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A Clicker To Watch TV Online

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 10:22 PM
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A Clicker To Watch TV Online
NOVEMBER 25, 2009

A Clicker To Watch TV Online


Finding TV shows online can be a major hassle. If you can remember which network hosts the show, you then must hunt through a maze of listings of several other television shows on that network's Web site to find it. The show you want to watch might not even be available since many networks rotate only a handful of recent episodes online at a time. And if you do finally find the correct episode, you may be required to download a special media player to watch it.

Some services make this process a little easier. Hulu holds episodes from 1,200 television shows, but is still missing many. Apple's iTunes Store offers over 50,000 episodes, but unlike network sites or Hulu, it requires viewers to pay to download and watch them (though they are commercial-free). Video search engines like Truveo browse the entire Web, returning an often-overwhelming number of results. And while YouTube is the king of Web video, it can too easily return a search result that isn't a complete and genuine episode of the show you're seeking.

This week, I've been testing Clicker (, a free Web site that aims to be the TV Guide for all full episodes available to watch on the Web. It searches over 1,200 sources, so it can index some 400,000 episodes from 7,000 shows. Results include television programs as well as "Web originals," or shows that are native to the Internet and are of broadcast quality. Clicker either plays the video on its site or links you to where this content is shown on another hosting sitelike NBC or Hulu. If a show isn't available online, Clicker tells you so you don't have to keep hunting all over for it.


The site is still rather new, so it has some kinks to work outlike links to videos that didn't play if, for example, they were pulled by the network. But these were rare, and for the most part, if a video wasn't available, a clear, brief explanation was displayed at the top of the page. Also, if Clicker sends you back out to a network's site and that network uses a special player for videos, you'll still have to download that player. Clicker's program pages contain a description of the show, and a way to filter results by season, airdate or popularity. And the site shows the actual airdate of each videosomething that not many other sites do.. Some of Clicker's sources include NBC, Fox, ABC, PBS, the Food Network and Web original content (i.e. "The Onion"). It also can search movies and music videos; the movies can be watched free in some cases, or paid for via Amazon's Video on Demand or Netflix Instant Streaming. In January, Clicker plans to incorporate shows and movies from iTunes, using Apple's pay-and-download method.

Clicker is especially handy when you're looking for a show that isn't where you think it should be. "Seinfeld," for example, is on TBS rather than NBC, where it originally aired, and only nine episodes are available at once before they rotate out and are replaced by nine more. "Friends" is found on, rather than on NBC's site. "Damages" isn't available on its network site, FX; instead, it can be found at, another video-hosting site. It's easy to understand why people settle for missing an episode rather than trying to find a show online.. Clicker isn't the site to use if you want to find the hot video clip that everyone is watching. When I searched for "Whitney Houston" the morning after the American Music Awards, the most recent video I found was the singer performing on "Good Morning America" in Septembernot the one showing her singing during the awards show the night before.


Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page D1
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Jane Austin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for this.
Edited on Wed Nov-25-09 11:59 PM by Jane Austin
It looks handy.
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yeah, I need to check it
will be nice instead of taping - yes, still use a recorder - shows that we miss or that run at the same time.
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