bittorrent is the poor man's tivo. well, it's my poor man's tivo. that's probably a sad thing to admit, but recently i've been using torrents to catch up on shows that i follow or miss. for example, my normal sunday schedule of alias makes me miss two shows that i've wanted to catch lately - viva la bam and wild boyz. if i could afford some sort of pvr this wouldn't be too much of a problem. in the case of viva la bam and wild boyz i could catch one of about 400 reruns on mtv, but i'd rather not live by someone else's schedule.
because i was preoccupied sunday night i not only missed the three programs i mentioned above but i also managed to miss the season premiere of the simpsons. thanks to sites like suprnova and digital distractions that's really no longer an issue. an evening or two after whatever i wanted to watch has aired i check a handful of sites and i normally manage to find what i'm looking for and have the shows downloaded in an hour. most of the time the video has been pulled from someone's tivo or pc based pvr and encoded in xvid. handy. sure the quality sometimes lacks but now i don't feel lost after missing a episode of a show that has a continuing plot line. all because someone was nice enough to share what they had so a fan wouldn't miss out on a show. in the case of some shows, there are people who have been kind enough to encode the hdtv versions of shows - and in the case of action oriented shows like alias, that makes quite a bit of difference.
another thing that's great is sometimes people make previous seasons available so people can catch up on shows they'd missed. for example, i was an obsessive fan of sealab 2021 in it's first season. i would often wrestle away the remote from other members of my household just so i could see a new episode. fistfights occured sometimes, but that's neither here nor there. unfortunatley, i ended up becoming busy with other things before the second season premiered and cartoon network shuffled the schedule around. i caught exactly one episode of the second season on tv and it would seem that i'm missing the third season as well... but thanks to a kind soul a torrent has been put up online that holds all the episodes in one tasty little two gig package.
and now this is where i invoke the lazyweb... it shouldn't be too hard to get together a client that scrapes a user defined set of torrent sites and tags torrents that contain certian key words for download. either one could auto download anything that matches their set of keywords or have an icon resting in their system tray that notifies the user and waits for approval to download. it'd certianly make things for people who are looking for shows loads easier.
so go lazyweb... build me the ultimate poor man's tivo!