Yes, you probably would need a TV to know what we are talking about
February 14, 2008 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Fancast is a new site currently in beta, that tries to combine TV listings, IMDB type information, and aggregate full length episodes of TV shows from places like CBS and Hulu. It is also designed to allow you to connect you with shows and movies from iTunes, Netflix, and more. It is owned by Comcast but anyone can use it. via
posted by bove (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Weird... Hulu is still in "closed" beta, but you can watch their content on this site without even signing in.

Hulu's interface is better though.
posted by smackfu at 10:14 AM on February 14, 2008


Finally, a way to figure out what's on TV!

Oh and this site killed my internet connection. Twice. Maybe that's by design, so I switch over to broadcast medium?
posted by DU at 10:18 AM on February 14, 2008


Fancast: "this content is currently unavailable"

Hulu: "unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region. We apologize for the inconvenience".

That's odd, other sites disagree with that sentiment...
posted by DreamerFi at 10:25 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there any legit site that doesn't have country blocks? Until they write contracts that include worldwide rights, rather than country-specific ones, I think we're stuck with that.
posted by smackfu at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2008


I clicked on TV on the menu bar, and it showed me an ad for "Millionaire Matchmaker". The ad showed the rejected offspring of a goth metal outfit and The Rhino surrounded by four smarmy, poorly dressed women with awful orange skin. My question is this: who is the millionaire? The Rhino? The Women? The unlucky saps who have to date them? The viewer, because their ability to change the channel is priceless?

Is this what's on TV these days? I'd like to know because YouTube has videos showing how to make thermite, and I want to plan my evening viewing accordingly.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:37 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this what's on TV these days?

Pretty much. Welcome to a world without writers Pastabagel.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:42 AM on February 14, 2008


Until they write contracts that include worldwide rights, rather than country-specific ones, I think we're stuck with that.

I believe you mean they're stuck with it. Meanwhile, the rest of the world moves on and develops their own distribution model, eliminating the need for this crap in the first place.

There are obvious inequities in the new system, but it's going to be a fun ride, and Comcast will lose.
posted by odinsdream at 10:42 AM on February 14, 2008


There are obvious inequities in the new system, but it's going to be a fun ride, and Comcast will lose.

I'd say they've already lost. As the distribution test of the Radiohead album showed the world, once people are used to getting their media in a certain way, it's very difficult to change that.

People are now getting used to using torrents to get free content, regardless of the legality, and getting them free content in any other way is an uphill battle. The Radiohead album was both free as a torrent and free as a (rather difficult to do) download from the artists website, and lots of people went for the torrent. Because that's what they're used to.

So they either (1) embrace torrents, (2) find some fantastic new way to distribute content that has significant advantages to the average couch potato (Apple TV/iTunes perhaps?) or (3) they try to outlaw reality and die in the process.

Unless anybody sees a fourth option.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


dear content industry STOP please provide more value than what I can get easily for free STOP i mean it STOP sincerely the people of the twenty first century STOP
posted by blue_beetle at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if you just want to watch an episode of 30 Rock, this is way easier than downloading a torrent. If you're in the US, at least. And no chance of getting sued.
posted by smackfu at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2008


Is this what's on TV these days?

that site mentions nothing of The Pioneers of Tomorrow.
posted by gman at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2008


Pretty much. Welcome to a world without writers Pastabagel.

They're back as of this past Tuesday evening.

Colbert Welcomes Back His Writers — With Help From Tiki, Judy Miller, Kevin Bacon, And Baryshnikov.

Stewart marvels over the "words in the prompter, script on my desk, the vending machine upstairs out of Funyuns — the writers are back!"
posted by ericb at 11:37 AM on February 14, 2008 [1 favorite]



There are obvious inequities in the new system, but it's going to be a fun ride, and Comcast will lose.
posted by odinsdream at 1:42 PM on February 14


But Verizon won't. By pushing fiber to the home, Verizon is going to own high bandwidth access to the internet. Do you really want to sit there and download a 20GB blu-Ray torrent over DSL? Sure, you could get a highly compressed version of a movie, but no one wants that. Verizon won't care what you download and long as you do it over their fiber.

Unless anybody sees a fourth option.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:13 PM on February 14


Fourth option: push networks to create content that becomes stale immediately. In other words, produce programming that people want to see live, rather than watched at their leisure on Tivo or downloaded on a torrent. The only kinds of programming like this I can think of are news and sports. Comcast has already started its own sports channels, and the networks are eager to fund or partner with start up sports leagues like UFC.

In addition to sports/news programming is programming that people never think about watching but will watch when they come across it on TV (think Cops, video clip shows, ET, etc). These shows are cheap and essentially interchangeable. No one worries about missing an episode of Cops because the shows are basically the same week to week. No one is going to download a Cops torrent because they missed last weeks episode.

Putting American Gladiators on NBC blends these two kinds of programming. I can't imagine people are downloading American Gladiator torrents as much as they are downloading scripted tv show torrents.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:43 AM on February 14, 2008


It is owned by Comcast

well, you lost me right there.
posted by desjardins at 11:56 AM on February 14, 2008


Fourth option: push networks to create content that becomes stale immediately.

Good one, I agree. There's a small problem with that, as far as I know, the large sports organisations in the US are even more anal about this than the networks - try to put a 50" TV in a church to watch the super bowl, and they'll sue you. They'll have to do some "growing up" on the issue as well.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:56 AM on February 14, 2008


I think I did some comp design work for that site (under a different ideation), or one remarkably like it, three years ago for this start-up that was hoping to sell the idea to another company. Comcast? Really? I should of asked for more money.
posted by tkchrist at 11:59 AM on February 14, 2008


Fourth option: push networks to create content that becomes stale immediately.

