Watch TV Online - Review of CBS, NBC, ABC

So just how easy have the big three networks made it to watch their shows online?  And how much of their content is available online?

The results are surprising.

 

CBS.com Rates: B+

23 primetime shows available.  They try to steer you into small one and two minute clips.  Full episodes are available for some but not all shows.  Commercials on the episodes: only 3 placements - none in the beginning.  Playability: good - you can mute, make full size, skip around.  Can even mute the commercials.

But the small clips - they put a 15 second commercial in front of each one.  Makes reviewing their content very hard.

 

NBC.com Rates: B-

Over 40 shows available.  Lots of clips, but only about 5 full episodes are available for any given show when they do have full shows.  Can view full screen; however the progress slider is not as good as CBS’s..having only a small line to click and drag.  Bummer on the commercials - cannot mute (except for your pc’s controls).  On the full episodes (boo) they start with 30 seconds of (unmuteable) commercials.  In one case, a commercial for a movie opened a new browser window for the product - Boo!


ABC.com Rates: C-

Offers fewest episodes of any of the big 3.  Pops up a special player that you have to install, following your reading and clicking Agree To regarding a license.  Had problems on 2 different pc’s with this site.  A full episodes starts with a 10 second voiceover about commercials, then a 15 second commercial (unmuteable) and in the progress area, you can see they have spots for 6 commercial breaks for the “43 minute” show - really the most of any of the big 3.  Slowest to load too.

 

ABC’s presentation of commercials is unique, in that you can pause them mute them, fast forward them, BUT they still make you wait the full 30 seconds before the show is able to continue.

 


Quick Ratings and Comments of other networks

 


FOX: A-

They guide you right into full episodes, and the embedded player is good.  Over a “44 minute” full episode they only have 5 commercial breaks.  Commercials are pauseable and muteable, but they seem to be a minute long on the “hour long” shows.  Yuck!  If you pause the commercial, then restart you have to still wait the unplayed time.  Half hour shows had 30 and 15 second commercials.  If you watch more than one episode the commercial function would sometimes let me skip over the commercial entirely.  Maybe they’re giving us credit for having seen pervious ones. ;)  On a bad note, the player would goof up sometimes, and not allow the side button functions to work, without re-entering the site.

 

Commedy Central: A-

Lots of clips (fairly appropriate for this material), but not too many full episodes.  Full episodes presented on a shows page, like for The Daily Show.  Clips had 5 second silent commercials which were decent

 


ESPN: C
Pretty much just clips, but not very many.  There are 7 clips “today” and about 6 per day for 5 days going back in the archives.  Only good thing to say is there are no commercials…and they provide a link for THEIR commercials, which I’m sure many people watch.

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