Saturday, March 18, 2006


There has been some press coverage of AOL's new In2TV service, but not as much as I had expected.

The AOL service - free to everyone, not just AOL users - features streaming episodes of past television shows free. The service is supported by short commercials - usually about 15 seconds long - that play several times during the episode.

My limited experience with the service has been good. There were a few initial set-backs: you need Windows Media Player 10 and it didn't work in my firefox browser, no matter what they say to the contrary or how many times I downloaded and installed the "Active X Firefox Plug-In." Once I started using Internet Explorer things worked correctly.

Episodes are available for streaming and also available in AOL's HiQ format which downloads episodes to your computer at a resolution near dvd quality. (!)

After my early joy (They have V, y'all! The "V" series! And Alice! OOOHHH Eight is Enough! Wonder Woman!) I began to think about who this service was being geared toward. I couldn't see the available shows attracting much attention from the highly desirable 18-25 y.o. demographic.

No, this service is straight up Generation X's avenue. Welcome Back Kotter? V? Alice? Growing Pains? These shows are all touchstones of the slacker generation. There are some more recent offerings, Adventures of Briscoe County Jr., La Femme Nikita, etc, but even those shows wouldn't attract attention from a younger audience.

It's an interesting move by AOL (in partnership with Warner Brothers), especially when most media outlets are making many shows available for purchase. AOL has promised to add additional episodes and more shows in the future.

It's a smart move. Many of these shows haven't been seen on television for a long time and people have forgotten about them. Not every show of every series is available online; this service will spur dvd sales if it is popular enough and the dvd's are marketed correctly.

So take it for a spin. Isn't it time you caught up with Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Perfect Strangers? There are hundreds of episodes available right now.


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