I've read a few times that this is basically how internet pornography is adapting to the demise of copyright. Basically, if you're a porn fiend who wants more and new full length DVD quality pornographies every day, there's value in being able to easily pull that off some reliable website rather than wait for someone to torrent it up for you. Combine that with the ability to make pornographies can be make quickly and procedurally.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2008


can be make. I gotta get out of this habit of proofreading, deciding to make changes, and then not proofreading a second time.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:01 PM on February 14, 2008


fancastic!
posted by sir_rubixalot at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2008


Do you really want to sit there and download a 20GB blu-Ray torrent over DSL? Sure, you could get a highly compressed version of a movie, but no one wants that.

You can already rent hi-def movies from XBox Live and iTunes. The quality is good, and I don't think they're 20GB.
posted by smackfu at 12:28 PM on February 14, 2008


Pastabagel:

But Verizon won't. By pushing fiber to the home, Verizon is going to own high bandwidth access to the internet. Do you really want to sit there and download a 20GB blu-Ray torrent over DSL?
"

You're overestimating the file size considerably. An hour of 720p video, efficiently encoded, takes up about 1.1 gigabytes of space. Quite good quality too, not overly compressed/blocky.

posted by aerotive at 12:59 PM on February 14, 2008


Well, I think it's kind of cool. Sure, you can get full seasons at better quality via BitTorrent or USENET or what have you saved to your hard drive to watch again and again, but this is fine for just watching a quick Star Trek rerun on the laptop to avoid working. I signed up for the Hulu beta like 2 months ago am apparently still on the waiting list, so this is a good substitute. Like it or not, this or something like it is the future of TV. The corps will never embrace BitTorrent or a similar distribution method. Eventually I envision an RSS-like distribution method delivered via a subscription service to a set-top box. You subscribe to feeds of whatever shows you like, and when a new show is "broadcast", it appears in your feed and is downloaded to the box with built-in ads, etc., probably with a date of expiry and some easily-circumvented method to prevent redistribution.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:17 PM on February 14, 2008


You're overestimating the file size considerably. An hour of 720p video, efficiently encoded, takes up about 1.1 gigabytes of space. Quite good quality too, not overly compressed/blocky.

Less than that, actually. I routinely download XViD-compressed videos that, depending on quality, can fit between an hour and 90 minutes of 720p video in a 700MB file that can be burned to a single CD. Full-length 1080p HDDVD/BluRay rips, compressed with WMV VC1, take up about 4-6GB. I'd have to look at my media server for exact sizes, but I think that's about right. And compression technology will only get better with time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:23 PM on February 14, 2008


You're overestimating the file size considerably. An hour of 720p video, efficiently encoded, takes up about 1.1 gigabytes of space. Quite good quality too, not overly compressed/blocky.
posted by aerotive at 3:59 PM on February 14


Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought Blu-Ray was 1080p. And the blu-ray discs hold 25GB. So whatever re-encoding someone does, it won't be as good as what is on the disc. Furthermore, it seems to me that the way torrents work, you have to wait for the download to complete before you can start watching, because it downloads random pieces from the file out of order. And I couldn't stand to wait even for 1GB to download.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:27 PM on February 14, 2008


It's pretty common for people to download DVD images now, and those are 4GB. It takes a while, but you just get out of an on-demand mindset.
posted by smackfu at 1:35 PM on February 14, 2008


Pastabagel: "You're overestimating the file size considerably. An hour of 720p video, efficiently encoded, takes up about 1.1 gigabytes of space. Quite good quality too, not overly compressed/blocky.
posted by aerotive at 3:59 PM on February 14


Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought Blu-Ray was 1080p. And the blu-ray discs hold 25GB. So whatever re-encoding someone does, it won't be as good as what is on the disc. Furthermore, it seems to me that the way torrents work, you have to wait for the download to complete before you can start watching, because it downloads random pieces from the file out of order. And I couldn't stand to wait even for 1GB to download.
"

It's true that reencodes aren't quite as good quality-wise as original broadcasts or Blu-ray/HD-DVD discs. But they're still very, very good. And yes, the way bittorrent works now the file must be complete to be watched. There are trials of bittorrent streaming now and sort of streaming method is supposed to be in the next major rev.
posted by aerotive at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2008


It's pretty common for people to download DVD images now, and those are 4GB. It takes a while, but you just get out of an on-demand mindset.

And eventually you even get back out of the on-demand mindset if you want. When I bittorrent music these days I reliably pull over a megabyte/second, meaning I have any album I want basically on-demand. As bandwidth increases that will happen to bittorrent videos as well.

But yeah, you get very used to putting things on to download overnight or over a few days depending on the quality of the torrent and how much you're downloading.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:41 PM on February 14, 2008


In related news: BitTorrent firms take Comcast to task.
posted by ericb at 4:00 PM on February 14, 2008


I am always streaming stuff from Hulu, but don't find myself utilizing Fancast for video streaming... mostly just for TV listings, now that Couchville is going away.
posted by AloneOssifer at 4:27 PM on February 14, 2008


I watch everything under the sun using Veoh player. Yes, you are required to download and install it, but after the initial hassle of doing that, it is soothe streaming content all the way. I have caught up on several shows within only a month.

I have no doubt that online streaming content will eventually make the need for a T.V. moot.

Am I wrong on this?
posted by CreativeJuices at 4:37 PM on February 14, 2008


I should have read the previous posts before posting myself.... a little over zealous I admit.
posted by CreativeJuices at 4:41 PM on February 14, 2008


Too bad Apple TV can't do any of these online services. That would be a killer app.

Instead they went for an ownership model where you pay $2 for each episode. But I don't want to own them, I just want to rent.
posted by smackfu at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2008


« Older witness the strangest customs of the red, white...   |   The professionalism, reliability and public... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments