Watching TV Online - Part 4 Of 4

After showing you all that is and isn't available when it comes to online television viewing on the networks' websites, it's time for me to wrap this series up. But before I go, I'm going to tell you about some sites you can go to online to legally watch an assortment of full TV episodes. I'm not talking about just from one network either! I also want to tell you about a few services that are available to you if you're interested in taking your favorite shows on the go.

Without a doubt, the largest free site you can go to is Hulu. Hulu is jointly owned by NBC and News Corp and offers up a ton of programming including full television episodes and even full-length movies. Hulu also distributes its videos on sites such as Fancast (a Comcast site), AOL Television, and Yahoo TV.

While you could go to any of those linked sites and find most of the same programming, I highly recommend you watch through Hulu itself because of the features it offers its users. Like any of the videos on YouTube, Hulu offers you the ability to embed an entire show (or even a clip you make yourself) into any place on the web you want, like on your personal website, your MySpace page, and even in forum posts. If you're watching on Hulu you also have the cool ability to lower the background lights on the page you're viewing as well as popping the video out so that it's in a window all by itself. You also have the ability to email the video to somebody if you'd prefer.

Because of News Corp and NBC's partnership regarding this site, many videos are from NBC and FOX but they also offer up a ton of extra shows. There are too many for me to name: let's just say that you can find everything from sports games and shows to network favorites (past and present) to tons of cable programming.

If the free options in this post and previous ones have been exhausted and you're still looking for a particular show, you have a few more options. The next place you can check out is Amazon.com. Perhaps you didn't know this but you can download music, movies, and even television shows at this site. You can choose to either rent or purchase programming using their Unbox feature.

Besides being perfect for you if your favorite show is there and nowhere else, it's also a great option if you want to download a show to maybe watch on your laptop for those times when you don't have Internet access. Amazon does offer some free programming but not much so prepare to pay for most of what they offer. The price of a single TV episode is $1.99. You may consider that a lot for just one episode but that's the going rate of convenience on Amazon and on other pay sites.

Speaking of other pay sites, if you have an iPod that is capable of playing video or a Zune then you are no doubt aware of your respective music stores (iTunes and Marketplace). They offer much more than music though. Go on over to their video sections and check out what they offer. If you'd like to carry your shows around with you on something smaller than a laptop and don't mind the smaller screens then this may be an option for you.

Do you commute to work or have a road trip ahead of you? Check out iTunes if you have an iPod or the Marketplace if you have a Zune and see what they have available. When it comes to watching shows, you can't use an iPod to watch video from the Marketplace and vice versa so keep that in mind. Like Amazon, the price of a single episode on iTunes is $1.99 and on the Marketplace it's 160 points (the equivalent of $1.99).

What if you don't have a Zune or iPod but still want to carry your shows around with you on something smaller than the laptop? Well, remember the Amazon Unbox that I told you about earlier? If you have a portable media device like an Archos, Creative Zen, or Sansa View then you're in luck! You can put the shows that you download from Amazon Unbox onto that device instead. You can find a full list of devices supported by Amazon Unbox here.

I hope that this series has been an informative one for you. My plan with this set of posts was to make more people aware of the different choices they have out there when it comes to watching "television." Watching video online or on your portable media player might not make you want to dump your cable subscription or turn in the DVR, but at least you know about the alternatives you have.

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HamsterDame's blogs: Silly Reality and Silly Hamsters: A Big Brother Blog.