real way to legally download episodes of BSG here in the UK unless you are a Sky subscriber on a Windows PC, so you have to wait until the DVD release :|

ProgGrrl said...

@jay, thanks for the extra info.

@taylor, that is unclear. I didn't see any info on Amazon's site about that...maybe if you poke around some more. I hope it will be just like iTunes in that they'll get the eps up a day after first broadcast, etc.

The Serrano Boy said...

is this live performance???

ProgGrrl said...

@serrano: I doubt it. My guess is they will post it a day or so after live broadcast. If you want to test it: check the site during for a show that is about to start up again this month (THE OFFICE...HEROES...CHUCK...), and see how soon the eps go to Amazon after broadcast.

Hmm...wonder if they'll have FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in October -- or February?

james said...

This great news, although the US-only part of the equation is getting tiresome. The time has come for an international online distribution system that lets rightsholders around the world share revenue appropriately.

I'm sick and tired of sitting in Canada and being told by the music, film and TV industries that Canadians are a bunch of evil pirates - yet there is no legal way to acquire content online. It's daft. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a step in the right direction, but I think I'm going to just keep torrenting each episode and then buy the box when it comes out.

Brisotope said...

You know, Amazon Unbox has been selling new eps all through Season 4. It's been the only way I have watched them. So far they have been available the next day (Saturday). Sometimes they were even up by 2-3 am...about 5 hours after they originally air on SciFi! It's great. Finally, however, I have cable again so I will hopefully watch Season 4.5 live.

ProgGrrl said...

Well as someone who would just DIE without my DVR and my cable, I cannot imagine living this way (DL'ing all your shows). But at least now every American fan, not just PC owners, has an option.

Streaming only though? Kind of lame, yes...but it's better than on Hulu where the shows are there, then they're gone, then some of them come back. Too unpredictable.

Directionally Challenged said...

No longer an issue. Apple announced today that they buried the hatched with NBC. Battlestar Galactica is not only going to be sold on iTunes again but will also be available in HD.

rita said...

~「朵語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西

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