With the explosion in popularity of the Bit Torrent technology downloading TV episodes off the Internet has become nearly common place. They begin to spread across the internet within minutes after they finish airing. They are captured by groups like LOL and then encoded to formats like Xvid to make them a smaller file size. Then they are uploaded to private FTP servers that very few people have access to. Then a few people with access to these servers use Bit Torrent to transfer the file to the hoards of people via EFnet IRC channels like #EZTV. Others with ‘scene’ access upload the shows to Usenet servers. From these places the episodes make there way to all forms of file sharing. However I recently ran across another source of TV episodes online. A website called CraftyTV.com offers a decent alternative for those who may wish to watch TV via the internet but are not comfortable downloading them via P2P or Usenet. The shows are offered to web surfers via a free winamp video stream. Over 30 different TV series are available on the webpage.
The site offers everything from new hits like Lost and Desperate Housewives (the first seasons of both these shows is available in their entirety) to older shows like Mash and Seinfeld. At times the site can become a little busy causing the steams to have a bit of a ‘skip’ in them. However the site offers a guaranteed skip free stream for those who are willing to ‘upgrade’ there accounts. CraftyTV claims to be avoiding any legal problems since they are not offering the shows for download, but only stream. They may not be aware of it, but I’m nearly sure they are still in violation of copyright laws.
The quality of the shows is not as good as what one can find on Bit Torrent. While they may not be HDTV captures they are for the most part plenty watchable. Also there is not the waiting time like one has with peer-to-peer downloading.