A little over a year ago, there was a lot of talk about the idea of broadcatching, where instead of focusing on a typical TV channel schedule, show producers would put shows online and offer up an RSS feed and some sort of BitTorrent like distribution mechanism. That way, anyone could just "subscribe" to the shows they wanted, and they'd receive them automatically (at little bandwidth cost to the producers) when a new episode was released. In some ways, podcasting has taken over that idea from the audio side of things. However, now the BBC is taking a very minor step in that direction, as they're going to debuting a new sitcom online. The show will go online a week before it actually airs on TV, and then be available to download until a week after the series ends. What's not clear from the announcement, though, is whether they'll offer up any kind of RSS feed or enclosures for this. Also, it's unlikely they'll be using any kind of BitTorrent-like P2P tools to ease their bandwidth needs. However, just the idea of offering up a new television show for download at the same time as it's playing on TV is an intriguing idea. Plenty of people probably won't be interested in watching the sitcom on their computers, but for those who do want to watch it that way (or who missed the original showing) it gives them the option. Of course, it's not clear why they won't leave it online after the show ends.
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