TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.


Trial and Error

AOL Video: It Takes Too Long

November 8, 2006 3:52 PM

AOL Video’s been busy signing deals and adding partners for its download-to-own video service, including a recent deal with Paramount Pictures. The service is also brimming with TV shows, so I go to AOLVideo.com for a look-see.

On the middle of the page, a centerpiece video player is poised and ready to go. Under it are a series of on-demand channels, listing content from Comedy Central, TNT, FX and a host of other networks and providers.

I watch the names scroll by and decide to select TNT. Page not found.

So I hit the back button and then click on the Comedy Central link. There’s an image for “South Park” in the video player screen, so I choose that and it lists a series of “South Park” videos. I’m not really a big South Park fan, but I’ll fork over the $1.99 for the sake of the blog. Yep, I’m that kind if blogger. The non-cheap kind.

Oh, but then it tells me I have to install a delivery manager in order to buy or rent shows. And I’m not into the show enough to want to install a new program.

So I scroll back to the show list and look at the channels again. Before I commit I test out a free show—an episode of “Police Academy.” That works well and I am able to fast forward to the end of the show in a jiffy. Plus, the full screen mode is a breeze to operate.

Eventually, I opt for an episode of FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to buy and download. So I do have to install the video manager after all.

I enter the credit card info and the show starts downloading.

A whole hour later, it’s ready to watch.

And you know what?

The video is great, it looks sharp and all the features work flawlessly.

But online TV is about convenience. Instant gratification. And after an hour, I’ve kind of lost interest.


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