Video: Internet video a rip off?

By Senior producer
msnbc.com
updated 10/17/2006 5:13:31 PM ET 2006-10-17T21:13:31
COMMENTARY

I’m making a slow and steady progression into the 21st century.

I now have a Macbook with built-in WiFi, an I-Pod, and a Blackberry. This is a big deal for a man who finally let go of dial-up Internet service last month.

What I have not succumbed to is a DVR or TiVo. I feel that I watch far too much television as it is. If I could record all of my favorite shows, I may never come up for air. But I’ll admit that when I am hooked on something it’s hard to miss an episode.

I’m a big "Project Runway" fan, but I missed the last challenge. Not as though the show doesn’t re-air in perpetuity on Bravo. But it was an instant fix I was seeking.

So I went to YouTube. Sure enough, I found it.

In fact, there are many web sites that provide downloads of nearly any television show you can think-old classics like “I Love Lucy” or new hits like “Prison Break.”

Enjoy it at your leisure while it lasts. I have a feeling it won’t be long before sites like YouTube go the way of Napster. They will either charge the users, or simply have to shut down.

There’s a little thing called copyright law, after all.

Here are a few sites:

YouTube
It’s not just for cat videos anymore. In fact, it never was. YouTube became a household name after a very public battle with “Saturday Night Live” over a clip of the skit “Lazy Sunday.”

But the fact is, lots of the videos on YouTube include copyrighted material and music. If the networks have their way, those clips will either disappear, or cost YouTube a lot of money.

You can probably find your favorite shows there, until the “man” shuts them down.

FindAgo
The site Findago.com is deceptive. On the surface, it looks like a regular search engine, and a boring one at that- but typing in Findago.com/series yields a new dimension. You’ll unlock a collection of some great sitcoms, including “The Simpsons” and “That 70’s Show,” all available for download commercial free.

The site’s owner is from Norway. Apparently they have no regard for copyright law.

PeekVid
Whoa, is this a gem. It will definitely not be long before this site is gone like the wind.

Peekvid.com has literally hundreds of television shows for download. But the site also has music videos, comedy specials, news clips-it’s like what YouTube would be if YouTube were organized and only professional.

It’s super slow, though, so be patient.

BeelineTV
Beelinetv.com features live, streaming television broadcasts from several channels all around the world.

This is great for people who are from other countries and want a little bit of home, or maybe for people wanting to practice a second language by watching a little foreign TV.

I particularly like the British television channels.  E Music is like MTV, only it actually shows music videos.

Imagine that? Happy surfing.

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