ABC.com Player Good for 'Grey's' Addict
September 25, 2006 9:54 AM
The big ABC.com streaming TV episode initiative returned Saturday Sept. 23 when the network bought back ad-supported, full-length episodes of its marquee shows to its Web site (http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=10738)
ABC is quite keen on this new venture, so I took it out for a spin on Sunday Sept. 24.
I open a browser window and type in ABC.com, just as the average user would. The Web site is a bit busy, so my eyes take a few seconds to adjust to the potpourri of information. My eye settles on a series of images that flash by every few seconds for various ABC shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
I click on the big arrow button for: “Watch episodes of your favorite shows. Now Available Free. Online.” It whisks me quickly to a neat, clean page with a black background. Images are neatly laid in two rows of online shows. A big button below says “Launch Now.”
That seems clear enough so I click on that.
Another page loads in about 10 seconds with the message: “Watch full episodes” and “Use the arrows to browse.” The arrows take me across the scroll of show images. I feel like ABC is making me jump through a few hoops – pages – to get to the player, but at least they load quickly and are easy to navigate.
Naturally, I opt for “Grey’s Anatomy.” As a recent convert, I’ve enrolled in the total immersion plan – I’m consuming the first two seasons on DVD at a rapid fire rate, reading news articles on the actors and I even bought the soundtrack to season two last week.
Since I have already watched the season three premiere, I select the Grey’s “sneak peek,” which launches me into a short “brought to you by Home Depot” message and then the video itself. The play plays easily with the advertiser’s logo remaining above it. I watch a few minutes and then dash out to test some other videos, including the behind-the-scenes special, presented by Visa. While here I test out the scroll bar to see if I can fast forward. But when I try to, it brings up a message letting me know if I jump to the next section, I’ll see an ad. OK, I can live with that. Once I watch a Visa spot, I’m free to jump around and I gleefully move the scroll bar back and forth. That tells me the Visa spot was my price of admission for full functionality.
I do wish I could fast forward and rewind more easily. But I can live with the ads, especially since the commercial-free iTunes is no great shakes these days.